For several months, maybe even a year, I felt a prompting to take a break from social media. I’ve argued with God over this because, frankly, I have a love/hate relationship with it. It’s like the boyfriend that doesn’t treat you well but you keep going back because he has the ability to make you feel inordinately special too!
But for a while, the hate part of the relationship had been consuming my heart. Despite all my best efforts, my thoughts would dwell on the posts that made me feel insecure, unworthy, lonely and lost. It’s such a hard thing to admit that PICTURES could make me feel this way, y'all. Social media had begun to rule my emotions.
One of the things I continued to hang onto was the fact that this is my business! It’s not just personal for me, but it’s THE way I promote my business and my blog. How could I possibly give that marketing avenue up?
But the thing was that that marketing strategy wasn’t working for me! It had stopped bringing in the business and readership as it once did - and that had become extremely frustrating for me! I would be so confused as to why one post would be successful and then then next (relatively similar in style, composure and content) would be so unsuccessful. It made no sense and I would spend way too much of my time trying to maneuver around this dilemma.
Many days I wanted to log off yet I continued to hold on and fight with the Lord on it.
I continued to tell Him I couldn’t walk away for a bit - I continued to say that I needed it for my business when in reality I was addicted to the idea that I could control the outcome! Y’all - how obvious is it that I cannot control the outcome?! I had convinced myself that if I just tried harder, posted more, posted better or strategized further it would be successful!
But on my way home from the lake after the Fourth of July, deep in prayer, God really spoke to me and told me to try it His way. He urged me to see what He could do - what His purposes were for me.
So I gave it up. For forty days.
Here’s what I learned :
I Am an Addict
This was the first shocker that came from the break. I found myself at a stop light mindlessly picking up my phone to scroll through Instagram. It had become habit, and not a good one y'all. I had to consciously remind myself to NOT pick up my phone. I had deleted all of my apps, otherwise I don't think it would have worked as well because apparently my fingers know what I'm trying to do before my mind does!
Breaking the habit was the first task I had to accomplish. Once I did that, the next few lessons were extremely eye opening and life-giving.
I Have So Much More Time...
... because social media is the biggest time suck! I know that so many people have healthy relationships with their phone, with Instagram and Facebook - but unfortunately that wasn't me. I didn't think I was on it all the time, but the day I gave it up was one of the most productive days ever. I actually ran out of things to do on my list! (That NEVER happens, y'all!)
The time away showed me just how much time I spend scrolling through my phone. It might be 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there - but when I'm scrambling for hours in the day, those minutes add up! It's just like saying $20 at Target is no big deal until you spend $20 every day! That's $100! Of course it adds up!
If you are scrambling for more time in your day - I encourage you to step away from your phone - even if for a day or two! I promise you are on it more than you think that you are!
Social Media is no Substitute for REAL Relationships
Something I noticed while I wasn't on "the apps", was how quiet my soul felt. I had a handful of friends that would text me and ask what was going on every now and then and visa versa, but mostly my universe was still, and it was completely refreshing.
I know that Facebook was invented so that we could easily keep up with the people who aren't necessarily in our daily lives, but at some point it has taken the place of actually keeping up with people who aren't in our daily lives! If we don't keep up with them, then why do we want so badly to know what's going on in their world?
Maybe it's not such a bad thing that people go their separate ways? Maybe we aren't supposed to keep up with everyone, but only a select few? Yes, Instagram and Facebook take out the work in staying in touch (that's the point), but then all of a sudden my soul is full of 2,000 lives and their hobbies, their families, their struggles and their vacations.
As I navigate my way back into being social, I want real relationships to be filling my soul, not the fake ones. The feeds that leave me feeling encouraged, challenged and filled up will stay, but the ones that leave me feeling insecure and left out have got to go. Of course, this is NO fault of the poster, but rather I want to acknowledge how it honestly makes me feel! The good feels stay and the bad feels go.
Peace Comes from Obedience
As soon as I decidedly deleted the apps on my phone, the peace that washed over me was indescribable. I don't attribute that to anything of my own doing, rather that I stopped fighting God and let Him teach me during this very short season.
There was no more inner battle going on in my mind (should I or shouldn't I?) There was no longer the struggle over WHY I couldn't give it up. There was no longer any guilt over how much of a stronghold I knew it had become.
There was not anything magical or miraculous like angels singing that happened. It was just quietness and peace, and it felt amazing.
God Doesn't Need Social Media
My final lesson was this one and I shouldn't be surprised. God doesn't need social media to accomplish His purposes in my life. He doesn't need it to further my business, my blog or any platform I might be under the allusion of building. He does things in His own time and His own way with His own marketing strategy. He doesn't need me to post regularly or correctly. He doesn't need me to use the correct hashtags or take the most beautiful pictures.
If and when He wants to further my sales and readership, He can and He will. There is no Instagram algorithim that can stop Him, amen!?
So here's my conclusion, God can do all things with or without us, but His desire is to use us!
The lessons that are taught in the simple act of obedience are incomparable to the lessons that we learn when He forces our hand. His desire is for us to be close to Him, and when we obey and He shows up, the trust we have deepens. And as we persevere our faith endures.
My encouragement for you today is to obey the still small voice and to let Him show up! If you are feeling dry in your faith, this is a SURE cure! And if you have a longing to get off of social media for a bit - DO IT. I promise your soul will thank you for it and you truly won't miss that much!
5. There are way too many voices having input in my day