Stepping In My Stilettos
Lying in bed, struggling to get up and start my day…I reach for my phone. Answering text messages from text conversations I fell asleep on last night. Check my voicemail? Nah, that can wait. Let me check my notifications from Instagram. -Smiling to myself- That’s a beautiful photo! -double tap, scroll.- Wow, I can’t wait to afford a home like that! -screenshot, repost, #goals, scroll, scroll.- Omgsh! This meme is hilarious! -share in group message #trynottolaugh, scroll- Yes! This quote is so inspiring! -double tap, repost, scroll, scroll, scroll.- Wait, what time is it?! I’ve got to get up and get ready for work! I turn on my bible app and listen to it read me the Proverb for the day. When it’s done, I talk to God while still getting ready to leave, I don’t have time to get on my knees because I’m already late. “…Lord help me as I go about my day, lead me and guide me in Your will in Jesus name. Amen” I switch Proverbs to Psalms and begin listing. Phone in hand, I begin to check Facebook notifications. -scroll, scroll, scroll, thumbs up. scroll, scroll, scroll.- Oh! let me get out of here! Sitting at my desk waiting for my computer to start up, I grab my phone. Instagram it is! -scroll, scroll, scroll.- Okay, time to get my work done. I don’t understand how people can be on social media seemingly all day. Break time, -scroll scroll.- Lunch time, -scroll, scroll.- Waiting for the scanner to complete a scan -scroll scroll.- On a long hold -scroll, scroll.- Taking a walk around the building -scroll.- Made it home, time to wind down -scroll, scroll, scroll.- Dinner time -scroll, scroll.- What a long day. Shower time. Bed time… can’t sleep -scroll.scroll, scroll.-
On September 01, 2016. I decided that I spent too much time on Social Media apps. September is my birthday month and for me, is always a time of severe self evaluation. Prior to my decision, I noticed that the amount of time I spent on Instagram and even Facebook was beginning to affect my personal productivity. I was slowly becoming obsessed with scrolling, and double tapping. I noticed that I was “finding” a lot of time to scroll but having to “make” time for reading, prayer, meditation, cleaning, writing and working. I was becoming more and more impatient with people and their craziness and it was just easier for me to go away by myself and jump onto Instagram while I “cleared my head.” Let’s face it, no one wants to be “that one” who is ALWAYS on social media or thought of as not having “a life.” So, when I noticed my habit, I was pretty disappointed with myself. It’s a conversation that is awkward to have, especially with oneself!
I made the decision, and announced it on Social Media for accountability reasons-(I thought I needed it at the time.) The first few days were the hardest! After just 1 day of abstaining from news feeds and timelines, I realized that I had an addiction! I had to consciously force myself to stay away. I kept making excuses to scroll and I would literally have to catch myself mid-scroll. In the middle of cleaning I’d take a break and find myself commenting beneath a photo. Out of habit, while waiting (on anything) I’d find myself opening my Instagram or Facebook app and scrolling for a few seconds before I remembered what I was supposed to be doing. You see, I didn’t delete the apps or disable the notifications (on purpose.) I literally had to force myself to stay away from the apps, and to refrain from opening the notifications that popped up on my phone. I wanted to make sure I was practicing practical self control. So that once I’d reached the end of the 30 days, I wouldn’t fall back into the same patterns. But, when did this become an addiction? When did social media begin devouring my time? I used to almost despise it. When did it become something I had to force myself to stay away from? After a bit of self evaluation I found that this “addiction” was literally developed within the span of about 1 month. That’s right, just 30 days! It could have quite possibly been a shorter time frame, though I could easily pin it to becoming a very time consuming personal trend within a month.
How do we so quickly and easily become addicted to the seductive world of social media. We unknowingly spend an alarming amount of time on our social media apps each day. We have an obsession with being figuratively “connected” to everyone while literally disconnecting ourselves from everyone and everything around us. We don’t converse with our friends outside of social media and wonder why face to face conversations are a strained effort. We see something beautiful and we immediately take to our phones to snap a photo and post it to our Instagram account so we can share the beauty we are witnessing; thereby missing the actual time to relish in the beauty of the moment ourselves. We have a wonderful epiphany and we immediately take to Facebook to share our thoughts with everyone we know; when perhaps, we haven’t even taken the time to fully discover its meaning, purpose or application for our own lives. We record moments to remember while subconsciously removing ourselves from actively participating in those exact moments. We post cute selfies, so people can tell us we are cute. We search for the perfect angles so users can like our photos and follow. We record our lives for acknowledgement and recognition. We post scriptures and clever sayings so people will know we are deeply spiritual. We spend so much time scrolling and posting and watching “life” that we somehow don’t have time to really live it! Time after time, moment after moment. Seconds become minutes and minutes so quickly add up to hours. We fool ourselves with ideas that we are researching something, being inspired, or capturing a memory. While in reality, there is an addiction. It is an obsessive desire that you will literally crave if you attempt to break away from it. We find pleasure in distracting ourselves from ourselves.
Spending time alone, in quiet, with no social media scrolling. I began to think, like all the time. Sometimes those thoughts revealed things in me that I didn’t know were there. Thoughts that I was subconsciously afraid to face. I read. I read a lot. I made action plans to build myself up spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially. I was easily restless and that caused me to do things I wouldn’t have normally done. I was adventurous. I was focused on my priorities and able to build relationships with those that mattered to me. I was aware of myself and my feelings. I was able realize the MOST important things in life and recognize the things that were unnecessary. I found so much joy in such small things and I felt truly productive.
My 30 days are technically over, but I feel no rush to scroll. There’s no need or desire to catch up on the latest trending hashtags or to view the timelines of my “friends”. Gone are the days of me wasting time on social media apps. Gone are the days of me not making conscious efforts to use all of my time wisely. There is so much I can say about pulling away from social media and breaking the silent addiction of scrolling. However, for the sake of time, I’ll end this by encouraging you to do the same so you can draw your own conclusions. Take a 30 day break from social media outlets. Use your time wisely and I’m sure you’ll find the benefits to be almost endless. Social Media is exactly what we make it. It isn’t bad or wrong. Just be careful with what you allow it to do to you, your time, your relationships and your productivity. Take a moment to examine yourself. Consider what is taking the precious moments of your “spare time.” Our time is very valuable and no single moment can ever be repeated.
Till next time, Take care that you are using your time wisely. It is a precious gift from God. Father, help me to value each minute you give me and use all my time wisely that it may bring You glory.
Ephesians 5:15-17(KJV) 15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.