I clicked on the log in button and started to mindlessly scroll through my feed.
Wow, that’s beautiful… <double-tap>
I love that Bible verse… <double-tap>
How can I take photos like that?! <double-tap>
Look at those cute little kittens! <double-tap>
Oh, I want to travel there… <double-tap>
The inner dialogue continues as I mentally sort through what is inspirational, encouraging, and fun, but there are also lies, unhealthy comparisons, negativity, and boredom.
Then one of three things happens:
· How long have I been sitting here?
· Why do I feel like this?
· I need to post something!
HAS THIS EVER HAPPENED TO YOU?
Feeling lost in hours of scrolling, liking, retweeting, and selfies trying to fill a void, hide from a problem, or because you’re bored? Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, or other social media platforms can be useful resources or useless distractions.
So, we arrive at the question: How do we find rest and worth amidst social media’s craziness?
Let’s be honest, I’m still trying to figure this out. This is a battle I deal with regularly because social media and photography are my jobs. When you run a photography business or the church’s social media accounts, you find yourself living in this headspace constantly. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my work. I love that social media and photography have a place in ministry and that I can use these to glorify God. It’s not all bad, but we have to be careful.
WHAT IS REST?
When the dictionary defines rest, it says, “the refreshing quiet or repose of sleep; refreshing ease or inactivity after exertion or labor; relief or freedom, especially from anything that wearies, troubles, or disturbs.”
I love that last two parts of that definition. Rest isn’t just sleep—it’s a place of ease and relief. When I think of things that allow my soul to find rest, those are the activities that help me to disconnect from the loudness of this world and focus on God.
For me, that’s taking care of my plants, writing in my prayer journal, going on a walk or a bike ride, drinking tea with a friend, prayer and meditation, reading a book, playing a board game with my husband, snuggling with my purring cats, or painting.
Whatever activities help you rest and connect with God, this probably means some kind of time away from your phone and/or your social media accounts. Life is too short to be exhausted by the rat race of social media. Psalm 23:1-3 says, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.” Take time to rest, and peacefully connect with the Creator of the Universe.
TIME FOR A SELF-CHECK
Regular self-checks are vital in understanding your intentions and that rings true in the case of social media as well. Until you know why you are on social media or why you are posting, how can you know what you need to rest from?
I’ve tried to get into a better habit of asking myself, Why am I posting this? If it is an opportunity to share what God is doing, share the beauty in the world, make someone smile, connect positively with people, or provide a source of encouragement, I know that it is probably worth following through on. If it is to glorify myself, be someone I’m not, or could negatively influence others, then it’s probably not something I should post. Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
If your use of social media is getting in the way of time with Jesus or if it is hindering your relationships with others, that’s not a good thing. Taking a fast from social media doesn’t hurt when you are trying to restore these relationships.
I find myself checking my notifications on social media too often. Why is that? Why do I keep logging in? On some level, I look at those likes, comments, shares, etc. as approval. We find worth in others validating us through this sort of interaction—which is normal—but this shouldn’t be where we solely place our worth and identity. When we find ourselves inching closer and closer to this mentality, we need to make a change. 1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” My identity needs to be rooted in being a special possession of God, loved and cared for by Him.
If you stayed with me this far, thank you for reading. You may, at this point, be wondering, “I’ve been there…but what’s next?”
If we understand that we are living in a world that is dependent on social media, we know that cutting it out completely is probably unlikely. What we can do, is exercise discipline. For myself, maybe that looks like only logging into my Instagram account 3 times a day instead of getting on it 10 times a day. Maybe it means posting less and figuring out what’s worth sharing and not worth sharing. Maybe it means putting your phone down so that you can have genuine conversations with those around you without distraction or taking time to go on a walk. Find those good habits to start placing in your life so that your soul can rest in the quietness. Time is a gift and we can’t get it back. We should make sure that we are being good stewards of what we have been given by God and time is included in that.
Social media brings people together in an amazing way. It makes this big world just a little smaller and allows for us to connect faster and learn in ways that weren’t possible even 30 years ago! I love that it is a part of my ministry, a way to connect to my family, a medium that sparks inspiration. However, I can’t let it become a controller of my world.
Please remember this: God loved you before your Instagram was pretty, before your Facebook posts were getting likes, and before your Snapchat streaks existed. Know that your worth in this world is derived from being a Child of God. Rest in that today and take a break to breathe. He loves you.