After two close friends left Facebook for their emotional well-being, my curiosity was peaked. I read that time spent on social media created feelings of depression and isolation. The research showed that interacting with friends directly on Facebook did not have a negative impact, but mindlessly perusing caused comparison, loneliness, and negativity. You can read the articles here and here. Thanks to my forever independent-thinking friend, Steph.
This inspired me to take FB off my phone and just stick with personal messages and Instagram (slightly more creative and a group of closer friends), and this has made a difference for me. On the evenings when I cave in and start swipe, swipe, swiping through the lives and posts of my general acquaintances (and it always ends up robbing me of an hour), when I finally use ALL of my willpower to pull myself off, I’m inevitably over-the-top annoyed with myself.
Well, this week I got to see an old friend who is the most creative, ingenious self-starter I know, who can go through the valley of the shadow of death and come out with a new face, a new energy and message. She’s incredible! I was so thrilled for her and so happy to be together that I almost couldn’t identify that sickly green feeling inside me. Not until I had spent two days feeling resentful (at God? at the world?) that my own struggle in a challenging season of changes had landed me in a painstakingly slow climb out of the valley, and it still feels like I’m just halfway up the side of the Grand Canyon. Why is my creative brain not ticking like hers?
How did she climb out and on top so fast and I’m still working through so much healing and growth in order to find my own voice again?
Some days it feels like I’m still wandering numbly around the same Indian mountain that I was three years ago.
And within 48 hours of all this nauseating comparison, I ended up talking with another friend as she cut my hair and then again with my mom, and the humbling reality was my own green-eyed envy.
I don’t want someone else’s voice. I want mine.
The world needs every single one of us speaking our own authentic message. Not trying to replicate one another.
There’s a scripture I’ve written down three different times in my journal in the past few weeks. As I spend more time in the Western world of connectivity (with far less face-to-face interaction), I find myself looking to others for the answers of what the world wants to hear.
Not what I need to be and say as an organic response to Jesus who gives me life and peace.
This scripture essentially reminds the people of Thessalonica (and us) to stay busy doing the thing that God assigns us to, and not to worry about anyone else.
“Stay calm. Mind your own business. Do your own job.” (I Thessalonians 4:11)
I’m so glad God knows us and provided guidance for real people of every century and culture. I’m grateful that His Word grounds me in truth and gives me peace.
So this morning I defied the writer’s block that has been plaguing me for the last 12 days of comparison and imaginary competition resulting from social media. I began by writing my dear, talented friend and asking her forgiveness for my jealousy, and assuring her of my friendship.
And then I logged on here, committed to reminding myself and my friends that social media helps us but can also derail us. And if you ever find yourself in a comparison trap, then do your darnedest to get off that road-to-nowhere-good and get centered before your Loving, Creator God.
Because you are the only man for the job assigned to you by God. If you don’t do it, no one will.
You’re the only mother your kids are supposed to have. You’re the only one with your life, your story, and your voice. So use it well.
Don’t waste your time on anything that distorts the purity of the message He is writing in you today.