Social media can be a wonderful, powerful tool for ministry and awareness.
But recently for me, it's been playing devil's advocate.
Like most millennials, my phone is the first thing I grab when I wake up - you know - just to turn off my alarm. But, then I'll see a notification: "Rebekah Haddock has been tagged in a photo," and news headline about some outrageous thing Donald Trump said. Then I realize I neglected some text messages from the night before and answer them. Pretty soon I've retweeted some things that were worthy-of-a-chuckle, accepted the tag request on Facebook, read some global news and double-tapped a couple pictures on Instagram...
When a picture of a girl standing on The Grand Canyon (or some kind of magnificent scenery) pops onto my feed. The caption? "Go where the heart leads you, flow where the ocean tarries and breathe the air that breathed you into being..."
That looks so beautiful! Where is this? How did they get there? Hmm. I wonder what they're all about...*taps profile* They're Christian? I bet they don't love God as much as I do... She dances? Wow...She's really pretty too. I wish I knew how to dance. She has a lot of likes. How many followers does she have - how many do I have? And she likes basketball... She has a boyfriend?-- --he's really cute. She travels so much, I wish I traveled. I wish my hair curled like that. I wish I had a friend group like that - they look like they're having so much fun. Why don't my friends like to do things like that? Do they even care about me?
Pretty soon I've devoted hours of time investigating other people's lives, having not sown into my own. So, this summer I decided that enough was enough. I had to stop taking bites out of Eve's apple and learn to live again.
I know that may sound a bit extreme, but sometimes you have to set boundaries for yourself when you're weak. And let me tell you, although I do feel a bit out of the loop, I don't mind. I don't carry the anxiety I had, don't feel the need to be nosy, and have used my time to create some things I wouldn't have taken the time to otherwise.
All that mattered was the life I was living in the moment and not the life I wish I "had", nor the lives of others.
Here are a couple things I learned (and relearned...and still am learning) on my little media-free journey:
20 Daily Reminders for the Media-Crazed:
- Let God be the first thing on your mind when you wake up - perspective, perspective, perspective!
- Audibly tell someone you love them everyday. This world is in dire need of love being spoken over their lives, not just via text.
- Live as if the only things you had tomorrow were what you thanked God for today (Dan Blythe).
- Be unapologetic.
- But if you've hurt someone, ask for forgiveness.
- Stop comparing yourself to her. You will never be her and she will never be you. Love your quirks and run with them! After all, we are all women fighting the same fight, no need to pit ourselves against one another.
- Complementing someone in person is priceless; you can never see genuine reactions on a screen.
- Identify yourself with who Christ says you are, not how a man perceives(d) you.
- Sometimes you have to look in the mirror and tell yourself you look good ;)
- ... and give yourself a little pep talk.
- Never substitute a "like" for a conversation, a follow for a friendship, or selfie with a hundred likes for the actual belief that you are gorgeous - inside and out.
- A smile on your face can turn YOUR day around as much as theirs!
- Money can be earned, but you cannot buy time (use it wisely).
- He didn't loose you and you didn't loose him.
- No, you do not have to be married by 30, even if all the engagement photos on Facebook imply it (you will never be satisfied in a relationship if you are unsatisfied when you are single).
- A picture may last, but experience is true memory.
- Not every accomplishment needs to be shared. If it really meant that much, you wouldn't seek validation.
- Surround yourself with people who encourage you, not just believe in your aspirations.
- What you feed, grows!
- God made you who you are for a reason. Stop rejecting yourself because someone rejected you. Let it go, forgive, and be the magnificent human being God called you to be!
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