This week has been really busy. Usually on a week like this I’d feel miserable, but I haven’t. I have found myself living more in the present than I have in a very long time. And there is one big reason I think this is. Social media. This week I made it a goal to not get on my social platforms hardly at all. Not to be dramatic, but it changed the whole trajectory of my week. I was able to focus more on all of the homework I had. I even found myself spending more time with people, even though I was slammed. It is crazy how much one component of our lives can change literally everything. Yes, social media has its’ perks. But yes, it can also be one of the leading causes to depression, sadness and anxiety.

Social media is great for sharing fun memories. It’s also great for connecting with people that live far away. However, I feel like we use these reasonings to justify being on some sort of social platform for HOURS. It’s great to connect with others through your social media (that’s what it is made for), but that doesn’t necessarily mean we should spend all day looking at a screen. We miss so many good parts of life by doing that. And that’s what I realized this week. You all would be shocked by how many times I picked up my phone to get on Instagram, only to stop myself five seconds later. It has become such a big part of my life that it’s a struggle to let it go.

Last week was pretty rough. I didn’t necessarily know why, but I almost felt depressed. It took me talking to my mom to put the dots together that it most likely was stemming from social media. I was tired of seeing the negativity. I was even more tired of seeing people having fun ALL THE TIME. I was quarantined last week, and all I could think about the entire time was how college has never been what I expected it to be. I thought it’d include hanging out with friends all of the time and making fun memories every night. And social media told me that is what college is for a lot of people. Clearly, social media can lead to comparison. Every person is posting every little good part about their life. After a while, it can make us wonder why these people have such a seemingly perfect life, and we just seem to be on the struggle bus. You might feel lonely, and all you see on your Instagram is all of these people having a great time with their close friend group. You may feel as if you are not beautiful compared to all of the people you see as you’re scrolling. You may be tired of seeing people who have hurt you post and act like someone they are not for the rest of the world. And you may not even realize that social media is tearing you apart like it might be.

Social media acts as a sort of addiction. Our mind enjoys being occupied with other peoples’ lives, and these different social platforms are always finding new ways to keep us hooked. They do such a great job that it’s really hard to put the phone down sometimes. And I think this affects us in three major ways.

First of all, our time is completely consumed with social media. We stop engaging in real life and instead, we engage with an unrealistic world. This week I truly had so much more time for my relationships than I have had in a while. I was actually getting work done, and finding ways to take time for myself. My attention was finally on the present moment and not the media. I also found myself being more positive. Currently, the media is full of an insane amount of negativity. It is unhealthy for us to consume all of our time focusing on the conflicts occurring in our world. It’s important to be aware, but it’s not important for us to wrapped up in it all constantly. We have one life to live, and we were meant to enjoy it. Focusing on the media and what is going on in our world 24/7 is not going to allow you to live in the present or possibly even be happy.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. – Philippians 4:8

Do you believe social media is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable and worthy of praise? Just something to think about.

Secondly, our internal being is impacted by social media. As I was saying earlier, we sometimes feel lonely, sad and consumed in our imperfections because of social media. Since social media has come around, anxiety and other mental health issues have gone up. It literally sometimes feels like it has come into our lives in order to steal all of our joy. This is because we allow it to. We need to know our limits. If you find that you’ve been comparing yourself constantly to other people, it is probably time to take a break. You need to take that initiative to limit yourself for as long as you need. No one else can do this for you. You’re worth is priceless, and if social media is telling you otherwise, it’s time to get off. My worth was being impacted which is why I decided it was time to put some limits on my screen time, and it has helped more than I could’ve ever imagined.

Lastly, our self-control has seemingly gotten worse because of social media. I have a feeling I’m the not the only one who can’t get enough of it at times. I will sit down and scroll for hours. I know I should stop, but it really is so hard sometimes. Often times, our relationship with social media is toxic. Social media is always wanting your attention and takes away from your good relationships in life. You could be making memories of your own but instead you can’t quit looking at other peoples’ memories.

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. – 2 Timothy 1:7

God gave us a spirit of self-control, so it’s time to start using it. There are some things that are not bad in moderation. Social media really isn’t terrible, but it needs to be used in moderation. Our whole life should not be centered around something that isn’t real or true. People often portray an image of themselves that isn’t who they are at all. People probably think I do. I will admit that I usually always share the good parts of myself, but let me be honest right now. Those little memories I share are not who I am. I am made up of those good things and also so many imperfections. What you all do not see is the tears I have cried, the insecurities I have faced and the moments I have been at my lowest. You aren’t alone. We don’t share these parts of ourselves. And that’s not a bad thing. In saying this though, it’s important for us to realize that people don’t live perfect lives. Everyone has struggles of their own.

Is social media taking over your life? Really think about that question. You may not like the answer, but you need to be honest with yourself.

Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. – Hebrews 10:25

Let’s not forget about the value of relationships beyond the screen.

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