Social Media & the Believer Day 5: When to Unplug
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9, ESV)
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. (1 John 2:15-16, ESV)
As technology advances and time passes, social media only gets more and more addictive. An entire virtual world full of entertainment is at our fingertips for us to access whenever we want. We have all become addicted to our phones and to scrolling through social platforms because, well, it’s easy and it can be really fun. While social media is still something we can enjoy, there are times when it is necessary for us to unplug and take a hiatus.
Every Sunday on my way to church in the morning I get a notification on my phone that I dread seeing: my weekly screen time. Nothing like the Lord giving you a good head slap every week, right? I cringe at the sight of the average daily hours I spent staring at my phone screen. I like to use my job as a marketing manager as an excuse, but the truth is that even without my job I’d be glued to my phone. While I can’t truly unplug because of my job, I definitely need a social media break. When our time is consumed with endless scrolling, it’s time to step away. Even more so, when social media is interfering with our time with the Lord, we need to disengage.
One of the greatest criticisms of my generation and the one after it is that we live our lives connected to our phones. While I think that may be a bit of an overstatement, it’s not entirely inaccurate. How many times have you been sitting with a group of friends and realized that you all just spent the last 30 minutes staring at your phones? It seems ridiculous when you think about it. A real-life social network is sitting right in front of us, but we all choose to escape into a different one on our phones. What are we missing out on when we choose our phones over our presence? We aren’t getting the real connection with human beings that we need to function. Even I, an extreme introvert, need that real human connection. As much as I may feel more comfortable hiding behind a screen, nothing is better for the soul than sitting face to face with a friend and talking about life. When social media is taking away from time spent in the present, it’s time to take a break.
While social media can be a time suck, it can also be a push into more dangerous things. As we discussed previously, there is a lot of spiritually and mentally damaging content on social media. Highly addictive and inappropriate content is everywhere and you don’t have to go far to see it. This can lead to temptation, which pulls us further away from the Lord and damages our relationship with Him. If you find yourself being pulled further into temptation to sin, that is a major red flag indicating that you need a clean break from social media. It’s time for a major reset that the Lord alone can help you with.
My challenge to you today is to identify your needs. What has social media affected in your life, and what can you do right now to remedy that situation? If you are struggling with time usage, maybe set time limits on your phone or even pick certain times of the day when you unplug. If it is taking away from your time with others, maybe you need to set a standard with your friends to all stay away from your phones when spending time together. If it is leading you into temptation, maybe you need to completely disconnect until you can get your heart right with the Lord. Whatever your needs are, identify them and create an action plan that works for you. After all, social media is not bad, but it can be if we don’t establish healthy boundaries.