What's the first thing we do when we wake up? Scroll through social media. What's the last thing we do at night before we go to bed? Scroll through social media.
Trust me, I'm not trying to hate on social media... I use social media more often than I would like to admit. However, as a society, I feel that we use it and let it shape us way too much. Let me give you an example: when we go out to eat with a group of friends or on a date with a significant other, there's probably a 90% chance a picture will be taken and posted before we even taste a bite of the food sitting in front of us.
Or what about the "take a picture and post it to Instagram/ Snapchat/ Facebook/ Twitter/ every other media platform out there or it didn't happen" motto? Again, I'm just as guilty of this as the next person (because I truly do love pictures capturing precious memories) but is it really necessary every. single. time? And then there's the issue of comparison. We tend to scroll through other's posts comparing ourselves and wondering why we aren't as pretty as she is, or why we aren't as fit as he is, but we tend to forget that social media is only the edited highlights of people's lives, not the true, raw, details of day to day life.
It's one thing to allow social media to affect us in our social life, taking away the opportunities to just enjoy and live in the moment instead of trying to capture it in a picture or on a video to post online, but it's another thing to allow social media to affect our relationship with God.
Again, here's an example that hits a little too close to home for me: I'm not going to lie, I do not sit down and read and study the Word as much as I wish I did. But when I do, what's something that typically interrupts that personal time with God? Stopping to take a cute, aesthetic picture of my Bible and journal to post to my Instagram or Snapchat story.
Or what about tweeting a Bible verse on Sunday and getting a lot of likes and retweets and feeling good about yourself? Is that really bringing the glory to God? Or is that really about making yourself feel good and like you've checked a "Christian duty" off your weekly to-do list?
Personally, I have gone through times when I've found myself allowing social media to negatively affect the way I viewed myself and others, so I deleted the apps off my phone for a little while. And of course, I found myself with more "free time" than I was used to. The best thing I could do with this time was spending time in the presence of God worshipping Him and studying His Word. Does that mean I always did that?
Does that mean I never downloaded my social media apps again? No.
I'm just saying that a lot of the time we spend mindlessly scrolling through social media and letting it negatively affect our lives, sometimes unknowingly, can easily be replaced with spending time with our Creator and growing our relationship with Him. Why do we even care what others think of us anyway? We shouldn't let other's opinions or the number of likes on a post determine our self-worth because we are all beautifully and perfectly made by God in His image.
Just to make one last note because I know I am probably opening a can of worms by writing this article: I'm not saying social media is only negative. It can actually be used as a way to bring others to Christ and spread His Word. (And it's a great way to share posts and images to stay in touch with lots of friends and family.) I'm just speaking from the effects of the negative side and stating that we should not allow social media to affect our relationship with Christ. We need to set aside time for being in the presence of God, and often times, that time is taken up by mindlessly scrolling on social media.
So, what if when we woke up the first thing we did was open our Bible and spend quality time with God? What if the last thing we did before going to sleep was spent alone time with God praying and thanking him for everything he's given us? I challenge you, and myself, to replace some of our mindless scrolling with intentional time in the presence of God.