On Sunday November 5, I did something I never thought I’d do: I deleted all of my social media apps from my phone (and had enough discipline not to look at the web versions). I decided that I would go on a week long social media cleanse.
Snapchat hurt the least (I use IG stories 99% of the time), and Instagram the most, but I felt like I needed to disconnect. Keep reading to find out WHY I did it, WHAT it taught me, and HOW it changed my perspective.
I, along with many other millennials, was guilty of scrolling through feeds and stories morning through night. It was just a gut reaction. Waiting in line? Open Instagram. Waiting for a browser to load on my computer? Let’s see what’s happening on Facebook. Most of what I was consuming was irrelevant or unhealthy information. My mind was cluttered with memes and gifs, celebrity gossip, stranger’s vacation photos, facebook memories with my ex, rants, etc. Yet somehow I’d been conditioned to crave this overload of uselessness.
The other side of it is oversharing. I posted on Instagram Stories almost everyday, taking photos of the most mundane things just to have something to contribute to the atmposhere. It had crossed my mind to try this cleanse before, but I convinced myself that it wasn’t the right time. I needed to post the photos from my latest shoot, I’d think to myself. But a combination of things finally made me realize that the time is now.
why I did it…
Firstly, I needed to focus on schoolwork. I’ve been feeling pretty overwhelmed with projects for class and felt that eliminating distractions would be best. Secondly, I’ve been consistently staying focused on my relationship with God and felt this would be a sacrifice I could make to aid in my continuation of this practice. About a month ago I fasted from TV for a week after realizing I made time for my Hulu shows, but somehow couldn’t fit in time to read my bible. It made me realize that we make time for things that are important to us, and as a Christian, God should be placed above everything.
I decided to keep a log in my phone, so that each time I felt inclined to go on social media I could note it and write about the moment.
what i learned…
I LIKE TO HUMBLE BRAG
What I often felt the urge to share were things that showed off wealth, status, or beauty… all very vain things. Because I intended on doing it subtly, I felt it was okay, but God knows my heart. And that’s not a very Christ-like thing to do.
KEEP IT IN YOUR CAMERA ROLL
You don’t need to give all of yourself to anyone and everyone. Some things should be meant for just you and your camera roll. When I found myself wanting to take a photo for the gram, I realized I couldn’t settle for just taking the photo. The appeal wasn’t in the photo itself, but the satisfaction of getting a reaction from someone else. It didn’t even cross my mind that I could keep it in my camera roll.
NO ONE NEEDS TO KNOW YOUR EVERY MOVE
The mystery can be alluring.
GOD’S VOICE IS CLEARER WHEN YOU BRING HIM NEARER
Cutting out the apps helped me to realize I relied on them too much. That’s dangerous as a christian because you can find yourself serving a false god. What you give all of your attention and priority towards is what you value and if you value unhealthy things it can start to tear on you and your relationship with God. Social media for me became a twitch, something I needed to get through the day. When I didn’t have it, I found myself praying more, reading the Bible more, etc. Prior to this, it wasn’t uncommon for me to fall asleep with my phone in my hand or my computer open next to me in bed. On Tuesday I woke up realizing I fell asleep with my bible open next to me. A few days prior, I started my devotionals and journal writing/bible reading around 9pm and when I finished praying, listening to Rick Warren’s podcast series on The Kind of Prayer God Answers, and watching The Bible on Netflix, I looked at the clock and saw it was 1am. That’s never happened before! I had no idea that much time went by. Four hours of just worshipping God, AND I had one of my most productive weekends of the semester handling schoolwork.
I WASN’T MISSING ANYTHING
I noticed that when I did binge scroll for 10-15 minutes at a time, I just felt empty afterwards. It wasn’t satisfying, it didn’t make me happy, and it didn’t fill me up in a healthy way. In contrast, when I read God’s word, or jam out to gospel music in the car, or listen to a christian podcast, I feel full. Social media was draining me when I needed to be poured into. As you can see on the last note I didn’t even want to redownload everything. I dreaded it and delayed doing so until the evening. I honestly didn’t think I’d have that reaction at the end of this.
a new perspective…
Right now my mantra is “LESS OF ME, MORE OF HIM.” I don’t want to be known for my style or my beauty, or how many likes I have or don’t have, none of that is important in the grand scheme of things. I want to be known for my humility. I want people to see the God in me, or see something different about me and the way I carry myself, how I treat others kindly, and have a giving spirit. I want people to ask themselves what is it about her? And then I can share his glory and the good news. You never know if you may be someone’s first and only encounter with Jesus.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using social media. It’s when we abuse it that it can become an issue. I am not going to give it up forever, I just want to be more aware of my intentions. Now I like to ask myself why am I posting? What am I posting? Is it bringing glory to God? Am I doing it for attention or solely self expression? Even if you’re not a spiritual person, I hope that after reading this you may feel inspired in some way. We could all use a break from the never ending feeds.
This journey is only just beginning, I am not perfect, I will make mistakes, but I will do it with my father walking next to me, ready to pick me up when I fall. I am making a lot of changes in my life right now, and a BIG one is currently in the works. I am hoping to have it revealed at the start of the new year, so stay tuned. 💕