Okay, so I have been feeling incredibly uninspired when it comes to writing, but then I listened to the podcast I recorded with Danielle Joseph of Phenomenelle Life [listen to the podcast here], and I felt like exploring this topic more.
Whilst we are all being quarantined, I am seeing so many people on social media, and I think it's great, people can communicate and stay in touch, however, what happens when you become addicted?
I think so many of us, unknowingly, have become addicted to social media. We love getting likes, we love feeling acknowledged, we love feeling wanted and we love being seen! But what expense will you post and post and post and post? I'm reminded of Jesus's words in Matthew 16:26 [TPT] - For even if you were to gain all the wealth and power of this world with everything it could offer you—at the cost of your own life—what good would that be? And what could be more valuable to you than your own soul?
Sometimes, we get so caught up with looking at how green everyone else's grass is, that we forget to nurture and tend to our own. Sometimes, our insecurities make us feel like we need to keep up with the Joneses, so we spend hours looking to into peoples lives, analysing them, looking at what their eating, buying, wearing, listening to....and I just wonder is it really necessary? Because it definitely is damaging.
A recent study found that the average person spends up to two hours on social media [lol]. Sis, I know your average screen time is about 12 hours, so you're doing already six times more than the average person - that study also found that two hours was incredibly damaging for one's mental health.
That study also found that overuse of social media stimulates the same regions of the brain that cocaine and other drugs would. What does this do? It creates an addiction, but interestingly enough, overuse of social media actually then begins to destroy the decision-making region of your brain (just as drugs naturally would on any individual) and actually makes you prone to more risk-taking behaviours. So in short - overuse of social media is actually causing brain damage - in the same way, that you snorting cocaine for a couple of hours a day would. Read the study here. There are multiple studies confirming the same thing, so you can also google it.
I don't think this is coincidental. I think social media is a great tool for Satan, he distracts us with what looks profitable, whilst he steals our time with God, time with family and time spent doing other worthwhile things. Time is the most valuable thing. When we die, I'm sure God will ask us what we did with the time he gave us.
Matthew 7:21-23 [MSG] - “Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’
I don't have to be a scientist to see how damaging social media is. Girls are a lot more insecure, we know way too much about each other's lives, people are so worried about others to think, even as Christians, sometimes, I feel like some of our motivations when it comes to growing spiritually is so that our fruit can be displayed for others to see.
So how do we break this addiction to acceptance?
1. Recognise that you have an addiction in the first place
John 8:32 [CSB] - You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
Be honest with yourself. Through having to promote my blog and podcast, I have had to join Instagram. At first, it was fine, I even forgot I had it in the first place, but then the more I interacted with people on there, the more addictive it got. Soon enough when I woke up in the morning, it was the first thing I checked, and checking it would then lead to me being on it for thirty minutes or so. I had to keep it real with myself and see that something unhealthy was forming, and those hours I'd usually spend listening to a message, praying, reading or journalling, were now spent looking at peoples OOTD's.
2. Go cold turkey for a week.
I am an avid member of the turn of my phone society. I started doing it last year, and it honestly has protected my mental. There is actually more to life than what is happening online. So whenever I feel to do so, I turn off my phone (for most of the day) and I focus on other things, it may be praying, reading, watching kid's films with Cairo, laundry, or just existing, whatever it is, I make sure that I am comfortable with myself, and with God, without any other influences. I encourage you to try it, at first, it is hard, you may turn on your phone every hour....but then I promise you, the solitude kicks in and its blissful. The statement that "ignorance is bliss" is actually accurate. What you don't know or can't see can't affect you. So protect your heart - all your issues of life flow from it - not everything has to enter it. Learn to love solitude.
3. Learn about who you are IN Christ.
Sometimes, I feel like this statement is heavily directed to women, but this one is for both females and males.
I feel like men struggle with self-worth just as much as women do. Who wouldn't want the opposite sex showing them constant attention? Who wouldn't want to hear how awesome or beautiful they are all the time? But the fact that you need constant attention or affirmation shows that there's an emptiness there. Perhaps you never felt noticed or needed growing up, I don't know what it is, but God does, you need to surrender the insecurity to Him. Perhaps, you don't even know why you are the way you are, but He does. Spend time in prayer, do some soul searching, read, I recommend the book Wholeness by Toure Roberts [only £2.99 and SO worth it]...let God show you what's really broken, and let him mend you. There are some real strongholds that have occurred because of your childhood and the trauma you've experienced, once you allow God to really heal you, you will not need validation from others, and you will not need to constantly see what others are doing. You will be secure in who He says you are. You will begin to really live life in abundance as a whole person in Christ. I'd also recommend reading Danielle's blog post covering this, you can read it here.
4. Remove your triggers.
Besides being a member of the turn of my phone society, I am also a member of the ghost society. I do not engage with, or keep up with people that do not add to my life. It sounds really harsh, but I have learned that I simply do not need to be friends with everyone. Some people are around you because of what you can give them, some people just like you because of your status, some people are just nosey and others are lonely, few people genuinely want to be your friend because of you. So bearing that in mind, I don't feel the pressure to keep up with everyone, or know everything. The honest truth is, what sis or bro is up to does not add to my life, better my salvation or pay my bills. So get yourself some membership to the mind your business society too, and do that. Focus on you, your life, your God, your kids, your goals or whatever it may be. Don't feel the need to engage with everyone. I don't see how you can be so engrossed with everyone else and manage your own life successfully at the same time. There are some people you will have to put on mute. You cannot have two masters. You can't even serve social media and God. If something is causing you to sin, you should cut it off - Matthew 5:30 - And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
5. Increase God time.
This one's a given lol, but it is honestly the truth.
Matthew 6:21 [MSG] - “Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.
Force yourself into loving God again. Be intentional about spending hours with Him.
Why do I say force? Because if you wait until you feel like doing so, you may never. Revelation 2:5 [TPT] - “Think about how far you have fallen! Repent and do the works of love you did at first. I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place of influence if you do not repent.”, it doesn't say when you feel like it, repent and do the works of your first love, it was a command. An instruction - something to be obeyed, irrespective of how you feel at the time. Spending hours in God's presence at first may feel boring and long, but give it time, and be honest with God, over time, the desire for Him will grow and soon enough you will be addicted to it. Soon enough you'll realise the peace, love and joy you feel when worshipping Him, and crying out to Him in your closet, doesn't compare to the low-self-esteem you gather from spending hours online.
6. When it gets overwhelming don't be afraid to go.
The deactivate button is there for a reason. If you can take annual leave from work, then why not social media? If it gets too much then go! You can return. I do this loads. Sometimes, you just need to focus on other things. It's not embarrassing, it's a form of self-love. Protect your heart, and protect your mental, and return when you want to. Sometimes, I must admit, even as a creative, I feel the need to be on social media actively and keep pushing my content, I remember telling God this a few days ago, because at that point, I found the whole social media thing draining. Do you know what He said to me? He told me numbers were none of my business. Yes, I could check up on them once in a while, but as someone who is pushing out content for the Kingdom, my only responsibility is to spend time with Him, to study and show myself approved unto Him, to worship Him, to make sure my heart wants nothing but Him, to seek Him first, and the numbers, the growth of what I am doing will come after. He would ensure that I would grow - that was His responsibility, not mine. All I have to do is make sure my heart remains madly in love with Him so that when others come to follow, they also fall madly in love with Him too.
2 Timothy 2:15 [TPT] - Always be eager to present yourself before God as a perfect and mature minister, without shame, as one who correctly explains the Word of Truth.
Matthew 6:33 [TPT] - So above all, constantly chase after the realm of God’s kingdom and the righteousness that proceeds from him. Then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly.
This doesn't mean as a creative, you don't need to spend time on socials, but with everything, a good balance is required (Proverbs 11:1), and I most definitely believe you can never spend too much time with God!
Galatians 6:7-8 [MSG] - Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.
Just my thoughts!
- millicent x