Social Media is Good…Except When It’s Not
This is not your typical talk of social media cleanse. You see, I’m on social media all the time–undoubtedly more than I should be, but nevertheless I usually feel no guilt. I enjoy keeping up with my friends and family. Those crazy articles keep me entertained with the comment section. I love reading blogs and encouraging posts from some of my favorite Christian authors. Those tasty cooking videos inspire me to cook dinner. I enjoy Facebook and other social media throughout the day and I feel no shame!
Except for when I’m on it too much. When I can’t even hear God’s voice because I’m so tuned in to the voice of everyone else. I knew I needed a break, so I planned a trip to my in-laws. It was the perfect set up. They would play with my toddler and I could dive into the Bible and spend some much needed time in prayer. The part I felt most convicted about? A break from social media. Five days!
This wasn’t coming from a negative perspective, as I really do enjoy social media. One of our awesome contributors Megan, wrote about how social media can be a tool and I love, love, love her perspective on that! And earlier I wrote about how I was trying to achieve balance with my phone time. I knew I was starting to get consumed again and I was running out of steam. I needed to go offline. No big fuss. Just a quiet break.
To prove my commitment to myself I deleted the Facebook app from my phone! About five minutes later I started to feel the weight of what I was doing. I picked up my phone out of habit and went for Facebook, but of course, it wasn’t there. “This might be harder than I thought,” I said to myself. Suddenly I felt a little bit of freedom. This was going to be a personal retreat–a time to leave all of my distractions behind and embrace God’s presence.
I could tell that Facebook was desperate for my return–not my friends–actual Facebook. My email inbox started filling with e-mails about the notifications I had piling up and posts my friends were making. I felt tempted to log on, but I didn’t! I made it through the five days without Facebook and I was so proud of myself for sticking to it!
So other than an exercise in self-control, what did I gain from this experience?
Time to think. The first day I had some quiet moments and I wasn’t quite sure how to handle them. But I learned to spend those moments in God’s Word. I worked my way through more of the Bible in those five days than I have in a very long time. All that reading gave me more dialogue with the Lord, and God revealed so much to me. I realized that I’m probably missing out on a lot of what God wants to show me when I’m overly consumed with social media.
When my five days were up I excitedly downloaded the app again, and enjoyed updating myself on everyone’s happenings. I saw two pregnancy announcements, one engagement, and another had their baby. As excited as I was to be back in the loop, I had a new excitement–the excitement that comes from turning off social media so that I can hear the Lord.
Hosea 6:3 says,
Oh, that we might know the Lord!
Let us press on to know him.
He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn
or the coming of rains in early spring. (NLT)
I’ve seen this to be true in my own life. When I take the time to seek God, he is always there to show me more. We can’t always get away for five days (wouldn’t that be nice!) but we can still find time to hear God. We just have to look for the spaces in our day that we are filling mindlessly. There is something to be said for putting our time with God first. I don’t want to discredit that! If you are searching for more time with him though, this might be your answer! If you can, take a personal retreat sometime, even if only for a day. Turn off your social media apps, take a little time for yourself, and a lot of time for meeting with God. He will respond!
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I tried that once – I think I lasted a few hours
I feel ya! 🙂
Wow! Bravo to you! Not sure I could do this with my work and all, but sometimes social media can bring so much negativity.
I understand that! Thankfully we have people on our team here who could cover for me during my break! Even just setting aside a portion of the day to be screen free does wonders though. 🙂
Great idea, Kristin! I am always surprised when I take a hiatus from social media just how freeing it really is!
Very true! 🙂
I had a similar experience when my phone died this summer. It was good to be more present. It was good to get it back though!
Absolutely! I don’t think I’d want to give it up for good! (Plus I have some grandparents who might be upset if I did!)
I have always done this out of necessity, like needing to limit distractions during studying for exams or what not, but I have been told by my husband many times that I spend alot of time that I am just wasting by looking at my phone.
My husband and I have to help keep each other accountable with that! We have a PUED rule (put up electronic devises) and every now and then we just have to call it!
I do this at the beginning of the year, it’s always so good for me
That’s a great idea!
What a blessing this must have been for you! When we went on vacation over the summer, I didn’t delete the app, I just didn’t use it. My mother-in-law wasn’t too happy that I didn’t share the experience as she has gotten use to following us online, but I enjoyed just being present.
It was quite a blessing indeed! That’s awesome you were able to disconnect over your family vacation. Sometimes I text pictures to my mom and MIL when I’m trying to post less on media- just to keep them in the loop!
This is why I continue to cling to my old flip phone! I may be the only 30 something who doesn’t have a smart phone but I know if I had unfiltered access to social media it would interrupt time with God, time to think, and time with my family. (I still check social media on my laptop but I’m not going to take that everywhere with me!)
I tried going back to the old style phone but I did not last very long! You are right though- having it at our fingertips is quite a temptation.
I’ve tried this in the past too! I don’t know how a blogger and writer and not have Facebook???
There is so much social media involved with keeping up a blog! I’m thankful for it though as it gives us a way to share our content with many!
Since blogging, I’ve found myself completely submerged in social media. Unfortunately, this is my part of the “job”. We have a team of 6 writers, but I’m the “promoter”. I sometimes have 34 notifications within 30 minutes; yikes! Needless to say, I’m excited for our hiatus during Christmas! I really want to see what 2 weeks off does for me! 🙂
I have spent some time helping with our social media and you are right, it can be overwhelming. I’m so glad for you that can take off for two weeks! I hope you are blessed in that time!
I am planning on doing a phone “detox” to coincide with the New Year. I loved reading about what you learned, and it made me more excited to do it myself!
I hope that goes well for you! It’s been over a year since this retreat of mine and I’m in need of a detox myself!
I have to take social media breaks all the time just because I too get so consumed with it.
How great that you notice that and take action to help you!
I am so on board with this. When my thumbs get sore, I know that I am surfing the internet too much, even if it is a job.
Ha! Isn’t that the truth?!
Kristin, good for you. I am not a big social media person…that’s probably why my blog is not growing as fast as others’, but that is me. I don’t like to be on the computer all the time and I don’t have a smart phone. I like times of quiet, when I can pray or listen to music and reconnect with the One who started it all in the beginning. Thanks for sharing your insights. – Amy
It can be really overwhelming keeping up with social media for a blog, especially if you are running it solo. It sounds like you have your priorities in a good place though. Having a Mary heart in our Martha world is so important.
I deleted the app off my phone about a year ago, and I only do Facebook when I’m on my computer.
I appreciate your article and I have taken some social media breaks, but the best thing I have done for myself is to take the weekends off and be present with those who are around me. I feel refreshed on Monday morning and it kicks my creativity back into gear. During the week I turn off notifications until 9:00 am so devotional time is not interrupted. What I struggle with is how people expect you to be on call 24/7 and respond to their questions. Just because Facebook says I am on, doesn’t mean I am on. 🙂
Yes! He’s always there to reveal more of Himself to us when we are earnestly seeking Him above everything else.