It’s been two weeks since I deactivated my Facebook and personal Instagram account. If you’re one of my online friends or you follow me on these platforms, you know that I try to share inspiring and positive posts. However, when a screw gets lose, I rant once in a while. I dare to claim that “this (referring to my FB wall) is my space and I can post anything I want.”
I’ll just park that thought for a while and come back to it later.
Social media has impacted all of our lives in the last decade. Suffice to say that businesses and major influencers have benefited from this surge of attention and online approval. They can attest that social media has improved their sales and increased their reach and network. But what about you and me?
I’m not talking to you as a business owner or an online authority, nor am I speaking to you as a social media expert. I’m talking to the man or woman behind all that. How has social media impacted you on a personal level and deeper level?
I will do my best to be completely honest with you. By now, you may have probably known that about me, I wear my heart on my sleeve all the time.
Being a work-from-home-mom, I have the freedom to use my time and hopefully manage it well. Scheduling my day is crucial if I intend to be productive. Still, I find pockets of time to browse on social media and be updated, so to speak. However, these pockets of minutes turn into hours that I lose track of time. Soon, I’ll be stressed because the schedule has been moved because my face was glued to my phone. But I didn’t realize that this was happening.
Aside from time being wasted, I noticed a change in my thinking which has reflected in my behavior recently. Belief dictates behavior. There were some social media posts that I took personally. Some posts made me feel bad. Clearly, the owners of the accounts did not intend to “attack” me but I felt a negative emotion after seeing specific posts. These emotions included anger, irritation, rejection, and insecurity.
And because I have fed my heart with these negative emotions, I became bitter and resentful. Feelings of insecurity crept in as well. At the height of these emotions, I would lash out on social media and seek approval from online friends. Most of the time I’d get the thumbs up because I have used my wit and sarcasm as tools of engagement. However, I didn’t see the invisible thumbs down from others. But I couldn’t care less. All I know was that I needed to say something. It was my moronic way of being “real”. But my idiotic ways had to end soon.
It’s Hurting Others
A backgrounder first. I went through a difficult year in 2017. I felt judged, rejected, and misunderstood by the people whom I devoted my life to. Let me be clear here. That was my perspective before the Lord exposed everything to me. This was pre-soul-exposition. If you know what I mean. The Lord, in his wisdom, allowed me to go through what I claimed to be one of the most difficult and emotional times in my life. Again, in His faithfulness, this season turned out to be one of the best seasons in my life.
So let’s go back to all those negative emotions. There I was feeling pained and questioning God daily. Why? What did I do? God was on to something but I couldn’t get it at that time. I continued to harbor that pain in my heart and it was evident in my behavior. That would include my insensitive Facebook rants, being an aggressive driver, having my defenses up and in fighting mode all the time, not to mention elevating my sarcastic remarks to the level of prodigy. If Olympic medals were given to sarcastic people, I would be awarded one. Yes, it was that bad! In hindsight, I didn’t know I was capable of doing all that. What a shame!
Of course, the devil had me where he wanted me. He was having a party. Admittedly, for a period of time, I was functioning without the Spirit of God leading me. I was running my life apart from Him. My choice to disconnect from God became my weakness. So the enemy infiltrated my mind with thoughts of insecurity and unworthiness. The sad part? I believed all his lies. There was a deluge of hate in my heart, hate for others and myself. Thoughts of ending my life would surface once in a while. Until a friend, who was hurt by my behavior extended love to me.
Among all my godly friends, this one friend bravely faced me out of love. She confessed that she was fearful of me and how I would respond to her rebuke. She did it because God made her obey and she loved me. I’m so grateful for her obedience.
The Lord God used her to confront me lovingly, to see what was happening to me and how my actions affected the people around me. I took it all in, knowing full well that it was God speaking to me. Finally, it dawned on me that I, in fact, hurt others too. It was not my intention but it was a result of my independence from God, which in turn made me weak and more vulnerable to spiritual attacks. I was spiraling out of control until the Lord finally grabbed me and rescued me, again.
Right after that rebuke, I had a week of soul-restoring with the Lord. His revelations about the condition of my heart and his assurance of love comforted me. I cried every day because I was so ashamed of what has become of me. I mourned for the times I disregarded my God. Yet, through all that, God still loves me. In fact, he says, he never unloved me. There is nothing I can do to make him love me less.
He used his Word, the Bible, to speak to me so clearly. There was no other way the Lord could speak to me but through his Word. What’s so funny is that I was expecting Him to meditate on a doctrinal book in the Bible like Romans or Paul’s other letters. He made me go through an unfamiliar, Old Testament book, the two-chapter book of Haggai. I haven’t even read that!
Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways.
But the book of Haggai has indeed enriched my experience with the Lord. That week was one for the books, no pun intended. It has probably surpassed the first time I surrendered my life to the Lord. I felt born-again again after that 🙂
It’s Moving Forward
That encounter with the Lord was a new beginning for me. The Lord continues to teach me every day what I needed to change. I am a work in progress.
And so without hesitation, I took a break from social media by deactivating my accounts. I have done this countless times in the past and it has no effect whatsoever. But this time, it was a God-appointed hibernation. Its effect on my personal life has been tremendous.
Now, that I am no longer imprisoned to my phone, I have more time to focus more important things. I have promised myself not to disregard my time with the Lord again so I’m extending my time reading, studying, and meditating on his word. Listening to podcasts by Dr. Charles Stanley, the late RC Sproul, and reading more articles at Desiring God by John Piper and his pool of writers have enriched my heart and soul of late. I started reading the weekly email I received from inspiring bloggers I have subscribed to.
I don’t know yet when I’ll be activating my personal social media accounts. So far, it’s only our business’ IG account that I am updating. The Lord is still processing my healing and restoration. The noise of social media has drowned God’s voice in my life.
When I feel the urge to return to Facebook, I literally have to ask permission from the Lord. I would ask, “Lord, is it time?”. His response is, “Not yet.” To be honest, there is no FOMO or Fear of Missing Out. I thought I couldn’t live without social media but apparently, I can, by God’s grace. Whether it’s time to go back or quit altogether is not up to me. Now, life without my social media accounts has become real and insightful for me. But then again, that is just me. It’s a personal thing.