I think we’ve all are guilty of compartmentalizing our faith, often without even realizing we are doing such. One of these areas for myself has been in the social media realm. It’s not that I do anything blatantly wrong with it; however, recently I’ve been convicted to pray about how I use my social media. Social media usage needs to promote His kingdom and not my own. Since social media is a huge part of modern life and will continue to be, we need to consciously seek to honor God in using it. Here are five ways that I have found helpful in opening an app and use it in a life-giving manner.
- Open an app with the attitude of “I’m here to serve and love.”
Just like you should show up to a party to enjoy others and converse, the same goes with social media.
Do you have a hard time keeping this servant-mindset? I often do too! Here’s a pro-tip: say a prayer before you open an app. Seems dramatic, I know, but the fact is that so much time is spent social media in these modern days that holy mindsets are imperative when engaging in social media. If you think about how much time we spend on it, prayer should be our response.
Try to pray that your heart would not judgmental but loving, and that your mind not self-promoting but kingdom-minded.
So you may be thinking how do I serve others on social media, Mary Madeline? I mean, beyond promoting good causes, how do I serve the high school friend who just posted about their favorite movie or chubby Chihuahua?
I’m glad you asked! That brings us to point number two:
2. Be a gracious liker/commenter.
Don’t just post– engage with others’ posts! There are many people who go on social media simply to post, expecting response to their status/picture without ever acknowledging others’. Though it’s great that you post, remember to engage with others’ posts and enjoy their celebrations/funny stories/favorite quotes/sad announcements. Treat others as you would want to be treated in a social setting: acknowledged and engaged! (After all, that’s why it’s called social media– because it’s suppose to be a social affair, right?)
3. Unfollow people who harvest negative attitudes.
Don’t be afraid to unfollow/unfriend people. While it shouldn’t be done out of spite, it might be a healthy thing to do if you find yourself constantly bitter/envious/mocking/having a rude attitude toward a particular person’s account. Unfollowing this person swerves temptation. I would argue that it’s often more mature to unfollow someone than to continue following someone with a bitter attitude. I would add that I would consider praying and examining your heart before doing this though– you just might find that there are attitudes that you need to repent of as well.
4. Take a break from it!
Remember, social media is meant to make you more connected to people, not less. Therefore, if you find yourself avoiding eye contact with people and opening up Instagram instead, I would challenge you to maybe delete Instagram for a while and engage with the people around you. I bet you’ll find that it’s actually more fulfilling to talk to a stranger than stalk one. People were meant to be looked in the eyes, laughed with, smiled at– not only liked and commented on with heart faces. (Though these are great things and I do them a lot!)
Consider fasting from some of your first-resort medias for a while (anywhere from a day to a month or two!) It will probably refresh your heart, draw you to prayer, and give you eyes for the people right in front of you.
5. Redefine “insta-worthy.”
It seems that everyone questioning their “Insta-worthy” status these days. This usually means a high-quality picture with a caption that is “on-point.” However, what if we re-defined what “insta-worthy” is? What if insta-worthy meant that the content is something useful, that lifts others up, that is important, that engages people, that makes them feel understood, that makes them feel loved, makes them giggle? If that was how we chose what we posted on social media, I think we would find it more life-giving, and we would be more free to share and less stressed about what was “worthy.”
Lastly, I know that many of these rules apply to how you would talk/engage with people in a face-to-face setting. I want to make a note that social media is not the same as and does not replace human interaction. It is only meant to enhance human relationships; it is not meant to be your only form of interaction, or even your main form. I could give many reasons, but that would require a totally different post. (You can find many articles on the internet about that if you simply search it.) Just know that is not it’s purpose, and using it as such can put you in an unfulfilled place. Nothing can replace laughs shared over a coffee date or a tender smile from a stranger.
As a general rule, utilize the social expectations that are considered loving in face-to-face settings, transfer those to the web, and you will probably find yourself on the right path.
Everything is spiritual and should be treated as such– even Twitter. 🙂 I hope you use these methods and find them life-giving in your social media usage!
PS: Thanks for stopping by on my little corner of the internet! Feel free to look around at other posts, follow me on social media for updates and what I consider “insta-worthy” (lol), or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org ! Receiving emails with encouragements or asking for advice in a particular area are my favorites.