I just took a seven day social media break that turned into a 17 day break. It was hard the first few days. After sending an email, I noticed my thumb would habitually go to open the instagram app in the spot I had deleted it. But I started seeing such rich benefits that I wanted to extend it!
These days, it seems necessary to use social media for the purpose of generating income, brand awareness and networking. It can make the idea of getting off social media feel not only like you’re cutting off your arm, but unwise.
My women’s group and I are currently studying the book of Nehemiah in preparation for some exciting visions we have for young women in Los Angeles. Nehemiah is the great leader who wins the favor of a babylonian king to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. We decided to take a look at his blueprint for leadership in order to cultivate our hearts for new levels of leadership.
One of the first things we noticed is that Nehemiah fasts and prays for strategy. The moment his heart became troubled for his people, he knew he had to do something, but he wasn’t sure what. Have you ever been there before? You know you’re called to do something, you know God has a dream for you…but you aren’t clear on how to get there. After Nehemiah fasts and prays, God gives him the strategy, wisdom and favor on what to do next. As a women’s group, we decided to fast together for seven days. In other words, we chose a comfort to sacrifice to replace it with prayer, silence and the Word of God.
There were a few things I considered giving up. Wine, coffee and chocolate were among them. But I felt God nudge me in a different direction. Social media. I had my objections. But I need it for my personal brand. It’s apart of my business. I use it for ministry. It’s how I inspire others. I thought about continuing to post, but not scroll. You know how we try to make modifications to what God tells us to do, so we still feel control.
To these objections, in the silence I heard, “Am I not bigger than a social media platform?”
I decided to put my objections, fears and habit completely aside and delete my social media apps from my phone.
I could talk about the studies that show social media is as addictive as cocaine. Or how it has led to higher rates of depression and anxiety. But we know this. Just like we knowingly drink cancer causing soda. I could talk about how to use social media effectively, with helpful boundaries etc, but we’ve heard that too. Instead, I’m going to talk about six ways to make a social media break work for you.
- Get clear on your purpose. The purpose of your break will be specific to you. My purpose was to create silence in my mind. I wanted to eliminate noise so I could hear myself think and to hear the voice of God more clearly instead of the rolling stories of others. During my break, I also wanted to press into serving my husband in a new way in order to see the benefit in our marriage. I also asked for strategy in my calling. What is yours?
- Know the benefit. The benefits of taking this break will go beyond what you could guess. You will start to see them when it’s over. You’ll be surprised that you feel lighter during the day. You will also connect with people on a more genuine level, without preconceived feelings by what you saw on their social media. I encourage you to notice benefits that surprise you and journal them.
- Get over the fear of “disconnecting” or missing out. Doesn’t social media make you feel like you’re missing out more than it makes you feel connected anyways? You will actually be connecting more with your heart, spirit and the people you love. You’ll notice yourself, your imagination and others on a richer level.
- Resolve that you will delete apps. In order for you to get the most out of this break, set yourself up for success by deleting the apps, not just moving them to another page on your phone or logging out of your accounts. This will ensure you don’t slip into, “Oh I was just checking a message, or I was just doing business.” Practice being the kind of woman who makes a decision and doesn’t waver.
- Decide what you will replace your apps with. The purpose of this break is to create more stillness within your heart and mind by eliminating the “hustle” and frantic feeling social media can exacerbate. I noticed that I started texting more when I deleted social media. This isn’t entirely bad, but I had to modify it so I didn’t replace distraction with another distraction. I eventually replaced my social media apps with the Bible verse and Holy Bible app. So every time I went to click open instagram out of pure habit, I opened a Bible verse instead. Now, that’s the kind of stuff you want inputting to your conscious mind.
- Morning meditation. Maximize this break to your full benefit by asking God questions before looking at a device. The morning is when your mind is most clear. You decide what to fill it with. Why not God’s voice? Make a list of three questions centered around the purpose of your social media break. For instance one of mine was, “God, how can I serve my marriage today?” If you want to dive more into how to tap into God’s voice, I can help you through personal coaching with me. Train To Reign.
In summary, taking a social media break will give you a fresh start in order to come back with clearer boundaries that work for you. You’ll be surprised what will come up for you during this time. During my break, I realized I wanted to set boundaries for less device time in the morning and the evening. Now, I have a 9 pm to 9 am time frame device free…unless I’m working on a blog post. In a culture of frantic hustle, anxiety and depression hooked on devices and overexposure…take the reigns back. Create a sacred place inside your mind and heart for stillness and peace. Remember, if something is costing your peace, it is too expensive.
A break can really help you if you are preparing for a competition. You need to keep your eyes fixed on the goal, rather than on things that do not serve you. I can help you capitalize on your preparation process so nothing gets in the way of dimming your sparkle. Click here for more info on personal coaching with me. I want to help you win the race God has led you on.
Be still and know that I am God. -Psalm 46:10