“Daughter, put the phone down and listen. I’ve given you all you need right here.”
She woke, rolled over and grabbed her iPhone. After she checked the time and rubbed her eyes, she let out a big sigh and thought about the busy day ahead. Then, she clicked on the blue square with a lower case f. She saw how many likes she had from what she had shared the night before. She scrolled through mindlessly for a minute. Then, her feet hit the floor with an empty feeling in her soul.
“Why did I just start my day like that?!” She thought.
She went to the coffee pot then grabbed her Bible and notebook for what she knew would make her empty soul feel good and satisfied instead: her Jesus.
Friends, the story above, has been my story some mornings. Thankfully, I decided to do something about it. I decided I had to live out my life verse:
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” -Matthew 6:33, NIV, emphasis added
I just won’t open any kind of social media until I’ve had time with God first. Time to seek Him first. Time for Him to remind me who He is and who He says I am. Time for me to ask Him for the blessings only He can give. Time for me to hear Him remind me of the good work He has for me to do in the day ahead. And I actually never hear Him include:
“Spend time scrolling through your social media mindlessly.”
Trust me, friends, I know we need mindless chill time. I don’t think anyone can run long and far for God without sitting back and relaxing. Us mamas know, at the end of the day, we have hardly any brain functioning left. We need an escape. We need to connect with the outside world, to get good ideas for recipes and outfits. To see the cute babies our friends from college have had. Yes, yes, yes. Social media is not all bad.
But we need to check our social media surfing and ask ourselves some questions about how it is affecting our most important relationship, our relationship with our Heavenly Father.
How is social media affecting my relationship with God?
- Am I SEEKING GOD FIRST with my heart, my days, my time, and energy while still being connected to social media?
- Am I finding my IDENTITY and VALIDATION in who I am in Christ or in my popularity on social media?
- Am I ABIDING in Christ and BEING PRESENT with Him and with the people He has placed in my life, or am I letting social media steal my attention from Him and them?
We’ve already hit on the number one, so let’s start with number two. And let’s just be real. You have looked at your post to see how many likes it has. You have looked at your profile to see how many followers you have. You have even gone to another person’s profile to see how many followers she has compared to you. Sometimes, this makes you feel good (which is silly and prideful). And sometimes, this makes you feel small and unimportant (which is a lie). This has to stop.
As children of God, we CANNOT find ANY IDENTITY in our popularity online.
This is grieving the heart of God. He is watching us, thinking, “My child, I created you fearfully and wonderfully, I sent My Son to die for you, I have adopted you as My own through Him, and I have given you every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm, yet you look on social media to see what people who don’t even really know you think about what you have posted?” Ouch. That thought hurts…but in a good way, right? Isn’t it fantastic that who were are in Christ is what really matters?
Let’s not let this cycle steal our blood-bought identity and worth any longer.
“Daughter. Put the phone down, and listen. I’ve given you all you need right here.”
~Hear Him and step away.
~Sign off and look up.
Which bring us to our next topic: Abiding (being present) with God and the people around you instead of being on social media. God has promised He will never leave us. He has sent His Holy Spirit to dwell in the hearts of those who have trusted in His Son. How can we converse with God and the people around us if our eyes are on our phones and devices? The answer is we can’t! Someone is getting ignored. Please, let’s make it stop (preaching to myself here, too).
So how can we stay on social media and keep walking closer to God?
1) Be disciplined about it.
“So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” – 1 Corinthians 9:26-27, NLT
We need guidelines and limitations. Here are some ideas.
Time restrictions: Only get on social media certain times of the day, like after you spend time with God or just at night to check one time a day to stay connected but not obsessed. Also, you may want to set a time limit for when you do get on so you don’t look up and realize you’ve wasted an hour while your dishes are still piled up in the sink waiting for you.
Reasons to get on: Checking to see how popular your posts are should not be one of them! That is self-centered and makes us have that false sense of worth we talked about earlier as children of God. But there are good reasons to get on. You know what they are for you, so just ask yourself, “What’s my good purpose to get on social media right now?” Don’t let it be a rote, routine habit to click on the app because you have a free second.
Log out or take apps off your phone: Train your fingers not to click where they’re used to clicking. Either delete it off your phone or sign out of your apps until the time you have decided you will get on daily. Then log back out.
If you need a detox from social media, step away for a while.
“Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.” – 2 Timothy 2:22, NLT
Tell someone how you are trying to change your online habits. Choose someone with the same heart for the Lord that you have and explain to them how you are doing this for a closer walk with God and to grow in who you are in Him.
Finally, we all know that to change behavior, a new behavior has to take its place. Use the time and energy you used to spend on your devices on social media to seek God instead, to grow in the truth about who He really is and who you really are as His child. Get the Bible app on your phone and find a great devotional to click on when you have free seconds.
Be present in the moment that you are in with God and with those around you. Live life to the fullest like he intended you to, right where your feet are planted instead of where your fingers are scrolling.
“’The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.’” ~Jesus (1 John 10:10, NLT)
I’m right here. I have given everything for you to be close to Me. I gave Jesus. Don’t miss out on the fullness of life I have paid for you to have. Look up at the blessings in front of you. Let’s experience life deeply together in person and not in front of that screen.
Your Heavenly Father
I know this is a lot to take in! But last night, I got on a mindless scroll fest that left an exhausted mama even more exhausted. Have you been there? I needed to hear this blog post I wrote a few summers ago. I am asking myself the three questions about how social media is affecting my relationship with The Lord.
Will you join me:
Are you seeking Him first?
Are you finding identity and validation in social media?
Are you abiding in Christ and being present with people?
After we answer these questions, let’s make a plan. Some I mentioned above include time limits, reasons to get on social media, and logging out of apps. Maybe we need a break from it all together. Or maybe we need to be on our Bible app instead of the social media apps.
Just ask the Lord. He’ll be honest with you and lead you in the right direction, amen? As for me, I’ll be setting time limits. I do love me a good timer!
I hope you find even more freedom in Jesus this week as His Dearly Loved Daughter.
Written by Amy D Terry
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on amydterry.com
Featured Image by Toni Hukkanen