Are you planting an intentional life or just planning one? – Lara Casey, “Cultivate”
Do you ever feel like social media scrolling sucks the life out of you? It totally does to me. Between you and me, it has ruled over me on some days. I’ll be cruising along my day by being super productive with a little pep to my step and then I stop to take a break, begin scrolling and wooosh there goes all my energy. Instead of keeping my head in my own lane, my shoulders begin to slump and the comparison parasite starts creeping in and eating away all my joy. Has that ever happened to you? It was around last October when I decided I needed to take a break from social media, and then around December when I finally had enough and wanted to make it happen. On December 15th I started a two week cleanse from all social media and here is what I learned in those two weeks:
1. Life keeps happening. Nobody missed my social media “likes” or comments. Nobody missed my status updates. Nobody texted me, or called me, or emailed me to tell me that they missed the pictures of my meals, the pictures of my kids, my spiritual posts, or my opinions on the best Netflix show ever (It’s Blacklist by-the-way). Nobody even noticed. This was actually a positive thing. It actually gave me a little freedom to realize that the most important part of my day was the time I was spending with MY people. My tribe. The people who cared about all those “status updates” in the first place were the people I am already doing life with, and those people needed my present-ness more than ever.
2. I made real connections. Instead of having my phone glued at my side, I made real connections with Steve, my kids, my family and my friends. During the times I would have been scrolling, I was talking with and listening to the people whose lives mattered to me. I was doing activities outside of sitting on the couch and I was experiencing them in a way I hadn’t in a long time.
3. I made memories, not Instagram posts. My kids and I baked cookies and went on a secret “elf mission.” Steve joined the Air Force Reserves. What?!? I went ice-skating for the first time in my life, our church had Christmas carols in our new building, and I gave the “Christmas present to beat all Christmas presents” to Steve this year (more to come on that). And guess what?! I will totally and completely remember every single one of these memories.
4. I tuned into God and not into Instagram stories. I went to the emergency room a few days before Christmas due to what I thought was a heart attack – don’t worry I am fine, but it was super scary – – yay, panic attack! (insert sarcasm). And we got in a fender bender on Christmas day and do you know what I did? I prayed and read my bible in both incidents. I prayed instead of posted, and read instead of scrolled. I have no IG stories to prove I was having crappy days, but I do have more trust in Jesus and more desire to turn to Him to help me beat this anxiety and my bad days.
5. I got more time back and smiled because of it. In fact, I smiled a lot. My last fourteen days of December I cultivated my relationships with my own family and friends. I was way more patient with my kids and I was motivated to do more things with them. I got down on the floor and played with them. I talked to people on the phone, not through text. I read more of my books, wrote more in journal and breathed more. I showed up at gatherings, not hiding behind the phone, but engaging in conversation. I asked my kids questions at stoplights instead of habitual scrolling. I moved around more and felt healthier and lighter because of it. It’s amazing how much of my precious time was going into scrolling. Limit your scrolling and you will get time back in your life. It’s amazing.
6. I slept better and woke up with a lighter heart. I used to scroll until I went to bed and scroll when I woke up. Instead I read books before bed and prayed and read when I woke up. My heart was lighter and my brain was more at peace. Aside from my initial panic attack, I have been living a lot less “stuck-in-my-head” kind of days. And well into the second week of January, I still am feeling this when I wake up. I am creating a habit to wake up feeling joyful and not heavy. I’m feeling a lot less social media withdrawal.
7. I grew in confidence and spoke with more positivity. I replaced the “I cant’s” with “He cans.” And I discovered the best way to be joyful is to be secure in the life I was created to live. What kind of life is that you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. It’s one where I live presently with the people that I am spending time with. It’s the one where I take care of myself. Where I slow down and realize “hustling” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I don’t want to hustle anymore. It’s overrated. I want to work hard, but not for my Glory. I want it to be for His. I realized that as long as I am following his will, I can’t care about what people think of me. Because my identity is not in them, it’s in Jesus. He is my ultimate authority. In the future, I want to be someone who doesn’t scroll to compare, but scrolls to encourage. I want to be someone who doesn’t scroll as a time filler, but engages and disciples as a heart filler. I believe if I do all of this, I will exude positivity in my life.
So the question is, what will I do now? Well, that is a great question and one that I asked myself at the end of those two weeks. I really pressed through and prayed about what I want social media to be for me in 2019. I DO NOT want it to be a time suck, and I DO NOT want it to bring me down. I want to go on social media to encourage people. And, I want my platform to be a place of encouragement. So I’ve committed to creating content before ever going on to scroll each day. By doing this I am protecting myself from the “I should be” bug that eats away at me. Once I post the content, I spend 5-10 minutes scrolling and encouraging people. I’ve also committed to putting the phone down from 5pm-8:00pm. There is nothing more important than showing my family that I am present. Everything can wait if it means I am spending QT with the ones that matter most. Lastly, I have committed to not checking my phone right before bed. Instead I read before bed. I plug my phone across the room or in the upstairs hallway and I lie in bed and read myself to sleep. If you aren’t doing this, DO IT NOW! It has changed my world with how I sleep and how I wake up. Waking up more joyful is the best way to start my day. Wouldn’t you agree friend?