Have you ever taken a break from Facebook … Instagram … social media in general?
Maybe you couldn’t bear one more baby announcement. You were sick of seeing selfies of sunbathers at the beach. You lost it when you saw that last shot of someone’s six-pack abs.
Maybe you have wanted to straight up quit but you can’t. stop. scrolling. Because it’s an addictive and easy escape from your own reality, to-do list, or troubles.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with posting happy announcements, highlights, or selfies at the beach. I’ve been there. Done that.
But it’s easy to lose perspective when we’re peering into others’ lives — seeing only their highs in light of our lows.
When our own lives don’t seem to stack up to what social media screams from our screens, we begin to feel left out, less than, longing for what others have.
But the screen beckons. We keep scrolling. And then comparison and jealousy barge in, take over, threaten to tap us out.
Sometimes, it’s wise to disconnect. Take a breath. However, we could also choose an alternative option, another way to approach our social saturation.
During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke to the crowds about being salt and light.
You are the salt of the earth … You are the light of the world … let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. (Matthew 5:13-16 NLT)
I love The Message translation of this passage:
You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth … You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this … keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16 MSG)
Jesus makes it clear that we’re not here to live under cover. Instead, he calls us to stand out, spread the Good News, and share our lives.
With social media and smartphones, we can share anything, anywhere, anytime.
Here are are few stats from Sprout Social:
- Instagram has grown by 100 million new users every year since 2014, reaching 1 billion monthly active users as of June 2018.
- Facebook is still the most popular network, accounting for 79% of internet users in the U.S.
- Facebook sees 1.6 billion users daily and is estimated to garner $21.57 billion in U.S. ad revenues this year.
We’re more connected than ever before. Yet, studies have also linked heavy social media use in young adults to depression and feelings of social isolation.
It’s safe to assume the industry isn’t going anywhere any time soon. So instead of allowing social media to slap us around and suck us in for hours on end, let’s consider how we can use it strategically, for good.
Our social media accounts give us a platform. You’ve accumulated followers and friends. It doesn’t matter if you have 10 followers or 10,000.
You’re an influencer — for better or worse. There’s always someone looking up to you, watching you, just like you’re likely looking up to someone else.
I know our newsfeeds can seem like a highlight reel. A place to boast about babies, promotions, political views, vacations, home renovations, etc.
When your life doesn’t stack up to others’ status updates, it’s tempting to judge, get jealous, disengage, or deactivate. But these behaviors are a disservice to yourself and others.
Have you ever considered that the people watching you — your friends and followers — are actually missing out if you don’t show up and open up? You have life experiences, gifts, and wisdom that others need.
What if you stop sharing solely for yourself and instead consider how your content can encourage others?
Along with posting family photos and happy news, what if you also shared one of your struggles? Or how about congratulating someone else for the very thing you want but don’t yet have?
When Jesus walked the earth, he engaged the culture. He spoke truth. Served. Celebrated. Mourned. Loved. Healed social outcasts and sinners.
His mountainside sermon reminds us we are to be salty and shiny, “like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14). Why? So others will know God.
There’s a healthy way to engage. It begins by thinking differently about your platform and acknowledging its power. Being mindful and strategic about what you’re sharing. Practicing presence while resisting the urge to check your notifications every 10 minutes.
I believe we can use social media strategically to share our lives, love others, celebrate and mourn, and glorify God.
Don’t believe the lie that good things happening to others means there’s less good to go around. A “yes” for someone else (whether it’s a new baby or a new boyfriend) doesn’t mean it’s a “no” for you.
Whether we’re waiting, struggling, celebrating, or crying, let’s dare to still show up, shine our light, be generous with our lives. Online and in person.
If you need to take a break for a bit, by all means, do it. But I hope you come back and start sharing your flavor and color for the glory of God and the good of others.
We’re all waiting. Someone needs what only you can give. So share it with the world!
And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. (Colossians 3:17 NLT)
And don’t be surprised when your heart changes, your jealousy eases, and the good you’re giving comes back around to you. God’s incredible like that.
How do you feel about social media? What’s one way you can start using social media strategically to glorify God and help others? Leave a response below and let me know!