As we draw closer to the election and the voices begin to get louder and more belligerent, I am reminded of the steps I chose to take in July of 2012 before the last election.
Because social media was still fairly new to me and I wasn’t one to comment often (still not), I was appalled at the way people treated each other in writing for everyone else to see. Families calling each other out on arguments as well as posting actual pictures of nasty texts, etc. Others fishing for negative attention. It’s all just a sign of emotional immaturity, coupled with a lack of self-control. Now we add the election and all of the social issues that are happening in the world on top of that and it all seems to just be dark, ugly, noise.
I must admit that at that time I was at a place in my own walk where I was not able to read this stuff and not have it affect me. By the end of July that year I knew God was calling me to take a break from Facebook. As I de-activated my account, a sense of peace hit me like a flood. I was not ready to handle looking at the news feed and just being able to pray for someone instead of feeling the burden for them.
It can be really odd to see a facade of happy faced pictures on some peoples pages when you know their lives are a hot mess! It seems to be the newest form of covering up and escaping what is really happening in peoples’ lives. I sometimes think when people are doing that, they are trying to convince themselves that everything is okay. It’s sort of like living in a fantasy world, which is a lot of what social media is about. When life gets hard, we cover by displaying to the world that everything is perfect, or we do the opposite and escape the pain by tuning in to focus on other people’s lives.
When God called me to reactivate my account in July of 2014, I was really surprised and even got confirmation through prayer from other trusted advisors before doing so. After the two year break, I had grown a lot spiritually and was able to handle whatever came my way on the feed!
Social media has also become a major procrastination tool when we don’t want to do or face what needs to be addressed. When we utilize media in this way, we are covering up what we need to confront. I also don’t think we should be sharing our junk on Facebook, but the power of testifying when appropriate on social media, in small groups, church, etc. is powerful. There is a huge difference between airing grievances with people and fishing for attention on media versus testifying about the miracles that God is performing in your life as well as sharing beautiful moments with family and friends.
We all have our own challenges in life and if you are currently at a place where you find yourself not able to handle everything that is popping up on your screen, I urge you to take a break. Take a short break every so often for your mental health. By the way, there is a new dementia called social media dementia. So if you think it’s no big deal that we are scrolling multiple times per day, think again. Areas of our brain can actually begin to die off as a result. We know that God calls for balance in all things (except for our extravagant love toward Him).
Just a reminder from someone who has had to scale back herself……