What I Learned Offline

I recently took five weeks to step away from social media. The primary reason was that I wanted to focus on my work, yet I ended up gaining much more than productive days. My social media break taught me several important lessons that I hope to continue applying even when I’m back online.

Social media is a reflex, not a need. During the first week of my hiatus, I found myself going to check websites and apps without even thinking about it. I caught myself each time, but it was interesting how I didn’t need or consciously want to check for updates every five minutes. It was something my body had been programmed to do, and it had become an unhealthy habit.

I’m often more content without social media. Online, I’m constantly bombarded with what everyone else is doing that I’m not, or what everyone else has that I don’t. It’s also easy to fall into what I call the “glamorous life trap.” Rather than appreciating what we have in its natural state, we spice it up to impress our online following, giving our own self-esteem a temporary boost. Social media can only satisfy our desires to a certain point, and even that point is short-lived.

Life is worth living off-screen. I know a lot of people say that these days, but it’s true. We miss so much when we’re distracted.

Listen to the music. Watch your friend’s smile. Write a letter. Soak in the sun. Smell the flowers. Enjoy the hug.

God gave us this world and He breathes life into us every day. Are we going to wholly appreciate that, or diminish the beauty of life by worrying about impressions?

Jesus died so we could live. By grace we have been saved. We’re not called to be perfect humans , but we are called to be Jesus-followers. Jesus-followers are called to love others, and it’s really hard to love others when we’re constantly thinking about our social media.

The five weeks offline did not make me perfect. They weren’t meant to. I returned and fell back into many of the old traps. But the hiatus gave me an up-close-and-personal glimpse into my misguided heart, and I realized there was a lot of work to be done.

Am I against social media? No. Social media is awesome. But I am concerned with how we obsess over it and live for it. It becomes our god. Is that what we really want?

Onward, Christian soldiers,
marching as to war,
looking unto Jesus
who has gone before.

 

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