This used to be one of my absolute favorite sounds. The buzzing of a phone to alert me that I have received a message or a “like” on my picture. Looking back, I see how my life started to revolve around social media. It reached a point where my thoughts lost their own subjectivity and I started to view life through the lens of social media. Like, when deciding what to wear or where to eat, instead of following my personal preferences, I went to the places which would look greatest when I posted them on social media and I would wear the outfits which would get the most likes.
It’s crazy. It’s a trap.
How many of us instantly take a photo of our meal when it is served to us at a restaurant so we can share it? We can hardly enjoy an amazing holiday because we spend most of it snapping away and sharing instead of living in the moment. We don’t want to go unnoticed by the world that is why. Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with documenting our lives and the beautiful highlights we experience however, it becomes problematic when we are dependent on social media for validation and attention .
Social scientists say that we check our phones once every 4.3 minutes while we are awake. This is an alarming statistic. In his book, “12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You” Tony Reinke writes, “The more addicted you become to your phone, the more prone you are to depression and anxiety, and the less able you are to concentrate at work and sleep at night. Digital distractions are no game.” There are serious mental and spiritual consequences which follow the unhealthy use of social media.
Our phones and social media in particular can have many wonderful benefits for our lives, however we need to take charge of the role that social media plays in our lives so that it serves us instead of us being slaves to its demands.
Here are 5 ways you can take control over your use of social media:
1: Keep Away From Your Phone While You Sleep
Keep your phone in another room while you sleep so that you do not check it first thing when you wake up. Use the first hour of your day and the last hour of your day to get grounded in who you are and your lifes purpose. You could spend this time connecting with God, meditating, reading affirmations, exercising and writing down a few personal goals for yourself. This will enable you to take charge of your day before the external world does. According to Jim Kwik, we surrender our sovereignty to the world very early in our day when we react to notifications from the moment we wake up.
2: Limit Screen Time
Limit your daily screen time by scheduling times to check your phone daily . We Scroll aimlessly through celebrity gossip, cat videos and funny memes, time which could be better spent engaging in meaningful projects of our own . Like the servants who were given talents in Matthew 25:14-30, we are ultimately accountable to God for how we spend the time He borrows to us in this lifetime.
3: Build Your Life Around Meaningful Things
Follow people and pages which produce content that is meaningful and empowering to your life. Create an environment which affirms you and draws you closer to God. Avoid those that make you feel bad about yourself and pressure you into purchasing products and services . As much as we hate to admit it, social media is a tool which companies and influencers use to advertise products and keep us trapped in the cycle of consumerism which tells us that keeping up with trends can fulfill our happiness.
4: Spend Time With People in Person
Get into the habit of spending time with people in real life. Social media provides us with only superficial engagement and this is not beneficial for growing our relationships with others. Keep your hands off your phone during this time. This will go a long way in fostering deeper connections that satisfy you.
5: Remember Why You Exist
Remember your purpose. If we are secure in our identity in Christ we will be able to engage in social media in a way that uplifts others through the content we put out to our own audiences. The next time you press send or upload something publicly, think about it first. How is this post uplifting or empowering to others and how does it point others back to God? Colossians 3:2.
Ultimately we can enjoy pleasant moments of sharing on our social media platforms that do not rob us of the beauty and joy of the present moment when we use the tool in a healthy way.