Social media is the best and the worst all at the same time.
We give social media such a bad rep these days. Twitter gets blamed for all of our rants and harsh words. Instagram gets blamed for making us jealous of our so-called friends. Facebook causes us to argue about the dumbest things with people we don’t even know. And Snapchat, with its endless filters, becomes our biggest time waster.
Now, these are all perfectly good reasons to think the worst of social media, but aren’t we missing something? Last time I checked, each of us are in complete control of how much time we spend on social media and the amount of value and influence it has in our lives. This past year in Nashville, I learned exactly how social media affects my mind, heart and soul.
When I first moved here, social media was a gift. I could keep in touch with so many people with little to no effort. Double tap here, a few likes there, maybe even a “lol” and I’m still connected to everyone….or so I thought.
When I lived in Orlando, I was working from 7 am to 7 pm on a typical day. There wasn’t much time to scroll through every single post and picture. Looking at social media was a way to kill time while I was waiting in the doctor’s office or in line at the grocery store. However, once I moved to Nashville, I realized I had A LOT more time on my hands. So, the easiest thing was to pull out my phone and keep up with everyone else’s lives.
At first, this seemed harmless. I wanted to keep in touch with all of my friends (and hundreds of acquaintances) and this seemed like the best way, right? Wrong. Why? Because COMPARISON steals our joy and takes our eyes off of all the Lord has given us. Little did I know, the longer I looked into everyone’s lives, the more I wished that I was in their shoes. Now, I don’t mean that I wanted to steal their identities, but I did want all of the things that God had blessed them with. By focusing on their lives, I realized everything that was lacking in my life. A husband, a house full of toddlers, the cutest dogs, the hottest clothes, the coolest adventures with friends….just to name a few.
We all know that most people only post their best moments on social media. So, when we compare our lives to what people post, we are reaching for something that is not reality. We are attempting to take hold of the unattainable. But even when we know this, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s hard to see other people living the life that we’ve dreamed of.
After a few months, I began to recognize what was happening in my mind and heart. Scrolling through social media wasn’t always fun, but yet I kept doing it. It was a very strange addiction. Everywhere I looked, people were getting married, having kids, going on amazing trips, or just having fun with friends. All of which are very happy things, but they easily made me unhappy and frustrated because I was in a new city expending so much energy trying to make friends and find adventures that were worth posting. Yes, Nashville is a great city and there is plenty of pics to post, but often times, the people you are with make the journey so amazing, not necessarily the destination itself. (And, you need people to help you get the best angles…selfies aren’t enough lol)
Before I go on a tanget about selfie sticks…take a look at this from Ephesians 4:25-32:
“25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,
27 and do not give the devil a foothold.
28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work,doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
I don’t know how Paul does it, but he packs a lot of good stuff into two paragraphs. We could apply all of this to how we conduct ourselves on social media, but I want to focus on this key phrase: “do not give the devil a foothold.”
By spending so much time on social media, all of a sudden I was aware of everything that I did not have. I could see all of the fun that my friends were having “without me.” But, I was actually exposing my mind and heart and giving the enemy an opportunity. He took full advantage of manipulating my thoughts. I had to take action quick, allow the strength of Christ to intervene, and kick him out before he got too comfortable.
Bare with me in this silly illustration, but I think the devil walks around in cleats. The word “foothold” implies a need to dig in. The enemy walks around seeking whom he may devour. When he finds a weak spot in our lives, he takes that cleated foot and digs in as much as possible. He’s trying to plant himself in our lives and make a permanent home. But, we can have nothing of that. If we are followers of Christ, we have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us and He doesn’t share His home with the enemy. With His strength, we send the devil running far, far away, cleats and all.
Back on track…I say all of this to reach this point: social media is not evil, in fact it has so much potential for good. The opportunities to share the gospel are endless. The ability to talk with friends and family across the globe is incredible. Unfortunately, we live in a broken, fallen world. We don’t always think before we post, and we let jealousy consume us while we scroll our lives away.
My challenge is this: Live your life instead of looking at other people live theirs. Celebrate the blessings of others and remember the gifts God has given you. Use social media as a way to bless others, not curse them. And, don’t let it steal your precious time. Instead, do what it says in Ephesians 5:15-17:
“15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”
Over and out.