In Growing + Learning on
March 18, 2016

an Honest Conversation About Social Media

I’m about to get real “Christian” up in here, y’all.

I want to talk about the relationship between Christ and social media. Go ahead, get the eye rolls out of your system, and if you’re still here – let me be transparent about the things Jesus has been teaching me for a second. Lately I’ve found myself wondering what it would’ve been like if Jesus, Peter, and James had been Facebook friends. That’s a hilariously lame sentence, but if we’re honest, it’s kind of something to think about. In 2016, social media only continues to grow as a real deal part of the world we live in, don’t we want to utilize it the way Jesus would? I really wish there were chapters of the bible dedicated to the social media world. But there aren’t, and it’s can be a hella mixed bag.

So what do we do? Do we eliminate it all together? Impose time restrictions? Or maybe we just kind of keep Jesus out of it (it’s just Instagram…) and go about our lives. Raise your hand if you’ve at some point done one of the above. All three? Okay, me too. The Lord started stirring up this conversation around 6 months ago, and I’ll admit – there was a fair amount of eye rolling on my part in the beginning. Social media is so engrained in our generation, it’s as natural as breathing for some of us. Wake up, make coffee, check Facebook. Or maybe spend upwards of an hour under the covers scrolling through Instagram. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve auto piloted straight to one of the medias when all I picked my phone up for was to check the time. It’s insane! And it, for the most part, wasn’t something I felt I need to welcome Jesus into. It just didn’t seem important enough. But goodness – is it.

What if we asked ourselves the honest but hard questions about our usage? What goodness does this actually bring into my life? How much time am I wasting on it? What emotions or patterns do I see emerging in my mindless scrolling? Comparison. Judgement. Validation. I mean the list is endless. Here I am comparing (& probably questioning) my life up against a photo someone could have spent who knows how much time posing and editing. You can’t even take the way people look in photos at face value anymore thanks to beauty editing apps (don’t even get me started). Millennials are referring to themselves as “content curators” and I want to jump off a cliff. But I digress. Let’s get back to Jesus.

After my initial but lengthy gut check, my knee jerk reaction was to wipe it all out. Get rid of all of it. I deactivated my Facebook, deleted the Instagram app (I wasn’t quite confident enough to actually delete my Instagram), deleted my snapchat account, and called it a day. I thought it would make me feel so good. That there would be an immediate “well done” resounding in my ears from the Lord. But something still didn’t feel right. You see, I tend to be a bit of a pendulum swinger. From one extreme to the next, in most aspects of my life. So typically, when my eyes are opened to something I struggle with, the whole things gotta go (which I do whole-heartedly believe there are times and places for). That tendency hasn’t left a whole lot of room in my life to learn any self-control or moderation.

Slowly, quietly, I felt like those things were what Jesus was leading me towards. Less throwing the baby out with the bath water, more learning to trust Him to teach me how to have healthy relationships with things. Not just social media – food, friendships, habits, etc. Its been a pretty life changing experience, I won’t lie. But on the subject of my friends Facebook and Instagram, the new question was: what the heck does that look like?? What does trusting Jesus with my social media even resemble? I don’t have all the answers, but I’ll share with you what I’ve learned so far.

The more I prayed and thought, the more there was something stirring in me saying use your voice. Not that it’s a far reaching one, I have no desire for fame or followers, but we’re kidding ourselves if we think our voices don’t matter. Yours just as much as mine. At the most basic level is this: if my purpose here on earth is to glorify my Savior, then my Facebook should reflect that. It should, even in the smallest ways, point people back to Him. Which is, unfortunately, kind of the opposite of what it was created for – to point back to ourselves. But I think it’s a “heart set” thing. That if my heart, prayer, and hope is to be a light in the darkness that social media can sometimes be, my output will follow suit. And I don’t think this means exclusively posting Bible verses or moral diatribes, not that those things are bad. Maybe it looks like taking note of a string of struggling posts from a friend, and reaching out. Every once in a while taking the risk of being transparent and sharing what you’ve learned lately. It definitely means taking the staunch position that you will not, can not engage in ugly back and forths in comment sections, judge people with whose stances you disagree with, and/or generally compare/criticize/think your life is less than. It means not “curating” or perfectly posing our lives. I have to be honest – I have a good life. I am truly, deeply blessed. But I am admittedly guilty of getting swept up in the obsession with the perfect shot and letting simply experiencing the perfect moment completely pass me by. By sharing good but real snapshots from my life, I’m not saying everything is perfect – but I’m sure as hell going to make the best of it and be thankful. (Sidebar: can we all agree that “real” does not inherently equal complaining? That maybe it’s choosing joy and thankfulness in less than ideal situations? I feel like somewhere in this people started posting really negatively and chalking it up as genuine. I don’t know, maybe that’s just me and my opinion.)

I think you just have to be in this constant state of self-evaluation. Filtering the things you send out into the social universe through Jesus. Checking your heart and intentions. Using whatever extent of a media voice you have to be different. I think that’s the essence of the issue. {I don’t even feel like I have the space or time to dive into how much time we spend on our phones, maybe that’s for another time, so I’ll just say this: put it down. Stop seeing every moment as a photo op and just be where you are. You don’t need to alert your newsfeed every time you go somewhere or do something. Live your life. Please, I’m begging you, put down your phone. I’m not perfect at this, but I’m trying, and it’s no less than life changing. *steps off soapbox*}

Like I said, I don’t have all the answers, or even close. God and I are still wading through this, and I still have a lot of questions. But I’m thankful for the process, thankful to see social media in a different light, and to share my thoughts with you here. I fully intend to still share photos of my cutie husband and maybe even my own mug. & never fear, I fully believe Jesus would post copious amounts of pictures His kids, so there’s plenty more #dailydoseofPacey to come 🙂

I don’t normally leave my posts open ended, but considering the word “conversation” is in the title – where do you land on this? Does any of this make sense, do you agree, do you have thoughts to add? I really am interested in hearing back from you, whether in the comments here or on…social media, haha.

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