Pinterest perfect pictures of dream homes, families, vacations, clothes and relationships had me hooked and obsessed. I would check my Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest accounts numerous times a day. By numerous I mean within an hour my social media accounts were checked up to 10 times. It stole my time, my energy, and my joy. I would feel empty and compared my life, my marriage, and the current season of our lives to other people’s marriages, vacations, homes, cooking, and clothes. It leaked into my relationship with my husband and stole precious moments of the here and now.
I noticed that even though I had accounts with hundreds of friends that I follow and know at a distance, in the end I did not know how they were really doing. What were their hardships? How was God working in their life? What were they learning? Are they struggling with something? Do they need someone to talk to? I craved real, vulnerable, and authentic relationships with people.
Two months ago we decided to end our ties with social media and all news outlets. It was hard at first and often times there were those awkward moments when we would pick up our phones and realize that there wasn’t anything to check, update or post. We saw that our family and friends were all around us, all we had to do was reach out, call, invite, & hang out.
Taking this social media detox has completely changed our world and perspective. It gave us time. We had so much time that at first I had no idea what to do with it. This extra time gave us opportunities that we would not have had if we were still living distracted.
Two weeks ago we were blessed with an opportunity to move to a new area closer to Alex’s workplace. To get to our old apartment it would take him up to two hours to get home from work. Traffic sucks. For several months without even a thought of moving closer he kept commuting from work. After having more focus and time the thought of moving closer to work suddenly clicked in our minds. That week we found a place and the following Saturday we moved into a new apartment. That same week we found out that our friends live right above us. I also met a girl in the area that befriended me and invited me everywhere that week. In fact she took me to her gym, her women’s group and out for lunch.
During this time we have had more time to read and listen to books, have deep conversations, and spend time with friends. At dinners we became fully present and engaged in conversation. As a result communication was easier, and we noticed less misunderstandings between each other. Each moment together felt deeper, and more meaningful.
Since I did not have constant updates on peoples lives, it challenged me to take initiative in reaching out to people. I looked less at pictures feeling like I know enough, and actually reached out and connected with people that I haven’t with in a while. We have visited friends, had people over, and gone out to coffee with people that we wouldn’t have otherwise.
So am I going back to social media?
“Life feels unfair any time we let our eyes view a couple’s canvas from afar… My problem was I wanted my painting, the colors God had given me to work with, to look more like theirs. Sometimes I focused too much on what was around me instead of the focal point of my marriage and my family…Fixing our eyes on Jesus is my need. Gazing at others changes perspective and invites discouragement. We see from afar what appear to be happy, healthy people, strong marriages, and well-behaved children… and we assume God is not working muted pain in their lives like He is in ours. Just as viewing a small painting in a museum from across the room blurs the detail and nuanced contrasts that are foundation, so does viewing other marriages and other families from a distance give a fuzzy picture… God is saying, “Paint with the colors and vision I give you. Trust me.”