Sometimes You Have to Log Out

Written by Nicole Collier

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Could I do it? Did I want to do it? Uninstalling Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter was harder than I would have liked to admit.

When my church began the New Year with a 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting, I rolled my eyes.  Here we go. Everyone posted about how they were going to log off to draw closer to God. It felt almost cliche’. I could have given up something simple, but in my spirit I knew I had to let go of social media. It had taken over my life and I knew it. I didn’t want to admit it.

Each morning, my routine included checking notifications, scoping out who had posted Instagram pictures while I was asleep, and reading tweets of the latest political hot take. What I did not realize at the time, was how much this was taking away from my time with God. His voice was being drowned out by the rabbit hole of Facebook videos. We’ve all been down that hole. You click on one video of a recipe and end up watching dogs say, ” I love you.” His voice was being replaced with anxiety from words on the phone screen. To be transparent, it also had me a little more narcissistic than I wanted to be. I was living for the red heart or the thumbs up instead of living for the love of Jesus. I HAD to post that selfie. Please do not misunderstand me.  Selfies are wonderful.  Sometimes we are just feeling like we want to post a selfie- POST IT GIRLFRIEND!

However, I knew in my heart this was not my intention, I craved the likes. I was looking for the validation of my feed than resting in who I am in God’s word.

The first few days it was hard, but as the days went on I found it easier to pick up my morning devotion instead of my phone. I found it easier to have a short conversation with my husband before the kids were up. I found it easier to have a conversation with God. Ouch, this realization hurt.

During the time away from social media I was able to read two books. In 21 DAYS! My idea that I never had time to read, a pastime I love, was not true. The truth is, I could not give up the scroll to enjoy simple things like reading.

During this time of fasting I did have these four realizations.

  1. Not every thought I have needs to be put on the internet. It is OK to keep opinions to one’s self. Rarely will we change the opinion of another with a post. Change tends to happen in the context of real relationships.
  2. It is so much more fun to catch up with friends in person. It helps us connect to each other better. We can hug each other, and we can hear the excitement or the disappointment in each other’s voice.
  3. My anxiety levels were considerably down when I was not able to allow comparison to steal my joy. You cannot compare yourself to what you cannot see. The Jones’ were living their life, and I was living mine. I enjoyed staying in “my own lane.”
  4. Above everything else, I grew deeper in a relationship with Jesus. I felt peace within my soul that had been missing.

While, yes, I am now back on social media, I have begun taking measures to ensure I don’t let it overtake my life. I have an app that tells me how much time I spend on each app daily. And, I do see the irony of an app that tells you how much time you use apps. This does keep me accountable. I do not visit Facebook, my biggest time consumer, through the app with a simple click. I use the internet where I have to login each time. It sounds odd, but sometimes it does force me to think, “Do I really need to go through this login process?”

I make plans. Yes, I live my life. If I am busy living my life, I do not have the time to worry with my online life.

I think it’s important for us to occasionally take a break to realign our heart and mind. Do you think you could? What are some things you do to ensure you are not spending life online more than enjoying the life we were given?

IMG_6550Nicole Collier grew up in Montgomery, AL. She now lives in Shelby County with her husband, Matthew, and 2 boys, Ethan and Russell. She is a lover of all things creative, including photography and music. She and her family are involved with The Just People Project non-profit ministry serving the homeless throughout the city of Birmingham.

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