Lent is a season for reflection. It is a time when we remember Jesus' journey and attempt, ourselves, to understand His sacrifices. It is a time usually associated with fasting (of food or actions), and in doing so take our eyes of of the material world and turn them towards our Lord.
This year, I logged out of my Instagram account. I admit that this platform can be (and continues to be) a strong business tool for both Lilac + Twine and Studio Crocetti, so I remained on the app to post infrequently on those pages, but there is little purpose to my personal account other than to share photos of my PNW life, so I did away with it for a while.
Here are a few things that I learned in my hiatus from the social media world:
- We easily lose touch of those we feel we were "close" to simply because we saw their posts daily. Is this genuine connection? When social media is eliminated, much more effort is required to pursue the relationships in your life (phone calls, text messages, letters, etc.) and it got me to thinking - why don't we pursue our friends like this even WITH social media? Why has social media taught us that hearting someone's post is enough to sustain a relationship? Why have we let ourselves believe that?
- I have so much more time. Without the time spent browsing my feed and discover page for hours each day, I have read more books, made more art, and been much more productive with my work.
- I sleep better. When I don't spend an hour before bed scrolling through images, I genuinely sleep better! I still have my nights when I pop a melatonin or shove the cat off the bed because he is being too loud, but overall I am falling asleep faster and sleeping sounder (I track my sleep using Pillow).
- I miss my community. It would be a lie if I said that all social media contributions to my life are negative. I follow a lot of very influential, powerful women, and I miss their influence on my life. I have found that my self esteem has gone down, simply because I do not have as many women in my daily periphery telling me that I am strong, capable and worthy. Social media has the power to bring together communities and offer support that otherwise is hard to find in the world offline.
- Probably the most important of lessons I learned is that our joy comes not from beautiful photographs on our feed or connections here and there with friends (both close and afar), but in consciously spending time with the Lord and listening to what is being put on my heart and in my life. If this is the most valuable and impactful thing I can do in my life, why am I not spending my time on social media encouraging others to do the same?
- Regardless of the loneliness we feel with and without social media to cling to, we are loved. The Lord has pursued friendships with specific people in our lives to show us that. Sometimes we lose someone who we thought was meant to be our rock, only to find that our rock had been by our side, supporting us all along.