Setting boundaries around social media use doesn’t make you spiritual. It makes you healthy.

Are you one of those people who think you’re superior because you drink your coffee black? Or you buy organic? Or you don’t have cable?

News flash: You’re not.

And the next time you announce on social media that you are going on a social media fast, I hope someone slaps you.

Not really hard. Just enough to get your attention.

Stop abstaining from social media in the name of God. Setting boundaries around social media doesn’t make you spiritual. It makes you healthy.

I also know that your issue really isn’t with social media. It’s with the other billion people using it, and the way you relate to them and their content.

Maybe you need a break from the constant conflict of Facebook arguments where no-one ever convinces the other one of their opinion but they’ll all die trying.

Or maybe you’re like me and sometimes find yourself constantly drowning in the ocean of comparison on Instagram. You know comparison is the devil’s playground, and you think deleting Instagram will help you ignore the distractions.

What if there’s a better way? Instead of deleting the apps or deactivating your accounts and giving up on it altogether, what if you were intentional about developing a healthier relationship with social media as a whole?

Solving our problems with social media isn’t about social media. It’s about us.

My relationship with social media isn’t perfect by any means but I’ve adopted a few practices that have radically improved my quality of life when it comes to social media.

  1. God first. I used to pick my phone up and hit Instagram first every morning. I would often find myself wishing I was as productive or as successful as _____________. Now, I roll out of bed and my knees hit the ground. Sometimes, it’s for two minutes. Other times, it’s for two hours. Doesn’t matter. What does matter is that I start my day thanking God for another shot at this thing called life. Try it. It will radically change your focus when you do start scrolling.
  2. Mute and unfollow. There’s these beautiful options called “Mute” and “Unfollow.” You don’t have to be a jerk and block people. When you do, you’re actually trying to intentionally hurt them and that’s another post for another day. When I hit that “mute” button, I might as well be muting Satan. Don’t misread that. If I’ve ever muted you, I don’t think you’re Satan. But he knows one of the ways to get in my head is to show me the photos of those I follow who are living their very best life. It causes me to ask all the wrong questions and look for the answers in all the wrong places. Muting that voice forces me to spend more time looking at my own life.
  3. Love your own life. Find ways to be grateful for the life you get to live. If there’s things you don’t like, change them. Create a life you love so deeply that you can’t wait to jump out of bed every morning and live it. When we begin to appreciate the places we belong to, the people we love and the things we have, we don’t want for others’ highlight reels. When I began to do this, I would take inventory in a week’s time of how many moments of my own life didn’t make the Internet. It gave me perspective. Can’t think of anything to love about your own life? Go find someone else who has it worse off than you and do something kind for them. One simple random act of kindness will shift your entire mentality.

But Felicia? Wouldn’t it be easier to just delete social media from my life? You tell me. How easy is it for you to cut out sugar? Caffeine? Alcohol? Cigarettes? Gambling? Television?

When my nutritionist told me I was drinking too much coffee last year, she didn’t insist I never drink coffee again. She helped me create a better relationship with it. Now, I drink one cup of black coffee a day, if that.

(For the record, I am definitely not superior for drinking my coffee black!)

In case you were wondering, I used to drink my coffee a light tan color because if it were socially acceptable to only drink the creamer, I might have. But I was pouring too much sugar, dairy and caffeine down my throat for what my body needs to be healthy.

Guess what? Coffee and I have a better relationship than we ever did before. I’ve learned to respect and appreciate it. I believe the same is true when we build healthy boundaries with social media.

Let’s get something straight. Having a good relationship with social media doesn’t make you a better Christian. And being a better Christian doesn’t make you good at social media. But just like anything else in life, let’s look for ways to be better at loving God and His people WHILE we use Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter or whatever other platform you’re on.

Other tips for being a good Christian AND having a healthy relationship with social media.

  • Create time parameters for when you use or don’t use social media. Spend an hour with God every morning instead of with Zuckerberg.
  • Spend more time praying for people than arguing with them.
  • Celebrate when others win. Encourage when they don’t.
  • Make sure your virtual community doesn’t outweigh your physical one. In other words, don’t mistake having 1,200 Facebook friends as your real friends. Real friends pick up the phone or have dinner with each other.
  • Social media is not your personal soapbox. It’s your candle. Be a light, not a microphone.

What is your best pro tip for how to be a good Christian and healthy with social media?

Have you liked my Facebook page yet? Do so here.

Published by Felicia Carter

Jesus | Writing | Fitness | Coffee | Community | Speaking | Coaching

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