what I learned from 10 months off social media

Posted in lifestyle

This post is where it all started. 2017, the year of no internet posting.

Then I added blogging back.

Why am I cutting the year a month short?

I confess it isn’t because I’m dying without Instagram. It’s not even that I miss knowing things about people or when something big happens.

The real truth is that I am a communicator bursting with desire and passion and love for Jesus, and I want to declare Him everywhere.

Cultural has deemed social media a place to be evaluated, affirmed, critiqued. Sin makes it a battlefield of comparison, pride, and me-centered opinions against freedom, humility, and wisdom.

The super rad thing is that as Christians, we have a beautiful, heart-changing Truth to battle with, to shed Light where it seems hopelessly dark.

 

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What have I learned?

  • You can live happily without social media. That’s right, I said it, haha. It is not a prerequisite for a full or satisfying life. Jesus is. Relationships are.
  • It’s okay not to know every detail of everyone in your circles. Beware of the false connection social media creates. I was amazed at how much I didn’t need or want to know, because those people maybe weren’t that close to me. I lived under pressure of keeping up with so many, and became maxed out. The people in front of me, I began to know deeply. My heart and mind had the capacity to fill.
  • I don’t need the affirmation or approval or permission of anyone besides God. This used to be one of those Christian coffee cup sentiments for me, but the reality of its Truth has become the backbone to my former people-pleasing tendencies. Letting God define who I am (and believing Him), hold me up, defend me, consume my heart… this is freedom from an approval-seeking life.
  • Instagram activity or popularity does not equal happiness or life fulfillment. It’s like the idea that reading a bunch of Christian books doesn’t make you spiritually mature. What grows your faith is utter dependence on God to be your everything, obeying His ways for life, and abiding in Jesus. This is where abundant life is found. Presence. Stillness. Intentionality. Luke 10:27.

 

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God is magnificent; he can never be praised enough. There are no boundaries to his greatness. Generation after generation stands in awe of your work; each one tells stories of your mighty acts. Your beauty and splendor have everyone talking; I compose songs on your wonders. Your marvelous doings are headline news; I could write a book full of the details of your greatness. Psalm 145:3-6 MSG

 

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This year, the holy ground upon which I wrestled with self, lifelong habits, and doubt was far from screens.

God knew I needed to be more ‘alone.’ More quiet, more empty, so He alone could fill the gaps in my heart and life — some I realized, others I didn’t know existed.

God met me in a huge way this year, a life-transforming way, and I don’t think it could have happened as profoundly without me putting down the pressure and habit of time spent online.

I needed space to process, to wrestle, to reflect. I needed space mentally and emotionally to take in all God had on the table for me. I received. In a way I’ve never received before. Grace upon grace. 

It’s so easy to load life onto your shoulders and be more motivated by low-grade anxiety than by divine awe. Paul David Tripp

It was difficult, heart-breaking at times, His chiseling and working (and reworking). His Spirit corrected feelings, replacing lies with Truth, countless times. Some parts were dark, but all of it was [and is] glorious.

 

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It can be incredibly tempting to create [sometimes unbiblical, and slightly Pharisaical] rules within our faith.

If it causes you to stumble, you think it causes everyone to stumble. If it’s an unhealthy habit for you, you think it has to be an unhealthy habit for other people. If it’s an idol in your life, it must be an idol in someone else’s life also, and they should work on it. Doesn’t it read a little silly? But can’t you imagine scenarios, even people, in your life like this?

Other humans are not our standard, Jesus is. God’s Word is our wise, perfect, constant beam to enjoy and follow, shedding light on the paths we walk.

Not sharing or scrolling for this length of time freed me in ways I didn’t know I was bound.

Rising from the ashes of a girl who lived every moment micro-managing her image (to the world and to God), caught in a pit of pleasing and pressure to keep everything good, is a lighter-hearted, in awe of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, people person with a desire to impart grace to any and all hearers [and see-ers].

He knows what we need and He knows how we need it. Hallelujah. He is changing the framework of my thinking, directing me to a new purpose for social media activity and enjoyment.

I hope we all seek to be conscious of our habits, and ask questions: Is this still helpful and beneficial for me? Am I still honoring God with this? Is He still first in my life while I enjoy this particular thing or hobby?

 

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I asked Him how He wants me to go about spending time online.

Three verses and a solid heart-check came to mind…

Psalm 146:1 — “Let all that I am praise the Lord.” Every aspect, every endevour, may it aim to give God glory.

A part of Isaiah 50:4 — “That I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary.”

Ephesians 4:29 — “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Holy Spirit continually check my heart on this — My private, personal, genuine life in Christ and with others should always be the basis for any kind of online activity.

It is being impressed upon me deeply that activity on a social media platform is utterly pointless if we as followers of Jesus miss God, sharing His Gospel, or the humanity in front of us. Amen?

 

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Only so long as my online activity is an overflow of my treasuring Jesus with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and loving my face-to-face neighbor as myself will it continue.

So, here we go. Starting fresh. Creativity, books, photos, stories, fun, inspiration that is social media. Asking God for grace that I may be one to give grace.

1 Comment

  • Pam Cooksey

    Beautiful, Chelsea. And very encouraging. I love the scripture in Isiah. You have definitely given me encouragement when I have been weary. Thank you for your prayers and friendship!

    10/22/2017 at 12:35 am Reply
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