If you ask my friends they will tell you that I live on Instagram! I love following my friends across the globe and I am fascinated by what people deem appropriate to share. I love being shocked by some celebrity choices and getting the juice on scandals from @theshaderoom! Y'all, Instagram definitely changed the game on us. So when the new year rolled around, I realized that looking back at last year, I had spent more time on Instagram than I had reading. This was a sad truth for me especially since I’m a self proclaimed lover of a cultivated mind! So I decided that it was time for a detox. A cleanse of sorts where I stepped away from Instagram for the whole month of February. Actually, I completely deleted all my social media apps! I got rid of Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Facebook Messenger and Twitter.
This was tougher than I thought it would be! During the first couple of days, all I could think about was what was going on in other people’s lives, which led me to my first sad truth: I was more interested in people on social media than in ‘real life’. I’m a huge proponent of cleaning up your social media by unfollowing people that you no longer have connections with. But I found myself guilty. It was like holding up a mirror and realizing that I hadn’t actually had a conversation with many friends in months beyond liking a photograph on Instagram! So I set out to have more brunch dates, more phone conversations, more emails and sent more Whatapps than I had in a very long time. This reconnected me with so many friends and reminded me about the value of in-person communication - something we take for granted with the advent of social media.
As the days went by, I got back to my Kindle. I am one of those people who loves to ask people what they are currently reading and if it is something I am interested in, I either borrow it from the Kindle lending library or buy it. So as I looked at my library I was slightly overwhelmed to be honest. I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of purchased and borrowed books that I had not even touched, which is why I decided that I was going to set a goal of 30 books read before the end of the year. I read more in February than I did in the last six months! In my opinion, there is nothing more attractive than a well read man and for me to not hold myself to the same standard was hypocritical. I have vowed to myself that this is something that I will never fall back on.
Finally, I got back to focusing on the most important relationship that I have: one with Jesus. I cannot tell you how much time I spent on social media and how little time (and honestly a difficult time) I spent reading the Bible or listening to preaching. This was probably the most eye-opening result of the social media break. I felt as though I wanted a relationship where there was no communication. I expected more blessings and grace, when I didn’t bother to spend time with God - my conversations with Him were less than frequent. We all know that relationships don’t work that way. So during the month of February, I got back to reading the Bible. I picked out 21 and 40 day Bible reading plans and got to focused communication with God. The change is tremendous. I am able to be more patient, more giving, more understanding to myself and to those around me.
Social media is a tool. I think that many times we let this tool overrun our lives and fall prey to ignoring the negative effects that it has on who we are becoming as people. I choose to no longer live this way. Social media no longer runs me.
Have you ever taken a break from social media? What did you learn about yourself? Never taken a break? Share with us your thoughts!
Three women going through life.