Why I Might Need to Say Goodbye to Social Media

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Guys, can we talk about something?

If you’ve read here for any length of time, it’s not a secret that I struggle with anxiety. I am a highly sensitive person, an empath. I care for each one of my friends and everything they go through—whether they are real life friends or my friends in the computer.

We all have the capacity to carry only so many burdens before the Lord on a given day. A few close friends, a few big concerns, a husband and a family—that right there is a full plate of prayer. Add the complaints, the political rants, the heartaches, and the crises of everyone on a Facebook friend list? Guys. That's a lot of burdens.

Whenever I post on social media, I compulsively check who’s read it, who’s responded to it, who’s liked it. Sometimes I find myself checking my accounts every minute after I post. I want to know that I haven’t offended anyone. I want to know that it was understood--that it was liked. I don’t know how to turn that off. It’s like my people-pleaser tendencies have been exacerbated by the social media system of likes and comments and stats.

I’ve been on my phone way too much. I’ve gotten so used to keeping my mind occupied that any spare moment in my day I am pulling out my phone and running through my accounts. I’ve forgotten how to be quiet.

Guys, honest. I think I’m sick.

 

Last week, all this social media angst came to a point. Our family had just gotten back from vacation. Mike had a heavy case load—lots of domestic violence calls and someone on his team had one of those cases—pure evil involving a child victim—the kind of case that burdens you and haunts you.

Last week, I also started back up with homeschool. I was knee-deep in child-rearing and educating and, while it was a good week, it was exhausting. I was frazzled and spent by the end of my days.

Between all that exhaustion, Mike and I had a fight. We each wondered why the other couldn’t help out more.

Mike emailed our pastor in confidence. He forgot that our phones are synced, and so if I check all my email boxes at once as I often do, Mike’s emails are mixed in there too. Honest-to-goodness, I didn’t realize whose email that was when I started reading it.

Meant for confidence or not, once you see something, you can’t unsee it.

Mike was voicing his concern over the toll social media was playing on me and how much he sees me on my phone. He talked about how talented he thinks I am at writing and believes in my potential (bless him), but how maybe I wouldn’t be so spent if I didn’t spend time or energy on social media and in so many other peoples’ concerns and lives. How we have so many friends’ whose marriages are in crisis right now, and he didn’t want to see us there too. He didn't want to ask me to stop writing, but surely we couldn't keep this up?

{Insert all the emotions from that heaping portion of conviction with a small side of embarrassment.}

Maybe I wasn’t meant to read that email, but it surely has led to some really good talks, some hard decisions, and a whole lot of prayer.

It’s not that I don’t see the positives of social media. It’s that the negatives have been really hard for me to navigate. I don’t know where to go from here. I’m scared if I’m honest. Can I even be a writer if I’m not on social media?

I am more scared of what happens if I don’t make the hard decisions.

When I think of my kids growing up and looking back on their mom and their childhood, God help me if what they remember is their mom always on her phone. Maybe I think it’s only in the pauses, but all those pauses add up to hours—really, those pauses add up to my life, my choices, and my actions showing my kids what matters.

Homeschooling takes an enormous amount of energy. If I am saying yes to homeschool then I have to say no somewhere else. Because I have been spending energy on social media too, when my husband gets home at the end of the day, he’s gets my no. I don’t want to give it. I just don’t have anything left. Cops carry such heavy burdens. He needs me to have space left to share his burdens. He needs my yes—and besides that, I gave my yes on our wedding day. And it’s not the kind of yes that you say one time, it’s a commitment you make to say yes every single day.

I felt like I needed to share this with you all. This isn’t me saying social media is evil and everyone’s marriages are going to fall apart because of it. This is me sharing how I’ve been struggling. How the enemy has been using social media against me and my marriage. And the hard stand I need to take against it. (Also. I probably need accountability.)

If you see nothing else here, see this: I might struggle. You might too. Our struggles might be the same. Our struggles might be different. Either way, we overcome by being willing to lay everything on the altar. We overcome--we conquer--when we live like Christ is the strength of our life and the most important thing. Because He is.

If this pricks at your heart too, pray about it. Maybe there’s value in social media. Maybe you can let your light shine there. But I can tell you it isn’t meant to go before God, your marriage, your family, or your real-life community.

You only get one life, and you get to choose how you spend your time. Spend it well.

What all this means for me:

  1. I’ve taken everything off my phone except for phone and text (and facebook messenger—it’s how I keep in touch with my sister who has wi-fi but no cell service where she lives. Honestly, I don’t care for messenger so it’s not where I struggle.)
  2. I will be completely off all social media and the blog for a full month. I need to detox. After 30 days, I will prayerfully draw boundaries. I only know it can't look the same. Maybe I will have set business hours… maybe I will stay off for a longer season… maybe I will never come back? I’m really not sure.
  3. In praying about it, I’m not going to stop writing. Writing isn’t the problem, and I’ve been able to consistently do it out of the overflow of my life and within boundaries. It fills my soul—the few hours a month I might get to leave home and sit in nature or at a Panera and write. I could take up regular journaling, but there is something valuable for me in preparing something for publication—it is how I wrestle, and it is where God meets me. But at least for the time being I am going to refrain from sharing what I write here so I can take the time to pray about blogging and writing and where the boundaries need to be drawn in between the writing and the social media. (I will still be keeping my other writing commitments since I am not in charge of the sharing.)
  4. I have taken email off my phone too, but I will still be checking my emails. If you have a question, comment, concern--please email me. (you can use the contact page on my blog). It would so bless me if you felt compelled to check in on me. (I still need friends and sisters in Christ. I just need it where there's less noise. This makes sense, right?)

While part of me is worried I am committing occupational suicide, another part of me is curious to see what the Lord would do with this hard obedience. Not that I have a set expectation, it’s just that I believe in (and have seen) God’s faithfulness and His resurrection power. What we lay down, He raises up—multiplied, bearing fruit.

And even I never see the fruit multiplied? He is still good. He is the prize. He is the reason.

 

May I always live like it.

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I’m curious. What is your relationship with social media like? What boundaries do you have in place?

 

By Grace,

Amanda Conquers