I’ve thought and thought about this post for about a week now.
My social media break was coming to an end and so many questions came to mind:
How much do I share?
Do I recap my journal entries for the month, letting you in on every single detail?
Do I simply wrap it all up in a bow, sparing you the annoying details, and only leaving you with my take-aways?
I’m still processing everything I’ve learned so it feels premature to come to you with “all the answers” or a perfectly outlined blog post sharing every lesson I’ve learned and how you can apply it in your own life.
This topic has a tendency to stir up feelings that we may not like. I know because it usually does this to me. Maybe it’s because somehow we all feel like we spend too much time scrolling and not enough time actually being present. I also want to encourage you not to take my convictions and make them your own. We can very easily hear another woman sharing her struggles with a particular area of her life and automatically place those same struggles on ourselves, certain it applies to us as well.
It’s always a good idea to evaluate those weaknesses in your life in the context of scripture and being obedient to God. Is social media becoming an idol in your life that gets more of your attention than God? Or are you able to use social media as a tool with appropriate boundaries? If the time you spend on social media seems to be a weakness in your life, remember that God’s grace is sufficient and where you are weak, He is strong.
Instagram has been a struggle in my life for a lot of years. I’ve known for a long time that a break was crucial, but I denied it for way too long. Last month, after deleting the app off my phone, I found my fingers habitually swiping to the app that was no longer there, multiple times a day…an embarrassing number of times a day! Each time I picked up my phone to send a message or look something up, there I was, looking for Instagram. I am happy to say that this habit has been broken. It took some time, but I slowly found myself looking for other things to do, rather than picking up my phone.
I spent time focusing on the work in front of me. Work that didn’t get photographed in perfect lighting or shared on social media. Work that wasn’t liked, shared, or commented on by Instagram followers. This quiet work in my home brought me to a new appreciation of what Paul wrote to the Colossian church, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24)
I read more books. Life giving books. I discovered a love for Elisabeth Elliot. I have read two of her books now and I am thirsty for anything this wise woman has to say. This sure beats Instagram scrolling any day. (I would highly recommend “Becoming Elisabeth Elliot” and “Discipline, The Glad Surrender”. I would also recommend any of her podcasts.)
I learned how to bake sourdough bread. Yes, that 24 hour bread process including regular feeding of a starter, that I swore I would never have time for. My camera roll is full of baked goods and bread loaves.
I started my garden from seedlings this year. I have never done this. Only some of them took, but I guess that’s another blog entirely. The point is, I did it.
I also learned that my circle is small, smaller than I thought it was.
This is not a bad thing, simply different. About a week into the social media break I wrote the following in my journal, “I will likely discover that the closeness with few is more precious than the surface with many”.
I’m not discounting the acquaintances and the treasured interactions I have with so many sweet women on Instagram. What I am saying is that we are easily tricked into thinking that every single one of these social media interactions constitutes a friendship, when it doesn’t. This became extremely evident when I removed social media from my life.
I have also had to process so many aspects of my business and have asked myself some very hard questions. Some questions still remain unanswered. Not comparing my business to others on Instagram has created margin in my life and has allowed me to spend time doing what I enjoy, rather than striving to meet self-imposed launches or success targets based on what other small shop owners are doing.
I’m not exactly sure what the future looks like. For the first time in a long time I think I can actually maintain a healthy relationship with Instagram. The break was so necessary and took away so much pressure. If it starts to become a problem again, I know that I can leave for a while and everything will be okay. My life doesn’t disappear or become insignificant because I don’t own a tiny square in virtual reality.
In light of eternity, Instagram feels small, silly, and really insignificant. The kids in my home that I’ve been called to disciple and the care of my home is more important than likes, comments, shares, or business exposure.
Let us strive to keep social media in its proper place in our life. When it slowly starts to demand more and more of our attention, which it inevitably will, let’s take a necessary step back to really focus on working heartily for the Lord, rejecting the practice of living our lives one “square” at a time.
“We don’t have tomorrow with which to serve him, we only have today.” – Elisabeth Elliot