For many years, I have struggled with depression, though many people wouldn’t know it by just looking at me.
I can easily wear a mask and hide those areas of struggle or hurt, but it’s still there. When I’m not vigilant about my mental and emotional health, and when I have neglected my relationship with the Lord, depression can quickly take over. Then, in the seeming blink of an eye, I can find myself in a really dark place yet again.
In 2018 I cut out social media.
I didn’t make a big deal about it. This wasn’t a social media “fast”; I realized it wasn’t good for my mental and emotional health and decided to make a change. All of my social media apps were moved to the last page of my iPhone, a place that I never need to go. I installed a newsfeed blocker extension for Facebook (I don’t have the app on my phone) so I can still use the application for business and went about my merry way.
My stepping away from social media was a huge step for me. There were so many awkward moments where I would get out my phone to create an Instastory about something, only to have to put my phone back without the payoff of my followers reacting to my post. I realized just how many times I wanted to post something that I was doing so that I would get a positive reaction from someone. “Good job doing yoga!” or “Way to eat healthy, that looks delicious!” or “You read so many books—how do you do it?”.
I felt the need to perform on my social media and, as a result, it was making me feel the need to wear an even thicker mask than I usually did. So, removing that temptation, eliminating the desire to be my inauthentic self, felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
Distinguishing the Helpful from the Unhelpful
For me, social media has become one of those things that Paul talked about in 1 Corinthians 10:23.
“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.” (ESV)
This is one of the things that I love about the Lord: there are negotiables and non-negotiables in life, and we get to figure it out from there. There are some things that I just can’t do, like drinking alcohol, and there are things that I can do in small doses, like social media, but these rules don’t apply to everyone—just me.
Each of us are unique individuals, and we all respond to life differently. It’s our job to be in tune with ourselves and the Lord to know what those things are.
[Tweet “We have been given ourselves—skills and limitations, desires and downfalls, and good and bad—to steward well- @sarahjcallen”]
We have been given ourselves—skills and limitations, desires and downfalls, and good and bad—to steward well. Part of caring for ourselves is knowing what triggers us and then work through those things accordingly.
If you know that social media is not good for your mental and emotional health, then cut it out. It won’t be easy and you will miss out on some baby or engagement announcements, but it’ll be worth it. If you know that you struggle with gossiping, maybe it’s time to ditch those friends who provide constant temptation. Or if food has become an idol, perhaps it’s time to lay that down at the Lord’s feet. Or you could struggle with something entirely different.
My hope is that we are able to sit with the Lord and identify those things in our lives that are not giving us life. My prayer is that we would each have the courage to remove those things that are not helpful and do not build us up and replace them with those things that do.
Have you struggled with social media? What have you done to limit its exposure?
What are some things that are permissible but not helpful in your life?
Sarah is an entrepreneur and published author, currently living in Dallas, Texas. Her dreams include founding businesses, giving strategically, and sharing art with the world. And her life motto is: Every number has a name, every name has a story, and every story is worthy of being shared.
You can find more of her writing on her blog or connect with her on social media.
The only validation that matters is God’s – and his is not always in tune with people’s validation of each other, so it can be misleading… People everywhere do stuff for human applause that damages their soul.