As I laid my head on the pillow last night, I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling so agitated. Something in my gut just didn’t feel right. There wasn’t an incident I could pinpoint as the reason, but the chaos in my head was causing unrest in my heart. As I reflected on the evening, which consisted of a perfectly delightful and precious birthday dinner with my entire family altogether at my favorite restaurant, I recognized the moment the irritation set in: when I got on social media to follow home designers in order to survey and study trends.
As wife to a custom home builder and the one who helps our homeowners with their design and selections throughout construction, it’s important that I be in the know. My son is ridiculously talented at design, so I sought out his recommendations of who to follow. My daughter, who works with him, is showing some of the same innate giftings as her brother, so she shared a number of Instagram accounts she follows. I spent the next hour of the drive home sifting through accounts and pictures.
That’s when the discontentment set in. That’s when my head began to spin with everything out-of-date about my house or my knowledge. Insecurity took root. Comparison, which I recently read either leaves us feeling full or pride or shame. What a trap!
I reflected on the way my daughter filtered and touched up the photo she posted of us so we both look better than reality. That brought to mind the fashion account I follow and the bikini pics she posted earlier that day from some exotic vacation spot. Her perfectly sculpted body stretched on a white beach with the exact sun hat and accessories. All this mindlessly registered as I scrolled my feed for no other reason than to fill idle time.
Here’s what I know to be true for me and so many others when it comes to social media:
We are seeing and comparing our view of ourselves – the reality of our shortcomings and flaws and disappointments and insecurities – to someone else’s perfectly planned and staged and edited posts, and it makes what we see of ourselves as less than or WORSE!
But here’s the reality of our day. Instagram and all the other social media options are here to stay. Certain ones may be the rage and then fall to second rate, but the phenomenon of socially connecting and interacting and building tribes and followers etc. is here to stay. We can most certainly have nothing to do with it, and I have a lot of respect for those who simply don’t do social media. They are completely immune to its traps. For me, as a writer and speaker, it is necessary and a great means of connecting and communicating. As a custom home builder, it is necessary and a great means for staying informed and inspired and sharing pictures and news of what we’re doing.
So how do we enjoy the benefits of social media while avoiding the destructive consequences the devil relentlessly inflicts on us as a means to lie, devour, kill, steal and destroy? How do we take what can be a blessing and engage in a way that is a blessing? How do we apply Colossians 3:23 -24 even to our social media activity:
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”
This is what God answered me: MPS. Sometimes we need GPS to see the big picture, to know where we’re going and to get there without harm or delay. God is giving us MPS, and it’s what I am committing to pray through and implement as my best practice for social media. Maybe it will help you too.
- M = motive.
Lord, why am I getting on this app right now? Is it to check out, kill time or see how many people like my posts?
Am I getting on because I want to bless others?
Lord, as I get on this app, guard my heart from distraction and temptation. As You teach us in the Lord’s prayer, lead me not into temptation but deliver me from evil lurking in my feed.
- P = protection.
Protect my eyes and heart from the temptation to compare, covet, envy and become prideful or insecure and discontent.
- S = Spirit.
Help me to do what it is You would have me do to shine a light and bring glory to Your name for the moments I am on this app.
Give me eyes to see which posts you want me to comment on as a way to connect and encourage? How can I show kindness and love to others in the time I am on this app?
Help me to be conscious of how I feel when I am scrolling and when I close out the app. Am I encouraged or discouraged and why?
Seek ways to connect and encourage. How can I engage through posts and comments?
Just like GPS reroutes us when we get off track, so will the Holy Spirit. But we might have to get off the road for a minute and get turned back around. So too, get off social media the exact second it becomes mindless or comparison and discontentment sets in.
And then I want to make it a practice with every post to:
- Ask myself: what is my motive for posting this? Is it to bless and edify others or is it to generate likes and to gratify my desire to be noticed and affirmed?
- Measure the “success” of a post by its impact on others, not it’s affirmation of myself. Measure by comments that engage in uplifting conversation and not by likes or shares.
I invite you to hold me accountable. Ask me how I’m doing. Call me out if you see me get off track. Let’s do this together, because that’s why God gave us the body of Christ: to do together for the kingdom what would be impossible on our own.
And let’s follow each other so we can stay connected on social media. Leave me a way we can connect and I’ll follow you! If you want to connect with me, you can click on any one of the social media buttons in the upper right sidebar.