Unplug and reset. That’s what I desired to do this past week. Social media is one of my favorite ways to waste time. I could sit on the couch for hours and scroll through Instagram to see what my friends, or favorite bloggers have been up to lately. “Well, I don’t really have anything better to be doing at the moment…” was always my excuse for wasting too much time with my phone in front of my face. I knew I was addicted. I’d tell myself to set my phone down, and five minutes later I’d have another reason to be back on it. I didn’t have the will power to give it up (sounds really pathetic, I know).
I began thinking about my relationship with Jesus, and things I’d recently been praying about. More often than not, they happened to only be wishes and thoughts in my head instead of issues or situations I’d take time to pray about. Have you prayed about it as much as you’ve talked about it? Distractions from social media kept me from prioritizing my prayer life. I felt the Lord asking me over and over again, “Am I enough for you, Natalie?” I would love to say my answer a week ago was, “Absolutely” but if it truly was, then why did I constantly feel the need to be satisfied by social media—feeling like I was missing out if wasn’t checking it. I found myself mindlessly scrolling and scrolling, feeling more and more inadequate the longer I’d scroll. We all get caught in this trap some days, don’t we? Feeling less worthy about ourselves when we see the highlights of everyone else’s ‘perfect’ lives. I decided if I couldn’t celebrate and be happy about the accomplishments and posts of my friends rather than feeling envious, then I needed to take a break and reflect. Not only that, but I felt like it was taking over my life.
So, I gave up all my social media apps for a week and dedicated that time to focus more on my prayer life. Maybe if I removed my biggest distractions from my life, I’d be able to dig a little deeper. I wanted to be more invested in my quiet time and really focus on my relationship with Jesus. I’d also highly recommend this if you’re trying to make a big decision or really seeking God’s provision about something–remove your distractions first.
It was really hard, don’t let me fool you. Day one, and I thought I was going to give up. I couldn’t do it. But I wanted to so badly, so I persisted. Every habit is hard to break, right? I moved all my social apps to a page on their own that I couldn’t see, and turned off my notifications so I wouldn’t be tempted to check (I could have deleted them all, but I have a hard time remembering passwords, so this was easier).
Here’s what I learned…
- You will survive–and maybe even thrive.
You guys, this last week was SO REFRESHING! I can’t even quite describe it, but it was so freeing to take a break from Facebook and Instagram (my biggest culprits). My phone became much less of a distraction without social media at my fingertips. I pretty much only used it to text and play music. It’s not quite as necessary to have attached to my body when I don’t need it as often. Imagine that, Natalie. Believe it or not, I forgot about social media altogether some days, and didn’t even realize I was missing it. PS if you’re worried, your friends will still be your friends even if you don’t snapchat them every single day.
- My quiet time didn’t feel rushed
Most days prior to giving up social media, I’d try and do my quiet time in the morning before checking my phone. However, the anticipation of my Snapchat notifications and what my favorite bloggers had posted for the day often flooded into my thoughts and interrupted my time with Jesus. I’d quickly finish so I could check my phone (#addicted). This last week was SO much better. I didn’t feel rushed to finish reading and even explored new stories in the Bible that I’ve not read before. Jesus revealed some pretty cool things this week, my prayers felt more genuine and focused, and I truly felt more ‘freed’ if that makes any sense. If not, maybe just try it for yourself and you’ll see! I even had enough free time, I got a few workouts in! 😉
- I was more easily invested in conversations and social situations.
Our generation evolves around social media it often seems. Like, we can’t really have fun if we don’t post about it and let everyone know how much fun were having, right? We get caught in the lie that every fun thing we do has to be documented and ‘liked’ by other people. We seek approval from people we may not even know, and chase a number of ‘likes’ rather than spending time investing in people around us. It’s amazing what happens in public, at work, or even hanging out with friends when we’re not stuck with our noses in our phones. I had some pretty great conversations last week, and felt like I could be a much better listener when I wasn’t multitasking by scrolling through my phone as I often do. It’s also amazing how much more I could accomplish and how less anxious I felt when I knew I didn’t need to check my phone every five minutes.
Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy social media, following my favorite bloggers on Instagram, and keeping up with my close friends; so I will likely be back this week (obvi, I’m posting this), but with new intentions and a refreshed spirit. I want to use social media as a creative outlet to encourage my friends and followers. I’m challenging myself not to get caught in the comparison trap, but instead remember where my worth is found. So, I’m going to attempt to limit my time on social media, and may continue taking breaks when I get stuck in a rut or feel distracted from my faith.
I’m not telling you this because I think I’m a better person for doing so, or because Jesus answered all my prayers last week. I’m telling you about this because maybe you’re as addicted to your phone as I was. Maybe you’re as distracted from your prayer life as I was. Let me just encourage you to remember there are better things in life than social media. You may not realize it until you get your mind off of it. I’m not saying you have to give it up completely, but try spending a little less time on your phone this week. Try limiting yourself to scrolling through your apps maybe once in the morning and once at night. You might be amazed the difference it will make, the conversations you’ll be free to be a part of, or the ways God will show up in your life when you’re not quite so distracted.