I’m back from my social media fast — a bit carefully — but I’m definitely back. There are too many words to say and too great an evil not to say them.
Overall, I am taking away this: social media is not inherently bad. I love reading about the Bride of Christ and how she is flourishing in different parts of the earth. The early church members never had technology like ours and I want to take full advantage for the sake of the Kingdom.
I also get a kick out of seeing my people across the world raising their kids and sharing their hilarious videos. And I think inspiring people via small squares and newsfeeds is noteworthy. The people I follow on social media rock and are changing their corners of the world.
In the same train of thought, social media can become a god and begin to fill us unknowingly (or even knowingly). The truth of who I am in Christ was becoming blurry with information overload. I needed to remember that I am a daughter of the King and nothing outside of Christ should be more life-giving than Him. Especially not social media. This alone is my greatest take-away.
I also wrote down the other four bonuses that came from being away because God tends to multiply His goodness when we put Him back in His rightful place. And I’m a fan of multiplication. (And if any of these sound good to you, maybe you should consider a fast too…)
I READ MORE
I don’t mean this in a mean, degrading way because I too fall into the trap of being satisfied with reading short tweets and seeing pretty pictures on Instagram. But while on a social media fast, I read more books. I read words by Tozer and felt my intellect being sharpened. I took time to curl up on the couch and read life-giving words by Lisa Bevere. I also gave myself the goal of falling asleep with my mind on Christ rather than on Pinterest. So, I kept a book nearby of The Names of God and fell asleep praying that name. Or I listened to music. And some nights I simply, went to sleep. Mind-boggling, I know.
Regardless of the words, I felt my mind was sharpened while I was away. And I am a firm believer that a smart woman is a beautiful woman.
PEOPLE MATTERED MORE
This merely happened because I didn’t have my nose in a device as much as I once did. It means that when I saw someone in the grocery line, I didn’t have an excuse to pull out my phone, so I did what humans once did — engaged in conversation.
I am a tad bit fearful about what our society will become, not because of Donald or Hillary, but because of our inability to see humans as real people. What will happen when our kids never know a life outside of social media? Where filters become our friends because they hide our insecurities? Or worse, what happens when we can only be brave only behind a computer screen? Social media fasts for this reason alone is a win for society as a whole. (PS What if you and your teenager did one — together?)
I HEARD GOD’S VOICE
I took a social media fast mainly to prepare for the Imperfectly Brave Weekend. I really wanted to hear from the Lord and seek direction about what words need to be said and what direction He was leading. This gets awfully hard when inundated with information constantly from Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or whatever you fancy. It’s not impossible, just tricky.
Let me simply say this: in giving up social media for several weeks, the Lord spoke more clearly and my love for Him increased. In math they call this a positive correlation. In my world I call this a win.
COMPARISON WAR LESSENED
This doesn’t mean I no longer had any problems with comparison. I did. I am a human and Target can still get under my skin. But I no longer ranked myself among my peers with how many likes and hearts I received. I didn’t feel the need to capture every single moment in my life or video every funny thing. Because I didn’t feel the need to “keep up,” I flourished more in my home and didn’t need to know what was going on in someone else’s.
I felt so much freer without social media. And just like a smart woman is beautiful, a free woman is captivating. And for this reason alone I will keep tabs on my social media input.
As I mentioned, I had gotten increasingly used to my peers validating my life. I cared about taking pictures merely for the reaction of others, rather than for the pure enjoyment of sharing my family, my life and my convictions. This is where we get into tricky waters and I would argue that these waters need boundaries just like any other activities that attempt to give us purpose and meaning.
The truth of the matter is this: there are no true life-giving measures that come from social media. It is all smoke and lights. I am going to hold this reminder close to my heart as I step back into this world of small screens and hashtags. And if you feel like anything — any one thing — from social media is feeding you more than Christ Himself, I would think about boundaries or some kind of a fast, too.
And since I am kind of into seeing real humans and reacting to their real lives, why don’t you take a chance and come with your real body to the Imperfectly Brave Weekend? It will be better than sitting behind a computer screen. I guarantee it.