Social Media Addiction: When God Commands You to Fast and Rest
Hi, I’m Sydney, and I have a social media addiction. This addiction has subtly worsened my struggle with pride, it’s robbed me of precious family-time, and it’s caused emotional trauma that I wasn’t even aware of while it was happening. It’s an addiction that I believe many have but often goes unrecognized as such, and as a result, I think Satan easily uses it as a sneaky tool to manipulate, distract, and poison.
Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be detailing out how social media impacts our mental state and has the potential to increase anxiety and depression. We’ll be discussing how Satan uses this to his advantage and how he wreaks havoc in our hearts and lives without us even realizing.
You are probably ready to click out of this post now thinking social media doesn’t affect you negatively, but I’d encourage you to stay for two reasons: 1) Sometimes until God makes our “struggle” known, we don’t even know we are battling sin or subtle attacks from the Enemy. 2) Even if social media is not an issue for you, chances are you know someone else who is addicted to it and could use help becoming aware of it and breaking the addiction.
Today, I’m not going to share much on the actual addictive nature of social media or the science by which it has the potential to negatively affect our brain; rather, I’m going to share how God opened my eyes to my addiction and led me on this journey to research and understand the link between social media, addiction, and mental and spiritual struggles. I hope by sharing what the Holy Spirit spoke to me, you may resonate and begin your own conversation with God about yourself and your habits.
I literally had no idea how addicted I was to social media or how much it was negatively impacting my life until God opened my eyes. And even then, I tried to argue when God asked me to fast from social media and to rest.
I was confused. “Rest, God? But, I am resting when I scroll through Facebook. I’m part of a community. I’m in touch with friends and family. I’m in good Christian groups. I use it to see prayer requests. It relaxes my mind when my kids drive me crazy. Facebook and Instagram are good,” I argued.
Then God, my Holy, All-Knowing, Oh-so-incredibly-wise Father spoke to my heart: “ARE you resting? Or are you actually hiding? Are you relaxing, or drowning your sorrows and sadness in ‘busyness?’ Are you really being fed by the ‘community,’ or is it causing you to fall into comparison leading to envy and greed? Do you realize your envy and greed is sinful?”
WOW. Humbled much?
He continued, “Your grandparents and sister miss you. They haven’t heard from you in a long while—but you say social media keeps you in touch. Does it really, Sydney? You may be in good Christian groups, but are they feeding your soul? You spend significantly more time active in these groups than you do in your church. You tell people you’ll pray for them, but you usually ‘forget’ or don’t make the time.”
It just kept getting more painful to hear….
But God went on, “Sydney, you run to Facebook when your kids drive you crazy, but by doing so you neglect your responsibility to serve them, discipline them, train them, and LOVE them. You are their best friend right now, they need your presence, but you spend more time posting about them than you do engaging them. Instead of letting them run wild while you ‘escape’ to vent to other mom’s on Facebook who ‘get it,’ why don’t you try disciplining them? Or better yet, nurturing and loving them? Don’t you see how desperate Jesse is for your attention? And he’s willing to do anything to get it, even disobey. Train them, raise them to follow Me. You are a good mom, but you don’t need to brag about it on social media to be recognized. I see you and all that you do, is that not enough?”
I was about ready to cry at this point in the Holy Spirit’s conviction.
Then God said, “I miss you, Sydney, but social media gets your first attention in the morning, your attention during lunch, your attention when your stressed, your attention before bed—I could go on and on. Is there room for me anywhere? Or for your husband anywhere? You’re addicted, and as a result you find it difficult to make room for me or anyone else in your heart. Sydney, fast from social media. Come to me and experience true rest. You won’t be disappointed.”
Friends, if you’ve ever been convicted by God, you know what it’s like. It feels a little overwhelming, scary, and intense, but hopeful, empowering, and insightful all at the same time. The Spirit spoke these things to my heart as I read Scripture and prayed. It was a long, intimate conversation I was having with God and this is just a brief summary.
God also showed me a lot of areas I really needed help with. He revealed different components of my pride, sins I was unknowingly committing because I was so “comfortable,” and he opened my eyes to intimate, scary parts of my heart like my complacency, dissatisfaction with Him and my life, distrust, confusion, anger, and a whole host of other things that were being fueled by the constant bombardment of “picture-perfect” lives on social media. It was a little heart-breaking to see how far off-course the Enemy had led me without me even realizing it.
Since I began my fast from social media a few days ago, God has done INCREDIBLE things in my heart and mind. Those things are beyond the scope of this post, but as He continues to work, I will continue to note the chains He’s breaking, the healing he’s giving, and the faith He’s restoring. I can’t wait to share that piece of the story with you in a few weeks!
You know the phrase “it’s a slow fade?” It really is! That’s why I’m sharing this now. Will you give God a few minutes to speak to you? Will you open your heart to his conviction and really search your heart and your priorities? God wants first priority in your life. Take this time to confess your distractions, idols, and addictions to your loving Father. Give him your whole heart and you’ll be amazed by how He will work.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”—Romans 12:2