This past Lent, I noticed a phenomenon among Christians in their teens and 20s. Instead of giving up sugar or snack foods, they decided to avoid social media for the forty days of Lent.
The phenomenon also took place amongst those older than 30, but most of those whom I had connected with or saw post on social media aged somewhere between 16-29. Several friends reported on feeling a sense of relief and continued the fast long after Lent, hopping on once a week at most afterwards.
Although a good number of those who participated are in committed marital relationships, I noticed several singles participated. I believe this didn’t happen by mistake.
Social media has the potential for greater good. We have a larger platform to speak about the good news of Christ, as often I encounter Instagram accounts that mention Bible verses or quotes from well-known Christians.
But, minds can become addicted to social media as easily as drugs.
Not to mention, sources have found correlations between social media use and mental health issues. Although beneficial in some aspects, social media carries a lot of dangers as well—especially for single Christians.
I love spring and summer for the warm weather, blooming flowers, and an exposed sun that had hidden itself behind a coat of clouds all winter. But I hate this time of year for two reasons:
I want to celebrate with my friends that they have found the one who their soul loves (Song of Solomon 3:4), but after scrolling through dozens of filtered pictures of wedding dress shopping trips, mason jar centerpieces, and sunlight-kissed engagement photos, a pit forms in my stomach.
Returning to my own pictures, I scroll through them, comparing likes and wondering why I have not yet found the man who God called for me.
And I know I do not struggle with this alone.
I have heard that comparison steals all joy. After all, God warned against coveting others in the tenth commandment (Exodus 20:17). Social media opens that opportunity for jealousy and coveting to spoil a wonderful day that God has made.
This shouldn’t surprise any of us, but nothing explicit because, well, Jesus didn’t deliver the Sermon on the Mount while refreshing his Twitter feed.
Although those living during the Old and New Testaments didn’t have social media at their fingertips, they did have a few insights on byproducts that can come from social media.
I think that depends.Understandably, some of us have valid reasons we cannot delete our accounts. But we may benefit from scaling back.
I have several friends who have to use social media to build a platform for a business, whether their own or the one that employs them. If your job requires it, that leaves very little wiggle room when it comes to quitting social media.
Even when it comes to personal social media accounts, we can sometimes only find out about the health or life events of friends via Facebook or Instagram.
But as for personal social media accounts – especially as a single person – if you find envy and covetous attitudes infiltrating your mind and heart every time you scroll, consider scaling back.
The tool of social media has this magical tendency to bring out the worst in us. If you take a look at the comment section of any Facebook post, this can often reveal the core of our condition.
Some ways social media can expose us:
If you want to take a break from social media, or at least, spend less time on social media, consider doing one of the following:
If social media has become an idol, to the point where you daily – or hourly – check your following and worry if one picture gets more likes than others, then you should probably consider setting aside the Instagram or Twitter for a season.
Hope Bolingeris a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. and a recent graduate of Taylor University's professional writing program. More than 300 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer's Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her column "Hope's Hacks," tips and tricks to avoid writer's block, reaches 2,700+ readers weekly and is featured monthly on Cyle Young's blog, which receives 63,000+ monthly hits. Her modern-day Daniel, “Blaze,” (Illuminate YA) comes out June 3, and is up for preorder now. Find out more about her here.
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