My tiny addiction to social media was getting out of control. I endlessly scrolled through silly memes, photos and updates on the regular, and my brain lit up like a Christmas tree from all the endorphins flying through it. I really really loved it.
Until I didn’t.
Most days, after I turned off my phone, I was super depressed. Everyone else’s life looked awesome, and mine looked … not awesome.
I got jealous of my friends and their amazing vacations as I vicariously lived through their 3000 pictures. I also wondered how they had zillions of followers and friends, and I had like, 6 1/2. Probably because they took amazing vacations. I suffered from major FOMO*. Sometimes I’d wander into the kitchen to feed my feelings with Reese Puffs drenched in heavy whipping cream. Go away pain, go away.
Super immature, I know. But it was a thing, and I need to do something. I couldn’t afford cream and cereal anymore. And my pants were too tight.
So I stepped out of my online world to realign my inner one.
I needed a detox. To spend some time doing life in real time face to face with people I loved. And to spend more time with God. Even as I deleted the apps from my phone, I feared I’d relapse by dinner.
Imagine my surprise when several days went by without scrolling. Sure, I still mentally processed life in status updates and images, and every time I sat down, I mindlessly reached for my phone.
But instead, I’d read books and do more Bible study. I’d process and pray. When I was waiting in line somewhere, I’d observe life around me as I awkwardly stood there staring at people, doing nothing, like a weirdo. Luckily no one noticed. They were all scrolling.
Confession: I really really loved it. I felt so free from the ridiculous comparison trap I’d fallen into, and the obsession for seeing just one more post. My FOMO lessened. I was deepening my relationship with Christ.
When I saw my friends, I could actually ask, “how are you?” and they had something new to tell me that I didn’t already know from social media.
I loved it so much, I figured I’d never go back online.
Not only that, but God was teaching me things and affirming calls on my life I knew He had given me but I'd been too scared to step into. I was hearing Him more clearly as I shut out all the online noise and zeroed in on His voice. His truth. He was replacing my fears with His courage and empowering me to move into new territory as He leveled up my faith.
I was fueling up my self-esteem with God’s truths about me, and I was eating less cereal. Just kidding, I still eat cereal. And my pants are still too tight. One thing at a time, here. Point is, I wasn’t feeling so bad about myself anymore, and I was spending more time doing things to improve my life instead of waste it.
But after after a couple of months, I knew it was time to re-enter online society.
No more hiding out for fear of criticism on my blog posts or internet trolls. No more negative thoughts about not being good enough, smart enough, strong enough, educated enough. God had given me gifts to share, and He was asking me to trust Him.
God called us to be in the world, and yes not of it, but by hiding away from the online world and choosing not to engage meant I was missing opportunities to share His love and grace with my online community.
The world needs strong female voices of truth, and I can’t shrink back anymore because I’m afraid. I need to stand firm and lean into what God has for me, taking my cues from Him and not from the negative voices around me. In order to do that, I need to stay deep in His Word, constantly in prayer, and walk in community with my sisters in Christ. In other words, I need to stay completely dependent on God as I lead in love and not get pushed by fear.
Of course, my online practices look different now. No more endless scrolling. I set a timer for 10 minutes and have at it. If I get a twinge of anxiety and jealousy, I shut it down.
When I am online, I want to intentionally build relationships and teach truths I’m learning about God.
Starting April 22, I will lead an Online Women’s Bible Study right here on the blog. We will be studying the book of Hebrews together. Each week, I will post a devotional teaching, Scripture to read and questions to respond to and discuss together.
If you are interested, please sign up to receive my blog updates and leave a comment that you are interested in joining our study!
*Fear of Missing Out