I have an addiction.
I am addicted to likes, and comments, and shares, and pictures, and comparison, and judgement, and information, and gossip, and everything else that comes with social media.
I am addicted to sculpting the perfect “insta-worthy” photo. I am addicted to finding the perfect caption. I am addicted to sharing my life with the world.
I am addicted to the validation I get from my social media platforms.
But today, I say NO MORE. Today, I am checking myself into social media rehab.
This afternoon, my mom sent me an article from Time that put my life in perspective. I was ashamed. I was convicted. I was broken.
This article analyzed the interaction of 55 separate family groups, and the effect the parents’ use of smart phones had on the children. In almost every case, the effect was negative. Children were pushed away, kicked under the table, and were made to compete with a device glued to their parents’ hands. Mothers were frustrated, and dads were curt. And while reading the article, I saw how many times I brushed off my daughter’s desire for my touch to view a photo on a screen. I thought of all the times, I had sought to capture the perfect “camera ready moment” while forgetting to actually soak in the perfect moment. I thought of all the times, I snubbed the attention of my husband for the attention of my virtual friends and followers. I thought of all the times, I allowed for what is portrayed on social media to impact the feelings I had toward my home, my husband, and myself.
I have become enslaved to social media. I am in bondage to the extremely limited popularity I gain from my posts. And when it comes down to it, I am guilty of serving two masters. I am living in constant sin, while trying to show the world how sweet my life is.
Now, don’t get me wrong, 90% of what I post is as real as it gets, but it’s the constant need for validation that has a hold on me. I am no better than a girl in school seeking the attention of the “popular kids”. How can I expect to teach my daughter’s their worth, if I can only find my worth on a screen that barely fits in the palm of my hand? How can I expect to have real meaningful moments and relationships, if my mind in only trained to find the Facebook Timeline-worthy moments? How can I desire to see the beauty God has created around me, if my mind is limited to a single square frame? How can my husband and I grow in our intimacy, if I am constantly checking up on the lives of others?
I have a daughter who seeks my attention more than anyone else’s. She needs to see the expression in my eyes when I catch her doing something cute, not the back of a phone. She needs to see the smile across my face without a bright pink block obstructing her view. She needs to know that I care and desire her attention as much as she desires mine.
I have a husband who longs to feel both my hands clutching his while driving down the road. He longs for a full sentence to come out of my mouth during a conversation without the distraction in my palm. He longs for a date that doesn’t require a “look what we did” picture. He deserves a wife that gives him the best of every part of herself, not her insecure comparison leftovers.
Most of all, I have a Creator who longs to know the deepest parts of me. A God who constantly reveals Himself in ways I often miss with my head turned down. He’s given me talents and desires I hardly explore because every free minute is spent staring at a screen. He’s given me glimpses of Heaven I often miss in an attempt to control every situation for the “perfect” post. He deserves every part of me, not the limited just-before-bed time I give Him.
I have been thinking of how I can reverse my addiction for many months and weeks now, but I’ve always been afraid to pull the trigger. I didn’t know what the best strategy for getting rid of my addiction would be, and quite honestly, I was too afraid to. In reality, due to my photography business, and family and close friends living away, getting rid of all social media isn’t the complete answer (yet). But just getting rid of the apps doesn’t do much either, nor does it rid the problem of perfectly posed moments found on the camera roll. And while I would love nothing more than to completely unplug from this crazy world and live in the middle of beautiful nowhere with my family, those dreams simply aren’t realistic. So, the best strategy I have found is to rid my life of the bright pink iPhone 5c that is held in my hands more than my baby. I’m saying goodbye to the smart-phone filled lifestyle I have created in an effort to end this addiction before it gets worse. I am saying goodbye to the need for validation. I am saying goodbye to the comparison I have let steal my joy. I am saying goodbye to the missed moments I’ve spent looking down.
I am looking forward to living life a little dumber. I am looking forward to spending my free time playing with my daughter, laughing with my husband, creating, reading, studying photography, and cooking. I am looking forward to comparing myself to my reflection of yesterday. I am looking forward to life free of addiction.
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”