Two months ago, I deleted my Instagram. A lot of times, I do things in a crazy, emotional moment so that I really don’t even know what I’m doing until it’s done. This one was done with time and prayer, because as much as I didn’t want to admit it, Instagram was my binky and if I needed to hide behind my phone, I’m positive that I would be on that app.
But when God starts clearing his throat and the throat clearing keeps getting louder, I do my best to listen and do something about what he keeps pointing at. Several months ago, I wrote a blog post about getting off our phones. And honestly, I believe that now more than ever.
So without further ado, I’m going to explain why I decided to delete something that I’m pretty sure almost everyone has right now. Even though I know that when I go to a writer’s conference again, people are going to have cows when they learn I don’t really have the single most important thing to writing success at the moment.
Several months ago, I was reading in Psalms and found this verse:
I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. ~ Psalm 101:2-3
The things I wrote next to that verse were questions to God, and honestly, they featured more of the drastic sides of things. Such as porn. Okay, that’s worthless and it’s not of integrity. Then I listed gaming. TV shows. Movies. So most of those are fairly pointless. They’re fun, but are they really worth it?
I didn’t even MENTION social media. [I’m saying social media as a whole, but my main talking point is Instagram because that was my biggest problem.]
I looked at my notes again a couple of months ago of that verse and gave my past self a bit of a side-eye. Apparently I was cool with it at that point. And that’s fine.
I used to be a lot more active on social media and during those days, I would argue with my mom and dad that it was worth it because I was being a servant to God in being a good example, blah, blah, blah. (Along with arguing that you could just never know when something big would happen and I needed to know exactly when it did. Which…come on, Brianna.)
I followed a lot of awesome people. And y’know what? Some people can make it worth it. Some people are gifted in that area, and I respect that. I have definitely borrowed a sister’s account to read those people’s posts.
But is it worth it for everyone? EVERYBODY has Instagram now. My grandma has one. Do you know how big and crazy something has to be for my grandma to want one? “Cuz it’s what the kids are doing these days.” Can’t argue with that one. We’re now at the point in the world where everyone goes, “Ohmygosh can you imagine living without social media?!? How did they survive?”
Well, thankfully, they did, or we wouldn’t be alive. Somehow they managed thousands of years without waking up in the morning and immediately checking to see what happened in the world while sleeping. (After generally staying up late checking to see what happened in the world.)
That was me a lot. And I hate it. I hate that I enjoyed scrolling through my phone for hours at end if I could. I hate that I reached for my phone before anything else in the morning. I hate that when I’m out and about looking cute, I think about how it would look on Instagram.
That, as I’ve come to realize, is vanity. It’s something the Bible instructs to guard against, and social media has given us a great way to be vain about ourselves. Yes, I said it. And yes, I’ve done it. And yes, please post your wedding photos and your engagement photos and cute pictures of kids.
But how far is too far?
When does a fun thing become worthless? Maybe not in our eyes — but in God’s?
And with God constantly knocking on my heart to just do it, I did. I deleted the app, then my account, and that was that. There was a part of my brain that screamed that I was doing one of the dumber things ever, because WHAT ABOUT ENGAGEMENT AND WEDDING PICTURES. AND YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA FOR WRITING THAT YOU NEED TO USE.
In another post, I want to talk about surrender. There is beauty in it, even if it’s really uncomfortable and our flesh is screaming ‘no’. It is supposed to be that way, because flesh and spirit are different. My spirit was cheering me on, while my flesh was digging in its heels shouting ‘what about —–‘
I’m realizing that there are great aspects to social media. I’ve had two good friends get married in the past couple months, and I’m thankful I can go on Facebook and congratulate them and see photos. That is the best part about it. I can see pictures of my little cousin who is halfway around the world. If that’s all social media was/is, I would have all of it.
But it’s not that.
Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. ~ Philippians 4:8
How much of social media lines up with that Bible verse? How many of the photos/comments/posts that we (that I) view every day can be said to be pure, true, commendable, and worthy of praise?
Whatever you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. ~ Philippians 4:9
This verse goes with the one above it, and the end of verse 9 says something interesting. “Practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” We THINK about what we see and fill our minds and hearts with. There is PEACE for us when we think of the things that are pure and honorable and true.
The biggest thing that I’ve noticed in not having Instagram — again, this is the one that I spent the most time on, so naturally, God said to get rid of it first — is that that twinge of anxiety and stress in the mornings before I clicked on my Instagram and, really, every time I pick up my phone, is gone. I denied for years that there is something to do with social media and anxiety. Don’t ask me to give you the science on it, but it’s there.
And IT IS REAL.
Life is precious. And I’m realizing that there is so much more to it than posting pictures and letting people know what you’re doing. Please, do. But also remember that at the end of the day, God is not going to tally up your likes or the amount of posts about what he’s doing. He’s says that we are not supposed to get caught up in the ways of the world (Romans 12:2, James 1:27). And what have we done?
Exactly the opposite.
What is WORTH it? Challenge yourself today and ask God to show you what’s worth it in life. Not what the world thinks. That way has established itself in a mess that will crumble all the way to the end of time. But what God really considers worth it. It will look different for everyone.
We are not supposed to be cookie cutter humans.
So while God showed me one thing, he’ll show everyone else their own things. I’m confident that it will always go by Philippians 4:8: Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
God wants us to be at peace. I firmly believe that we’re going to have a heck of a time truly being at peace when we fill our minds with yuck. And there’s a lot of yuck out there. And we all have our own definitions of it.
But line it up with God’s word. See how that ‘yucky’ thing stands against it. Is it pure? Is it lovely?
For anyone who has a parent or parents: is it commendable in the eyes of my mom and dad? Let alone to God?
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ~ Matthew 6:21
Where is our treasure? Is it stored up in heaven, or is it stored up in the photos on our social media accounts? Because Jesus says in this verse that wherever it is, our heart will be there too. It’s a comfort, but it’s also a scary reminder that our hearts can end up in the wrong place.
In driver’s ed, my teacher said that if you focus on something on one side of the road for too long while driving, the steering wheel slowly moves that way, even if you don’t intend it to. If it’s that easy to send a car careening to the ditch, how easy is it to send our hearts careening toward the world when we start looking around too much?