Do you find yourself browsing Facebook during your down time? Do you check Instagram and Twitter to decompress and unwind from the stresses of the day? Once there, do you ever find yourself shocked, offended or even appalled by what your “friends” post or say? Do you feel pangs of jealousy at your friends latest vacation pictures, new houses, new cars or endless shopping sprees and nights on the town? At the beginning of Chapter 4 in “Women Living Well,” Courtney states that social media in and of itself is neither good or bad, it is “amoral” as she so accurately describes. However, what we choose to do with social media, how we choose to spend our time there, who we choose to talk to and what we choose to say is where the morality lies.
Courtney lists several ways social media and technology can negatively impact not only our spiritual life, but our family life, our personal relationships and our own self worth and confidence. First and most importantly, technology and social media can very easily distract us from God and our families. Have you ever sat down to study your Bible only to be berated with an endless series of beeps and pings coming from your phone, iPad or computer? Did you allow these interruptions or did you win the battle and continue in your commitment to study his Word? I personally believe that the technology that provides us with Bible apps on our phones and iPads are both convenient and crushing at the same time. The ease of studying scripture at any given moment is amazing, however the temptation to stop midway to check the latest email, Facebook or Twitter notification is far too much for many to withstand. We’ve all heard about (or maybe even seen) the moms who take their kids to the park, but are too engrossed in their phones or iPads to really see all that their kids are made of. But, how many of us are willing to admit that we, at some point, have also been that mom? Maybe your point of social media weakness isn’t when you’re at the park, maybe it’s while your kids are swinging in the back yard, maybe it’s while they ride their bikes in the driveway or maybe it’s simply while they play in the living room floor. I think we all can admit that, at some point, social media has gotten the better of our time.
Social media impacts our personal relationships, both positively and negatively. It’s great to have this medium to keep in touch with distant relatives and childhood friends, but have you ever been taken aback by something one of these people said or posted? Have you ever had a friend comment on something you posted, only to sit and analyze it endlessly, trying to find the meaning behind their words? Judgment and hurt feelings run rampant on social media. As Christian women, we are called to extend grace in these types of circumstances. This means that when your friend posts a picture of her girl’s-night-out rendezvous, you extend grace, not judgment. There may be instances when we are called to address sin in a sister’s life, however this should only come from a place of love and grace, and only to those we consider close at heart. As Courtney states, we are “not on Facebook and Twitter to be everyone”s Holy Spirit!”
For a lot of women, the real killer in social media comes from the death it can have on our self worth and confidence. As women, we naturally take pride in our homes, our husbands and kids. Just when we think we’re doing good, the laundry is finally caught up, the house is (semi) clean, there’s actually hot food on the table and the kids are all still alive, we log on to Facebook only to see other moms’ fancy Pinterest dinners (organic and made from scratch of course), pictures of our friends’ latest home remodel, home purchase or new car and immediately our chest deflates like a balloon that has just been popped. How do they find time to cook like that? Where does all their money come from? Once again, there we are, comparing our insides to their outsides, and our recent boosted confidence and self worth are shot. This, dear friends, is the ultimate burden for women in social media. That we would get our self worth from the realms of social media, rather than Him and what His word says we are takes our entire identity and changes it from something based on love to something based on works. If this is your weak spot in social media, do not be afraid to abandon it entirely before it clouds your ability to see yourself through His eyes.
So, how do we maintain healthy relationships on social media, while not allowing it to consume our every free moment or change our perception of who we are? I think the biggest step to take is to be selective in who you befriend or follow. If you find yourself struggling not to pass judgment based on someone’s lifestyle portrayed through posts or pictures, maybe you should unfollow them or hide them from your newsfeed. If you find yourself contrasting and comparing your life to that of other wives, mothers and homemakers, then maybe you should stop following those people. You may feel bad at first, but the burden that will be lifted from the weight of negativity and judgment will far exceed your need to people please. The next step is to flood your newsfeed with positivity. Follow positive people, pastors who preach the truth, authors you admire and/or public figures that encompass your same beliefs and values. Flood your mind and spirit with the word and thoughts from those who follow Him and your social media experience can be transformed from one of hurt feelings, judgment and envy to one of peace, grace and contentment.