I grabbed my phone, swiped to the second page, tapped my social media box and clicked on Instagram. No new notifications and after scrolling a bit not much new there either. So I switch to my Facebook app right next to IG and opened it up. 9+ notifications- yay, that’s nice! Oh, wait… Nothing too interesting to really be notified about, just some new likes and invitations and oh, I think I’ll respond to the comment my friend left on one of my posts. So I like her comment, post my reply then re-read it and edit it because I’m not sure how it sounds- I add an emoji to help convey my emotion–I would hate for there to be any misunderstanding on what I really was meaning in my comment- and post my edited reply….
The kids start fighting from across the house and my 2 year old starts trying to throw something at my head. I want to keep looking at my feed and let the anxiety from my comment and how it’s portrayed settle so I harshly tell the baby “No. No” and yell at the kids to stop fighting. I mean can’t they see I’m busy?
I go back to my feed.
The fighting gets worse except at this point I’m on a really great informative post about parenting and how I can be better at it so I’m all in here until I hear a scream and someone starts crying. I huff and puff, put the Facebook and my phone down and come back to reality- mothering (or referring in this case–did they offer that as an elective in college? Maybe it would’ve helped me as a parent a little more? Right?).
I break up the fight but now the baby is into the cup drawer again and there are cups everywhere and he’s taken his diaper off cause he went “shoo-shoo”. Ugh. All I want to do is get back on FB and finish that article so I can know how to do this parenting thing better but these three little ones keep requiring me to give them my attention which because of my phone and social media has become so very, very divided.
The conviction that it’s time for a change resides over me but I don’t give in quite so easily. I know what the Lord is calling me to, but I resist the urge to obey… I continue to let social media take up more and more of my time and my joy with my children. It’s not so much the posting and sharing as it is the time spent scrolling, commenting, and even the things social media has brought out of my heart. Things like jealousy, criticism, judgement, loneliness, fear, anxiety and even anger to name a few.
Anyone else know what I’m talking about? Does the previous scenario sound familiar to you, too?? Do those sins that lurk around in my heart take up space in yours as well?
After starting Breathe by Pricilla Shirer with a group of ladies this summer, the conviction grew.
This study was all about Sabbath rest and making room for it. In fact, the Hebrew word for Sabbath is “Shabbat” and means to cease, to stop, to pause, to come to an end. Pricilla questions us from the get-go: “What are we overdoing in our lives? Is there anything we can’t stop? Anything we can’t say no to? What do we need less of?” She says, “Once something is allowed to creep past it’s appropriate place in your life- once you’re unable to say “no” to it- it has become an illegitimate god (an idol)“. GULP.
She encourages us that we gain something when we give up something and that although it takes discipline to decline, freedom lies on the other side of our obedience. She reminds us through Biblical text that on the 7th day, God created rest and we would be incomplete without it. It’s a gift to be celebrated, cherished and respected. I love what my Bible study teacher Leith had to say about it: “Rest is where peace is found.” So beautiful and true.
I knew the conviction on my heart was an invitation to change. To let God mold me. To be a better, more present mother. To give up something to gain something. I knew I needed to “Shabbat” from the social and I confessed to my group what I felt the Lord calling me to do- take the month of July off.
It was out there so I had to do it now. I told my husband and he so encouragingly told me I couldn’t do it- ha! I proved him wrong because I did it! It’s August and I still haven’t opened the floodgates. Mainly because I need to make sure my heart is in the right spot and the social is in the right spot on my priority list.
Looking back, this “fast from my feed” went by really quickly. The first few days I did find myself out of boredom and probably mostly habit just going to tap on the apps but they weren’t there. My hobby had become a habit- an idol that was taking up too much space in my life- I was glad the Lord had called me to a break.
On a side note….isn’t it interesting it’s called a “feed”? I’ve never really thought about it until now but it sounds a lot like food and like something we nibble on…which we do, I guess? Consuming highlights of others lives, binging on the latest stories of both good and bad, uninspiring and inspiring, seeking fulfillment in a place that will never fully satisfy…and I guess just like we must have self control with food, we need it with anything else we are “feeding” on, right?
The following are a few things I learned from my sabbath from the social:
- I was often seeking approval and affirmations from the social instead of seeking the Lord for this in my insecurities and weaknesses. I am already super known and super loved by God. If I know this deep down in the depths of my heart and soul, I will long for nothing else but Him and His approval.
- There is certainly a place for the social- it’s an amazing gift of technology and freedom and a tool for so many things BUT, it like anything, can become a sin/idol. It, like most things, boils down to the heart and priorities.
- I’m so guilty of over-posting and over-sharing at times but checking my motives before I post can help me moderate things better.
- If I’m always on the social or my phone, it leaves little room for personal space with the Lord and my family.
- The sin may not be in earthly terms that great but the ignoring of the conviction or condition of my heart can along all facets be.
- My phone- the distraction it brings and how tethered I can be to it makes me more prone to sin- to be testy with those closest to me, judgmental, critical, jealous and even competitive of those I call “friends”.
- Social Media can be a breeding ground for love, hope, laughter and life but it can also be a breeding ground for everything the opposite. My heart must be guarded before I social. Before I check in I need to check my heart. Am I tired, lonely? Feeling like a bad mom? Maybe social isn’t the best place to go. It could easily enhance those feelings of loneliness and failure.
- There is freedom in the fast. Sometimes it’s found right away, other times it’s not until after the completion of the fast that the freedom comes.
- In this fast, I gained freedom from the rope tied to the social. It’s a freedom I can’t explain in words, but it’s known in my heart. I gained precious moments with my family. I read more, prayed more and spent more time with the Lord.
- There are seasons in life. Different seasons require/call for different things. Different seasons bring varying freedoms and convictions. We must learn to flow with the seasons God has us go through (hard for me!).
So. What now? Honestly, I’m a little nervous about hoping back on and scrolling through the feed. Will it turn into a monster again? Especially when I really would like to publish my “meet Me in the mornings” Facebook page that’s been sitting there for, ummm, years.
I guess all I can do is stay in tune with the Lord to hear Him and let Him guide me on the social, which if I’m listening, I know He will.
A Prayer for the Social
Heavenly Father. You are so good, kind, loving and patient with your children. Thank You. God, guide us as we live in this day and age of technology. Help us to act on any calling or conviction you’ve placed on our hearts and trust You for deliverance. You will provide, Your Word is true. Help us to stand firm and represent You well as followers of Christ. Help us to only be enslaved to You, to feed only on your Word more than we feed on the social. We all want to be liked and known, forgive us for trying to get that from others when it’s already there! We are not just liked by you but deeply LOVED and so very KNOWN by You. Help us to hold fast to these truths! Create in us pure hearts, bring out any stuff lurking in the dark so we can remove it with your Spirit. Help us to rest. To Shabbat. To be present. Give us wisdom and strength to get, have and keep our priorities right and in line with you, committed to You, and laid at Your feet. May we bring glory to You in all that we do. In Jesus’ mighty, saving name, AMEN.