I remember the day well, it was June 3rd, my birthday. A very special birthday in my mind. No, not because I was finally a teenager. Not because I was old enough to get a learning permit or to drink alcohol. Nope, I was turning 13 and I was SO excited to get my own Facebook account. Looking back I’m not sure why it was so important to me then. Maybe because all my friends were on it and we could chat whenever we wanted. Maybe because I could take pictures of my new braces and post them for people to see (no matter how much they make me cringe now).
Suffice it to say, social media has played a big role in my life since then. I moved across the world, literally, when I was 15 and Facebook (then, later Instagram) was how I kept up with all my friends back in the states.
Social media is bittersweet to me. It’s wonderful in the sense that you can connect with other people anywhere in the world, you can write something that someone else you’ve never met can read, and you can keep up with family and friends. But it’s also bitter in that it can take up a LOT of your time, too much sometimes. And it can be a very dark and discouraging place.
As believers, we need to honor Christ in every area of our lives, even in how we use social media. That’s why we need to stop doing these 3 things so that we can honor the Lord with our social media.
3 things to Stop Doing on Social Media
1. Stop Following Everyone on Social Media
There’s nothing inherently wrong with following lots and lots of people on Instagram or having thousands of friends on Facebook. But I think limiting who you follow on social media will help your walk with the Lord, here’s why.
Whether we realize it or not, what we read and see online has a profound effect on our thought life and, therefore, on our life in general. What we see on social media really can change our attitude, our outlook, our wants and our desires.
This happens mostly because we want to be like what we see and we want to see ourselves as different than who we actually are. With all the filters, editing, and snippets of real life on social media, it’s VERY easy to think that your life is not good enough, that it needs to be different to better or that you are doing something wrong, just from what we see online.
As believers, we can’t get our self-worth or standard of living from other people on the internet. We need to find our worth, our whole being really, in Christ as our Savior. He is the one that died for us even though we were sinners (Romans 5:8) and we need to live in light of His sacrifice (Colossians 1:10).
Ultimately, we need to follow Jesus.
It’s because of this deep effectiveness that we need to be careful who we follow on social media. Because they are influencing us whether we think so or not.
That’s why you need to stop following everybody and their cousin on social media. Take a look at who you follow now and weed it down. You will have to use your own discernment in this area. At the end of the day, it’s not sinful to follow someone who is not a Christian or an account that doesn’t post about christian topics, but here are a few things to think through.
Is the influencer mom who claims christianity, posts a perfect Sunday photo with her kids all lined up, shares her Malibu and Diet Coke addiction in her stories, every post is an ad campaign… is she really pointing you to Christ?
Maybe a mom you follow is suddenly into crystals and connecting with her aura. She’s telling you how witchcraft has changed her life, is that life-giving? Does that help you walk with the Lord?
Maybe a mom is always complaining about how hard her life is, posts pictures of herself crying and not getting a break, and it makes you hopelessly commiserate the hardness of motherhood together. Is that pointing you to the hope we have in Christ?
Maybe it’s something as small as a mom that’s always gushing about her husband and you have a hard time not being jealous of that… unfollow her.
Maybe there are some accounts that you’re not sure about. Unfollow them and see if you miss them in a week.
When I weeded through my list of accounts that I follow, it basically came down to this: Unfollow people who are not adding to your life and pointing you to Christ.
Maybe that seems too narrow-minded to you, that’s fine! In this case, you do you. Use your own conscience to guide and direct your choices of who you follow. Remember that we are ultimately following Christ and we want to have His mind in us (Philippians 2:5)… that’s pretty narrow-minded anyway.
2. Stop Posting Without Reviewing
The next thing to stop doing on social media is posting without reviewing what you are going to post.
Before you press that post button, take a minute to think about what you are saying. This is especially important when it comes to commenting on other peoples’ posts. It really doesn’t take that long to think through what you’ve written in that post box. So do it.
When we post willy-nilly we run the risk of our posts coming to the edge of gossip or slander, or lying. As a representative of Christ, you must be careful to avoid these tendencies when posting.
As a believer, you want to speak life into other people, you want to open avenues to share the Gospel, you don’t want to sin with what you post. The Bible says to “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:32)
So, the one question I encourage you to ask yourself is this:
“Would I say what I’m going to post if we were talking in person?”
This question should help you navigate away from major problems with your post. If you need to go deeper than that, ask yourself if it’s loving, biblical, accurate, helpful, and encouraging.
If your post doesn’t meet these qualifications, then don’t post it.
Usually, the answer to that first question clears up any doubt I may have about what I’m posting. And, to be completely honest, whatever I post on social media is usually something I have already said to someone in person. Most of the time that someone is my husband, but other times it is a friend, my sister, or even my mom!
It’s totally fine for your social media account to be a week “old” because everything you post has been said in person by you before or you’ve already had a conversation in person with someone about what you are posting. That’s exactly what I do.
Having a filter on what you write (not just the photos you post) will greatly help you steer clear of a post you regret or end up deleting later.
And that filter on your writing will help you to honor the Lord with what you post.
Filter your words, not just your photos.
3. Stop Spending So Much Time on Your Phone
Now, we’ve talked about unfollowing people (which may help with this step too) and reviewing what you write. But now, the dreaded topic, stop spending so much time on your phone.
Our phones are truly addicting, partly because they are just so helpful in our everyday lives! But that addiction is dangerous. I wrote a whole post regarding this because it had truly gotten out of hand in my own life. Head over to that post for the full story, but I’ll share a few more tips here to help you spend less time on social media.
- Keep the Sabbath with your phone. Designate at least one day per week (I recommend Sunday) to not be on your social media at all. Not only will this show you that, yes, you can indeed live without social media, but it will help you focus your time elsewhere and help you live in the moment of the day instead of scrolling endlessly. I can personally attest to these things because I cut myself off from social media every Saturday and Sunday by totally deleting the apps from my phone.
- Set a timer when you go to the park. This is especially for parents. There have been way too many times where I’ve been at the park and all I want to do is be on my phone the whole time. When you get to the park, set a time for when you need to start leaving. Make sure the volume is up on your phone! Then put it away. No need to check what time it is, it will let you know when you are leaving. Maybe pull it out for a fun photo, but that’s all you need. This can also work for walking or even being at the store.
- Use your phone’s screen time settings. There are plenty of options on your phone when it comes to staying off of certain apps. Take advantage of those settings! Set a timer for the most distracting apps so that you can’t open them after you’ve used up the time. Turn on “Do Not Disturb” for a couple hours each day. Turn off all your notifications. Find what works for you.
- Don’t charge your phone at night. This may not work for everyone, but if you are home most of the day like me, then don’t charge your phone at night. That will force you to charge it sometime during the day and, therefore, put it out of your hands for a while.
Try out those tips and enjoy the moments of silence you will have. Not silence from real noise, but silence from all the noise that social media can bring. You may be surprised at how many thoughts you actually have, they’ve been stuffed down by your scrolling. Or you’ll notice something about your kid that you hadn’t seen before. Or you’ll see how much you can actually get done during the day when you don’t look at any Instagram Reels (don’t worry, I’ve been there).
Bittersweet Social Media
As I said at the beginning, social media is bittersweet. Let’s stop doing these three things and start doing more off of social media so that it can be more sweet than bitter. And, more importantly, so that we can honor the Lord with how we use social media.
What’s your best social media tip? Let me know in the comments below!