It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything to post online, but here I am again with a new blog and ready to start writing again! There are some posts that have been swimming around in my head, but before sitting down and getting those onto paper (screen?), I thought I’d share a bit about why I took a quasi-break from social media and why I decided to blog again. I don’t imagine that I have to explain myself so much because people have been wondering about my internet whereabouts as much as because I think it may be helpful for those who are thinking about the role of social media in their lives and because it’ll help me to have written down why I want to start blogging again.
My break from social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blogging) started out involuntarily and, I believe, by the mercy of God. I was on vacation in the middle of the ocean and without internet for a few weeks! Here is what I realized during my time there and in the months that have followed as I’ve been mostly away social media. I don’t want to say social media made me do these things, so I’ll start off each by saying my use of social media…
- …Broke up my time and attention in unhelpful ways. It’s not as if I was sitting down for hours or even 30 minutes at a time at the computer. But having the option in the palm of my hand to fill up a minute or two here and there by scrolling through tweets and status updates filled my mind with mostly unhelpful information when I could have been thinking about something else, reading a few pages of a book, enjoying my daughter with undivided attention, or even just being silent. For me then, it was (and is) not so much a matter of whether or not I was doing something wrong with my time, but whether or not there was something better that I could be up to.
- …Was out of proportion considering the things and tasks that are important to me (i.e. my priorities). Although in the past I’ve contemplated completely cutting myself off from any kind of social media for the sake of not wasting time, I never did because I really believed that it could be a tool to bless others. Why? Because I’ve been helped by articles and blogs I’ve read online and I love being able to help others have access to good resources. I figured that hey, if people are already spending their time on Twitter, Facebook, etc. and reading all this stuff, why not get something in there that really matters? It also is a way to keep in touch with people that I don’t see every day or may be far away. These uses were mostly about potential ways and people I could serve or connect with. But for me right now at this stage of life my priorities are toward 1. God 2. my husband 3. my children 4. my family 5. my church & close friends, and some place after that those I could hypothetically/potentially serve through social media. Not that the people listed above couldn’t be blessed through my social media use, but that’s not one of the main ways I could be serving them. Therefore, given the position that social media connections was, or rather, how it wasn’t on my priority list, my time and attention weren’t being properly used.
- …Gave me a false sense of connectedness and community that replaced my desire to actively seek out someone to talk to. One reason I stay on Facebook is because it can be useful to connect to (real life) friends or reconnect with people that I really do have a relationship with. But I feel like the option of having my thoughts broadcasted out there any time gave me a sense of being connected to a listener that was in reality not there or at least unknown to myself. As people, we all have a desire to communicate and share our lives with others, from important lessons learned to little joys in life. (Think about the seemingly unimportant status updates that people often complain about others posting). When God teaches me something new, I want to share it. When my daughter does something super cute, I want to tell someone too! Something kind of scary that I noticed after I stopped going on social media was how often potential tweets and blogs passed through my mind when things like these happened. Even having the option of sharing things through social media acted in a way to satiate that desire to share with another what was going on in my mind. I found that after I disconnected, I took more time to direct these thoughts upward in prayers of thanks for what I was experiencing and outward to others (texting a friend, telling my family members, etc.)
- …Showed that instead of being a tool to be used, social media mastered me. I could give all these helpful uses of social media that I really think are legitimate, but honestly, I think that social media had a hold on me that I could not really see. Yes, I could stay off of it for a few days and I had at times set up specific time limits for my own use of Facebook, but why was there such an impulse to go on it right away when those limits were up? I’m not even sure what the appeal was, but I think it had become such a habit even though often I was scrolling and looking through things I cared little about.
- …Made it easy to produce (post) or pass on (“like”/”retweet”) rather than to first live it out. It is so easy to read something good or potentially impacting and instead of thinking first about how I can be changed or have my life put in accordance to God’s truth, to retweet or share it and leave it there. Or for me to be at the starting point of learning something new from God and the Scriptures and then right away think about how I can blog about it instead of first letting it sink in and change me first. I don’t think social media makes people fake and I don’t think I have to be all there before sharing honestly, but I think the ease and quickness with which I can put out something publicly makes it dangerous for me since I already have little time in my own life set aside for serious contemplation, prayer, and meditation. I want truths to sink deep and to have things I share come out from within me, not merely passed on and giving others the impression of having made a difference in my life.
So, with all that I’ve written above, why am I blogging again?
1. Because I have been helped by things I’ve read and I hope to bless others in the same way. There are blogs that I follow because of the way they encourage me point me towards the truth of God and I hope to edify others in the same way. I am thankful to have been approached by different people here and there saying they were helped by things that I have written . As I have been thinking about whether or not to blog again, my husband encouraged me to focus my thoughts on serving and not to not write because of fear. Also, I’m thankful that many (most) of you reading this are people that I love and know, and though it’s hard to update you all individually about how God is working in my life, I can write it and have you all read it at once!
2. Because I am passionate about right theology in the everyday and in all of life. God has wired my mind and heart to be passionate about helping others see the impact of Biblical truths in real life. I get fired up about right theology because I have seen (and see) in my own life the impact of wrong teaching and wrong thoughts about God, his word, and how he has designed life to be. Because of this, I love being able to share others about how God is renewing my mind and teaching me his truth, and in this way, changing my life and my worship. I hope to write more about this specifically another time, but for now I will say that my second reason for blogging is because I enjoy it!
So, hello again internet reader and friends! And I pray that God will use this blog in whatever way he chooses for your edification and for his glory.