Wednesday, April 17, 2013


I realize I have been gone for a few days, but I am back, at least to pop in and publish this post that has been sitting in my drafts for a few days now. I think you'll see by the end of this post why I took a little break.....

Sometimes it's weird the way things happen in our lives. I totally admit - I can be a stubborn person who doesn't like change.

That's why when I notice something happening to me repeatedly, I start to think it's time for a change. I think God sometimes has to hit me over the head a few times for me to see something more clearly.

Recently I've noticed something that's really resonated with me. Over the last few weeks, I've read 5 different blog posts, all from different sites, that have had the same message. When I read the first one, it did hit me a little bit that maybe there are some aspects of my life I could use a little bit better perspective on. Then as I started noticing more and more posts with the same message, it became very clear to me that I need a change.

This topic is something I think SO many people struggle with in this day and age, and it's regarding social media.

I'll be the first to tell you that I love social media. I like being able to see what my friends and family are up to. I love blogging and reading blogs. I like scrolling through Pinterest for new baking ideas. Heck, obviously I love social media otherwise I never would have read those 5 blog posts to begin with. So do I think social media is bad? Absolutely not.

But I also admit that I've taken it too far. I get on it too much. I like to think that I don't, but in reality, I do. When I get home from school (where social media is blocked), the first thing I automatically do is open up Twitter and Facebook. When I'm bored - I turn to scrolling through Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. I do it when I'm at home, when I'm babysitting, when I'm in the car (not when I'm driving though!), when I'm waiting in line, and on and on and on. I'm on it all the time because I think I have nothing better to do.

You know, because clearly the earth is going to shatter if I don't see every tweet from every person I follow - ha!


The first post I read on this subject of social media recently was Angie Smith's "You're Not a Prop {subtext series}" post. Her post was more directed towards mothers, but I was still able to get a lot out of it. The message of the dangers of social media isn't just something that affects mothers - but really anyone who regularly uses social media.

Angie's whole post was about how parents sometimes go all out on kids' parties and different events to the point that the party is no longer centered on the birthday kid, but on making the parent "look good" by showing off the creative ideas they found on Pinterest, and then posting a ton of pictures of the decor on Facebook hoping to get a bunch of "likes" and comments. I'm not a mother, so the whole kids' parties thing doesn't apply to me, but the whole part about making yourself look good on social media sites? Totally something I am guilty of.

One of my favorite things she said in her post was, "I’m just challenging you to ask yourself this: Am I documenting or directing?"

And regarding pictures, Angie says, "You now get to twist, crop, edit, and filter that sucker until it looks the way you wish it really had." Ouch - totally true, at least for me. If a picture I take doesn't look cute and perfect, I rarely post it on Twitter.


Later that week, I saw someone tweet a link to Beth Moore's post, "What Would You Look Like?" This is a post I would definitely recommend reading - it was SO good.

Her post wasn't totally connected to social media, but it definitely had a hint of it. The post started out talking about how sometimes looking at other people's "good works" on social media sites can make you question yourself.

When I see someone post on Facebook or Twitter about going on a mission trip, or leading a retreat, or doing some amazing service project, it can lead me to ask myself if I'm doing enough. I've never gone out of country to help orphans in Africa or anything drastic like that. I feel like my life sometimes isn't that significant. When I start to question myself from seeing a Facebook post, it can be a dangerous trap. It can make you think that you're not a "good enough" person.

And that's why Beth Moore wrote that post - to show that not everyone can serve the Lord in the same way.

She writes, "What do you look like when you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength? Because THAT person, Girlfriend, is who He's looking for in you."

So when social media causes you to question yourself, remember Beth's words, "You following Christ will not always look the same as someone else following Christ."


A day or so after I read Beth Moore's post, I saw someone also mention Kelly Minter's post, "Quiet and Small, It's Okay."

Her point was that sometimes doing small things is even better than doing something crazy and huge that generates a lot of "likes" on Facebook. Sometimes the small acts of kindness that aren't posted on social media are the best things to do.

I love the way she starts off her post with "Sometimes quiet and small is okay. It may not make for clever Tweets or garner a slew of comments on Facebook, but it's nothing to fear; Sometimes private is good. Not every picture has to go through the filters of Instagram and rocket into the public square, it can be just for you. And sometimes hidden is best."

Not everything has to be posted on the Internet for everyone to see.


One of the blogs I read regularly lists posts she recommends reading, and one of those a few weeks ago was Jennifer Francis's "The 'Perfect' Easter Picture" post. Again, this one was just a reminder to me of how life isn't perfect, even if you try to make it appear that way on the Internet.

Doesn't it seem that most people usually just post the good stuff on Facebook/Twitter? I am fully at fault in regards to this too, but it does send off a false impression of our lives. We I like to make it appear that I have everything under control, when in reality, no one has it all under control 100% of the time.


And the last post - the one that really threw me over the edge and inspired me to write this post, was an online article called "Instagram's Envy Effect." If any of this post has resonated with you - read this article. It presented the social media situation in a way that made total sense to me, but in a way I had never thought of before.

For example, my favorite excerpt from the article is as follows:

"When you’re laughing at a meal with friends, are you scrolling through Pinterest? When you’re in labor with your much-prayed-for-deeply-loved child, are you checking to see what’s happening on Instagram? Of course not. We check in with our phones when it seems like nothing fun is happening in our own lives—when we’re getting our oil changed or waiting for the coffee to brew. It makes sense, then, that anyone else’s fun or beauty or sparkle gets under our skin. It magnifies our own dissatisfaction with that moment. When you’re waiting for your coffee to brew, the majority of your friends probably aren’t doing anything any more special. But it only takes one friend at the Eiffel Tower to make you feel like a loser."
It's weird how true that is, but I had never looked at it that way. I absolutely check social media sites when I'm bored, and it can absolutely make me feel a little envious of someone else experiencing a "high" while I'm sitting at home bored on a Friday night.
I am absolutely guilty of ALL of the things these various writers have written about in regards to social media.
And I think I somehow stumbled upon each of these posts for a reason, because I need to make some changes. I need to get my priorities straight.
I figured I can't keep doing this - getting on social media to fulfill boredom, trying to present my life as near perfection.
That is why I have decided to make some changes. I'm not doing anything too drastic, but I think it will be scaled back enough to make a difference. I did actually consider deleting my Facebook (gasp!), but then I decided that I think I'm really going to like Facebook next year in order to keep in touch with high school friends. So I'm keeping my Facebook, but here's some of the things I have decided to do.....
1. I don't want this to sound mean, but I started by hiding a lot of Facebook friends from my news feed. I have never accepted a friend request from someone I don't somehow know, but I'm still friends with a lot of people I don't know well. And then there's the people who post all the time about stupid or dramatic things, or selfies of themselves every single day. Those posts are the reason I considered just deleting my Facebook. So I "hid" them instead so I can't see their posts all the time. It has made getting on Facebook much more enjoyable - I can now only see the people I really want to keep in touch with.
2. I weeded out my Twitter feed as well. I had been following over a 100 people (not a ton I realize), but still more than I needed. I went through and unfollowed old accounts and accounts I generally skip over anyway when looking through my Twitter feed. I feel like that will cut down on the time I spend on social media sites.
3. I deleted Facebook off my phone. And it felt SO good. I prefer Twitter, so if I'm going to spend time on social media, I would rather do it on Twitter. So I kept that app, as well as Instagram, but I got rid of Facebook. I will no longer be tempted to check that when I'm out and about :)

You should totally try it - trust me, it's not as hard as it seems!

4. I'm going to try to take a day once a week where I don't get on any social media sites. No blogs, no Twitter, no Facebook, no Pinterest, and no Instagram. I did that one day during Lent, and I enjoyed it SO much. It's amazing the time you gain when you don't feel the need to check out the latest status update.

5. I'm also thinking about limiting my Facebook a bit more. I find that out of all social media sites, that's the one where I see the most drama, so I'm going to try not to visit it as much.

I feel like there is too much life to live to constantly be concerned with checking status updates. I don't want to be the person glued to my phone.

I figured that I won't remember the times spent browsing Pinterest, but I'll remember the times spent with friends and family. The time spent actually living.

I want to have time to read more, sleep more, and finish homework more efficiently. I feel like I can't do that while also being tied to the Internet.

This is why I took a little break earlier this week. I have had a lot of stuff going on with school and college and so many things kept being put off because I never had time to finish them. So on Monday and Tuesday I didn't visit any social media sites. I didn't read any blogs, and I didn't pull up Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest for over 48 hours. I know what you're probably thinking - I could never do that! Honestly though, you can, and it is amazing the amount of time that suddenly frees up. I'm happy to say that everything I needed to get caught up on has been taken care of over the past 2 days, and the battery on my phone has lasted me a lot longer - ha!

Social media can be a great thing. It can link people together and form lasting relationships. It can inspire you. But when used the wrong way, I think it can be extremely dangerous.

I feel bad for the kids growing up in this day and age. They're facing things I never dealt with when I was little. They have parents who constantly check their phones. Heck, they have parents who try to entertain them by handing off their phone. I'm kind of glad I didn't grow up with all of that social media. Kids these days can't seem to get through a MEAL without playing on someone's iPod, iPhone, or iPad. I literally feel sorry for them - I think they are going to have a much harder time spending moments away from technology and with friends and family than teens and adults do today - and we spend a LOT of our time on those gadgets.

So I'm choosing to try, despite what society says, to put my phone down, close the laptop, and live life more. And I honestly can't wait.

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