A week and a half ago, I deactivated my Instagram account and declared here on the blog that I was taking an extended break....which ended up lasting one whole week (insert crying laughing emoji here). I feel kind of silly, BUT I really do feel like that one week was incredibly fruitful. I prayed a lot, journaled a lot, sought wise counsel and ended up feeling really peaceful about reactivating my Instagram account with solid boundaries in place.
Ultimately, I had to think about my goal for Instagram, Facebook, my blog, all of it. What is my aim with my presence on those spaces? I'm not content to have them "just to have them." I want to be intentional with what I share and have a solid reason for being active on social media and the blog. I ended up landing on this:
My goal is to point people to Jesus and His goodness and uplift, encourage, educate and inspire.
I created four questions to ask myself before posting online, as a sort of heart-check to make sure what I'm sharing is in line with that goal:
- Is this an accurate picture of my life? (i.e, not posting a flowery photo + peaceful quote when it's been a tough day of motherhood)
- Does this point people to Jesus and illustrate His goodness?
- Does this encourage + uplift (leaving room for less "serious" posts, things that simply make people smile)
- Why am I posting this?
I'm also focusing on keeping good boundaries when it comes to social media and my phone usage in general. I am trying to keep the first hour I'm awake phone-free. I love what my friend Gretchen is doing with her movement #WordBeforeWorld. Definitely follow along with her and Well Watered Women for more inspiration there! I'm also committed to not getting on Instagram or social media in the presence of other people, including my kids. Y'all, this is hard. As a stay-at-home mama, the days can be so long and the loneliness and isolation can be so real. There are only so many times that I can play "construction site" with my toddler before wanting to escape, and that escape often comes in the form of social media. I am committed to curbing this habit, to stay present in the moment with the people in front of me. I'm also committed to not checking messages (DMs, Facebook messages) unless I have actual time to respond. This is a terrible habit of mine, and I liken it to opening one million internet tabs in my brain. I hop on Instagram, see the little red DM number, open them, read them, end up with 6 questions to answer, don't have time to answer those questions because I'm on my phone while simultaneously fixing lunch for my kids, then those questions and messages just bounce around in my brain until I have time to come back and answer them. All day long, I open tabs. Check Etsy and need to respond to messages there: open tab. Check Facebook and have a comment that needs a response: open tab. Check Instagram and have 6 DMs to reply to: open tab open tab open tab. It starts to feel overwhelming and can kill productivity and focus. I am trying super hard to stop multi-focusing and instead focus on completing one thing all the way through. I've been setting a timer for 15 minutes to hop on Instagram, post if I have something to post, reply to comments, read and reply to DMs, and scroll. When the timer goes off, the phone goes away. It sounds ridiculous, but it's what I need to keep myself in check.
During my Instagram fast, I ultimately asked myself this question: does Instagram have a place in my life? The answer I landed on was yes, so now it just becomes a matter of keeping good boundaries and stewarding this thing well, which is what I'm currently working on.
Here are a few resources if you're also struggling with the social media balance:
- My friend Nancy's post about social media is so good
- I'm re-reading this book and it's just as amazing as I remember
- This book is on my to-read list (Nancy is reading it now and sharing some good snippets!)
- This one too - my friend Val recommended it as super eye-opening!
Here's to embracing technology and connectedness without being swept away by it!