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social media

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.

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2017, the year of no internet posting

Posted in faith, lifestyle

I’ve devoted more time and energy to screens instead of faces for a long time. By God’s grace I have always held it in good balance. I haven’t idolized social media as a way for validation or affirmation. I know who I am in Christ.

But, in a social-media age, it’s even easier for us to be disconnected or disengaged people. People can follow us or friend us without really knowing us. Relationship connections are easy, but if we aren’t careful they can become quite shallow. We now can build a platform or become an influence in others lives just by amassing Twitter and Instagram followers.

I certainly don’t view social media or any form of technology as inherently bad, of course. They can be creative outlets and fun interaction, and they can certainly be used to glorify God, but in this current season, I cannot underestimate the great value of a faithful life lived on the ground and in the ordinary.

This year, 2017, I want to love and know Him more — more completely, more fully. I want to be present for the people around me; to love and listen to and be in the trenches with them better. I want to dig deep into His purpose for me since He knit me together: to radiate and present His glory to the world and to enjoy Him forever.

This is currently a good decision for me, this is not meant to lay on guilt or conviction, that’s not my job. We each have our decisions to make and lives to live.

For me personally to get what my heart longs for, it means a change in where I invest my time, specifically time on the internet, specifically time prioritizing the creation of encouraging, creative, appealing, and helpful online accounts.

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Trying To Simplify My Life And Focus On Less Media

Posted in lifestyle

Trying to simplify my life and focus on less screen time.

Every social media outlet can be a source of life or death, it’s how you balance it, what you make it. I am a sharer, writer, creator, celebrating the small and big of life — that will always be me — so I enjoy social media outlets. Blogging and Instagram inspire me to be creative, thoughtful, to see the beauty or lesson in any circumstance.

They encourage me to make art out of the mundane (if you follow me on Instagram, you see this in my photos of coffee or a plant), to enjoy the little moments. They challenge me to be light in a dark work, to share authentic life for those that are hurting or discouraged.

I’ve met a lot of great people online, via social media, from all over. Women I would never know otherwise, which is pretty rad.

Social media can be shallow if you let it be shallow. It can be a cause for envy or comparison, if you aren’t content with who you are, if you aren’t finding your identity in Jesus alone. It can define your worth if you let it, sending you up and down like a roller coaster. It can be a distraction, if you aren’t thoughtfully paying attention to where you give your time.

But, if you put it in its proper place, let it be what it was simply created to be, a small snapshot of your real life, it has the potential to add something sweet and fun to the already real moments you have.

All of that to say, as I’ve said multiple times on this blog, I go through seasons of blog and media activity. Sometimes I’m super activity on all platforms, and I’m digging it. Other times, like right now, my life feels spread a little too thin all over the internet.

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Please Don’t Belittle Someone For Their Social Media Use

Posted in lifestyle

I don’t usually share posts like this, but it’s been on my mind for awhile, so I’m taking a leap of faith.

I have been all over the social media map in the last five years. Seasons I was bored with it, seasons I deleted the apps from my phone, and seasons I greatly enjoyed it, posting a photo or tweets daily. My personal activity on social media platforms ebbs and flows. I also write and keep up this blog, sharing posts occasionally via Instagram or Twitter. If you’ve been reading this blog long, you may have seen other posts I’ve written about social media, but if not here and here and here. If not, a snapshot would be: I used to wrestle. I wrestled with making sure my motives are not mega-flesh, I wrestled with worry over the amount of stimulus or lack of silence, I wrestled with people criticizing/judging me for what I share (I know. Shaking head.)

Let me share with you my truest, honest, plain and simple personal vision for social media:

  • I like the idea of sharing quotes I read in books, or funny anecdotes, helpful articles I read, or verses I find super uplifting for my soul. Hello, Twitter.
  • I am passionate about photography; capturing simple, silly, beautiful, candid moments. I like the creativity called for in the light or attitude or sweetness of a moment, and later editing it (or not editing it!). Hi, Instagram.
  • I enjoy storytelling. And I am inspired by seeing what other people are learning, visiting, loving, etc.

These are the reasons I am active on social media platforms. And not that I need to defend myself, I may post a lot, but I’m hardly constantly scrolling. Recently, I’ve realized a sort of social media shaming going on, and some I understand (for example, Relevant’s “Not Everything Is Meant To Be Shared“). Even a couple conversations around me have held statements like, “I’m amazed at all the photos on social media of so-and-so, how vain,” or “I’ve got better things to do with my time than post about my life.”

Don’t get me wrong, I can certainly understand why someone would wish to quit any social media activity. It can be seemingly a waste of valuable time, or cause anxiety, or comparison. It can become like an animal that eats up all of your free time. If someone finds it harmful to their life or discouraging, it makes sense for them to take a hiatus. Vanity or pride may rear its head, so I get it. But I think it’s what you make it/allow it to be.

Because the same elements of social media that allow for negative results also allow for fun, positive possibilities.

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A New Vision For Instagram

Posted in lifestyle

I think I’m going dark on all platforms except Instagram. Photography is something I am genuinely passionate about. I love capturing candid interactions; I love documenting moments. I also deeply enjoy reading, learning, sharing, expressing myself, and encouraging other people. I like meeting other women who love Jesus and life. And Instagram has the potential to be a means for all of these things!

There are many opinions about social media floating around today.

“You idolize it. Only using it for your own self-validation.”

“It discourages you because you are constantly comparing yourself to others.”

“Do you only stare at your phone? You document every single moment. Get off, go outside.”

“You are finding far too much worth in how many followers you have or likes you get. It’s dangerous to your relationship with Jesus and others.”

There are plenty more stances on social media but these are ones I hear about most often. And the ones I have probably related to at one point or another.

I used to wrestle with my activity on social media platforms. I am at my core a creative, passionate, expressive, people-loving person. Social media is a fun means for this type of person! Right? Doesn’t that make sense? But I wrestled because I never wanted it to become an idol. I never wanted to give someone the impression that I needed the world’s validation to feel good or confident.

I was paralyzed in a sense. Paralyzed by all the rants against social media in the Christian world. It’s like I wrestled with posting because I didn’t want people assuming that I had fallen into the pit of: “I’m posting this photo because I want people to like it, I want people to compliment me, I want people to know that I love Jesus, or that I work out, or eat healthy, etc etc.” Even though I knew deep down inside that wasn’t my true heart.

After fleshing out my thoughts with John, he says, “You know, if people assume something false about you because of something you share, that person probably doesn’t you well enough, so you shouldn’t give them any thought.” Simple…. and brilliant. (Thank you, God, for my husband.)

After that, I let go. If I wanted to post a picture of my morning coffee and share a quote from the book I was reading, I did. If I wanted to post 5 times a day because I was in a cool new city exploring, I would. If I wanted to share something cool I was learning, I’d snap a photo of my current situation and share it. I felt free.

Instagram is not an enemy of mine. The way I desire to use this tool is okay. In fact, it can be great! (I’m now coming to realize.) That day I also started praying —

God, I genuinely want my IG account to encourage and uplift people. I want what I share to make someone smile, or to help them feel like they aren’t alone. I want to glorify you with this platform. I want my IG account to be a place that refreshes people. I want to meet other women who love the Lord, who are actively seeking life and joy, who love other people well. I want this account to be a means of grace, a Light for a dark day. I want it to be a creative outlet for me, and a way for I myself to be inspired.

After that I felt true freedom. Instagram — the world’s view of it, and what other people think of me — is no longer a chain, but a simple, fun, interactive, enjoyable, creative tool for me to use to be salt and light, and to express the curly-haired woman God desires for me to be.

And He has transformed it into just that I think. I have had a handful of people say that my account encourages them. Praise God! Super cool.

All of that to say, my desire is simplicity, and to withdraw my energies on the other platforms to decrease my screen time, while satisfying my expressive, creative, communicating side without getting over-stimulated. I don’t want to live my life staring at a screen. I never want to sacrifice people for technology. Life is full, and I want to experience every minute of it, the depth and richness of moments…..

…with my camera ready. :)

I’ll love to meet you/invite you into the fun: @eubankchels