“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12
Paul is discussing sexual immorality here, though in doing so, he has gifted us with a great principle to apply in all areas of our lives. Something doesn’t have to be sexual or taboo in order to have an unhealthy influence over us. Rather, our culture’s acceptance of frequent media use makes it all too easy to stare at our phones all day while ignoring opportunities for in-person relationships.
A great way to test your dependence on something is to give it up for a while. Ever try fasting? You quickly learn how much your life revolves around food. Other times, we may choose to fast from something and find we never really needed it at all.
Take a few minutes to consider the following:
– If you were to delete all your social media accounts tomorrow, what would you miss most? Be as specific as you can.
– Have you spent significant time away from social media in the past 6 months? If not, what might it look like for you to fast from facebook, Instagram, etc. this week?
While many of us use social media thoughtfully and responsibly, I’d venture to say that few of us find it deeply fulfilling. We each have our reasons for using it, but we are frustrated by our growing dependence on it. We know it isn’t evil – but is it beneficial?
This week, we’ll search for the balance between cutting all ties to social media (though this is an option) and allowing it to master us (which is not an option). If you care to join me, here’s what your week might look like:
Monday – Fast from social media. Turn off notifications on your phone, or delete apps you don’t need (the facebook app is a great example – you can just use your browser in the future). Pick something to do whenever you feel the nudge to see what everyone else is up to online. Pray for a friend, think about what you’ll make for dinner, or contemplate the miracle of existence. At the end of the day, take a few minutes to journal about your experience.
Tuesday – If you found yourself struggling yesterday, consider fasting a few more days to more deeply understand your dependence on social media. Use this as an opportunity to address problems you may have been ignoring, whether social anxiety or a need for validation. Be honest with yourself and what steps you can take toward freedom. It could be as simple as grabbing coffee with a friend and asking for accountability. Or it could mean deleting your facebook. Pray about it.
If you did just fine without your news feed, congrats. But if you’re like me, you may still want to set boundaries to keep yourself from investing too much time online. Check out the tips at the end of this post.
Wednesday – Set up a Skype or phone date with a faraway friend. Or ask for their address and write a letter!
Thursday – Check your community newspaper or website for events this weekend. Make a habit of this, since empty weekends can be a recipe for Netflix binge-watching and way too much time on the internet.
Friday / Saturday – Finally, consider these tips to keep social media from taking over your life:
1) Log out of your accounts on all devices and delete your password history. Pick a specific time or day of the week for checking social media intentionally, not brainlessly.
2) Change your password to something really obnoxious to type in. For every 1 time this is annoying, there will be 10 times you find something better to do.
3) Let your friends and family know you’ll be online less often so that they know to text, call, or email if they want to reach you.
4) When you are browsing facebook or twitter, start unfollowing people if their posts don’t mean much to you. Start following people or pages that post interesting articles or encouraging messages instead.
Next week, we’ll be talking about Pinterest, self worth, and what it means to be a woman – oh my! 😉