For about a year, God has been dealing with my heart about distractions. The roots to my distractions are primarily found within social media. I had made all these “great tweets” and waited patiently for feedback. I had posted pictures and commented other friend’s statuses hoping for a good response. I had to be on Pinterest and Youtube constantly. Recently, it got to the point that I was constantly refreshing and praying something new would show up on any feed. In the morning, I had to check every social media outlet possible. At night, it kept me up into the wee hours of the morning.
I had so many plans, but saw that none were being accomplished. My actual life seemed to go nowhere. I wasn’t learning or growing. I was becoming more and more superficial. I became so ridden with jealously and envy of other people. I was very unhappy. I realized that social media wasn’t the enemy. My bad habits were. This sick addiction to social media grew into a monster I couldn’t control.
Recently, I felt like God led me to fast social networks all together for one week. It was so hard. So many awesome things seemed to be going on while I was gone. But I believe God really showed what really mattered. Regularly disconnecting from social media is essential because there are more important things we must reconnect with.
I’m not perfect and I fail from time to time. Even last night, I found myself at 1am watching useless vlogs. Still, I understand my distractions and that I must constantly evaluate my social network activity. Below I’ve listed the things I’ve learned while disconnecting from social media.
1. Reconnect with God: Retreating Regularly is Key
As often as possible Jesus withdrew to out-of-the-way places for prayer.
Luke 5:16 (MSG)
Sometimes we are running on empty. We are feeling miserable for ourselves or acting miserable on social media. Why is that? We are constantly checking our Instagram which never gives anyone purpose or vision. When emotions are shaky, we must retreat to God. Prayer and reading your bible is necessary.
Jesus was fully God and fully human. In his humanity, he dealt with social situations that could have been distracting. He knew that refocusing daily was vital to his purpose. Whatever retreat means to you. Do it! You don’t have to go to the wilderness, but you do have to disconnect from the outside world. This is the first and hardest step, but I’ve found that I’ve never regretted this decision. In my small gesture of retreat he has always imparted on me more than I could ever give to him.
What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
Matthew 6:33-34 (MSG)
2. While Retreating Evaluate Your Motives
Your emotions concerning social media are far more than just a selfie, a quote, or a thought. It is a reflection of the state of your heart. You must be honest about your experience in social media (what do you do on social media and why). Transparency in your self-evaluation shows maturity.
Jesus doesn’t need to be on your social media 24/7; He just needs to be in your life and a reflection of everything that you do. If He isn’t you are welcome to be honest in His presence and find healing.
Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims. 1 Corinthians 6:12 (MSG)
3. Reconnect with People in Your Community
Personally, this is a hard thing to do. I used to come to church feeling horrible, sometimes crying in the bathroom and later retweeting lonely statuses about how nobody cares. Sometimes you go through these dark times and you don’t even have the energy to pray. How can people care if you don’t talk to them about it? I’m not saying you tell just anybody your business. That isn’t a wise idea. But if you see someone truly living for Christ and genuinely caring, ask for his or her counsel. Choose to handle your problems face-to-face rather than screen time. Are you jealous toward someone on the Internet? Pray about them and maybe get to know them more. We were created to encourage each other outside of places limited to a certain amount of characters.
9 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NLT)
Today, I find myself closer to God than my to distractions. He isn’t below Facebook and Twitter on my priority list. Now more than ever, I rely on Him to move forward. I enjoy retreating to Him. I’m more willing to be transparent in His presence. When I retreat, He reveals to me the adjustments I need to make. They are so personal; I will never find them on my twitter feed. I’m so much more encouraged by talking to someone about my issues than sub tweeting about someone. I’m grateful for what God has taught me and I pray it blesses you.