My husband and I have some exciting events coming up within the next few months. We decided to take some time to fast and pray about what the Lord is doing in our lives and what he desires of us. When I started on my fasting journey, I felt as though I should also fast from social media. It wasn’t some big revelation. My child didn’t tell me I spent too much time on my phone, nothing major made me come to this conclusion. I just felt a small nudge in my spirit that this was necessary. So I did. I still am fasting a few times a week from social media (gotta love automation 🙂 ) However, during this fast, I came to realize something I already knew, social media steals so much from us. While good for a lot; business, staying connected, getting the word out quickly, there is so much that social media is not good for. In my own personal journey, after giving it up for a while, I found a few things that social media steals from me on a daily basis. These may ring true for the average person as well.
1. Social media steals our time.
I know I am not the only one. I sometimes get lost in my Facebook or Instagram feed. Looking into the lives of those I don’t even know, when suddenly it is past dinner time and I have no idea what I am going to feed my kids. Or I get so involved in what I am reading online, that I miss my child sitting on my lap, growing impatient, as she waits for me to read her favorite book. It’s easy. Social media steals our time if we let it. It steals our time with our spouses, our children, our parents and siblings. It steals our time with our friends. But wait! you say, I am more connected than ever. It is how I communicate with my friends and family. Yes, that is probably true. There is not a faster way, then sending out a quick post on Facebook or Twitter, to let people know what is going on in your life. But what about those around you? Your children? Your family? Your spouse? Don’t they deserve your time? Don’t they need it more than your phone or laptop? Is Facebook going to miss you that much if you skip being on it a few days a week? Or resist the urge to open the app every 15 minutes? Is what you see on Facebook more important than playing a game with your child, or having a meaningful conversation with your spouse? The answer is no. No it is not more important.
2. Social media steals our productivity.
I am guilty. I will sit down to grade papers, write my grocery list, or plan my home school week. It starts innocently, I get one notification on Facebook. I quickly open it up, it’ll only take a second I tell myself, and then I forget what I am doing. After checking the notification, I start scrolling. I keep scrolling. Then something I see will intrigue my interest, an article perhaps, I will read it. Then before I know it, it is one hour later and I haven’t gotten anything done that I needed to do. Out with my productivity went my motivation. Then it gets harder to actually get work done. That is why I have found it so much easier to keep social media apps off my phone and to put my phone somewhere out of my reach, while I am working on something that needs my attention. I know that is not the way society is anymore. Everywhere you look, most everyone has a phone in their hand. Convenient yes, not always necessary or productive.
3. Social media steals our peace.
We are connected more now than ever before. Which means we have a lot of information coming to us. Information about what is going on in the world, what our friends are up to, what Jane Doe is doing across the country. While not necessarily a bad thing for us to know, it can be quit overwhelming. Social media makes it easy for us to check out of our own life and peer into someone elses’ for far to long. We may become jealous, comparing our lives to their lives. Or envious, bitter, annoyed. Forgetting what is truly important and also forgetting that some people embellish a little on social media or that we don’t know everything about another person’s life. We do not know what it has taken for them to get to where they are. Social media does a great job at stealing our peace if we allow it.
4. Social media steals our family.
I mentioned this earlier. As we delve deeper into social media, it becomes easy to forget those that matter the most. Our family. If we don’t put up boundaries, it can become easy for a chasm to come between us and our spouse or children. They see what is most important to us. If we are constantly on our phones while our child is speaking to us, they may stop speaking to us all together, because they perceive that whatever you are looking at on your phone is more important than them. We know it’s not true, but do they?
Am I saying that we should get rid of all of our accounts and live like generations before us? No. I am not saying that at all, though I sometimes think life would be less stressful for some people if social media didn’t exist. The reality is that many of us, myself included, need social media for our businesses and our livelihood. I do believe that it is important to become aware when social media is starting to steal the most important aspects of our lives, from us. Are you surfing for hours on end, ignoring your children and responsibilities? Are you looking at someone else’s life wishing you could have it? Even though yours is pretty awesome, are you missing it? Don’t fall victim to the thievery of the digital world. There is a whole different world out there, a real one, a wonderful one, are you missing it? Don’t miss it. Because you can’t get it back. One day you may look back and realize instead of spending 2 or 3 hours scrolling through Facebook, peering into someone else’s life or having it out with the online trolls who don’t know you and don’t matter anyway, you could have been playing a game with your now grown child. You could have gone for a walk and enjoyed the day with your family. You could have picked up a good book and stretched your mind a little. Enjoy social media, I know I do, but don’t let it steal from you. Because sometimes, you can’t get back what it steals.
Until next time,