Three Questions to ask yourself before logging onto social media:
1. What am I wanting?
When your thumb wanders to the icons of social media, ask yourself this question first. Am I wanting to escape boredom? Am I wanting to connect with others? Do I have good work to do here? Or am I, deep down, asking social media to answer any of the following questions: Who am I? What is my worth? Do people like me? Social media would love nothing more than to give us an identity and to keep us circling back to it for affirmation. But, if you are trusting in Christ, 1 Peter 2:9 tells us you are “God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” You don’t need the blue light of a screen to tell you who you are. But you may be able to use it to call others out of darkness and into the light.
2. What do I plan to do?
If you log onto social media without a vision for why you’re there, it is easy to get swept into the stream of the latest algorithms and ads. Try to plot out your presence on apps by developing a short mission statement for why you’re participating. If you want to keep up with friends and family, are you actually seeing posts by friends and family? If you want to encourage from and be encouraged by Scripture, do you have a plan for doing so before you jump on? Do you follow others who do the same? If you need to stay plugged in for work, are you strategic about your time, following the accounts that matter most to you and eschewing the ones that don’t?
As Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra said in her piece “Scrolling Alone” for The Gospel Coalition, “If young girls (and women) are looking to Instagram as a place to achieve the perfect identity, to find community, and to learn how to live a good life, it will continue to eat them alive. But if they can come to Instagram with identities rooted in Jesus, tied tightly to real-life friendships and mentors in their local church, patterning their lives after actual saints, then couldn’t some of them enter the mission field of Instagram or Facebook?”
3. How do I feel now?
Take some time to assess how you feel both before and after you spend time on social media. Are you anxious about the things you should have been doing instead? Next time, do those things first and jump on as a reward. Are you jealous of a celebrity’s home décor or a former friend’s vacation? Consider removing those temptations from your feed. Or are you encouraged to reach out and text a friend who shared something she’s enduring, to pray for her? Are you inspired to reorganize your playroom or to do the good work of the day?
Remember, God is not surprised by any of this. Whatever we feel, we can bring it to him. We can lament; we can praise; we can pray for help to put off the old and put on the new.
Remember, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13).
And nothing—not even social media—is beyond the reach and redemption of the Lord Jesus Christ. “For by him, all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him” (Col. 1:16).
For more resources on this topic, consider the book Social Sanity in an Insta World from The Gospel Coalition, with chapters from Jen Wilkin, Melissa Kruger, Laura Wifler, Emily Jensen, Ruth Chou Simons, and more.
Women & Work exists to help you do all of your good work—even the online parts—as unto the Lord.