Life-giving Social Media

We’ve all heard the woes of social media. “It’s just full of negativity.” “It makes me feel bad about myself.” “It just leads to comparison.” “It only shows peoples highlight reels.” And all of these things could be true… but they don’t have to be.

There are several changes you can make that can turn social media from a negative into a life-giving, positive part of your life.

1.) Change who you’re following. Let me let you in on a little secret that I think people often forget: you don’t HAVE to follow anyone. No one is forcing you. Each and every person you follow is YOUR choice. So if you’re following someone who only posts about negative things, and it brings you down, then right now head on over to their profile and hit unfollow. If there’s someone who everything they post causes you to be discontent with your life, unfollow them.

On the flip side, there are AMAZING people out there to follow. I’ll be honest, I don’t have negative feelings about social media. In fact, I actually consider it a life-giving part of my life. You want to know why? Because I follow some pretty awesome people. I follow people whose posts encourage me in my faith, inspire me in my motherhood, teach me more about the world of foster care and adoption, make me laugh, make me think, and a myriad of other things. So what about you? Do you follow people or ministries or organizations that post content that encourages and challenges you? Do you follow people who have similar interests as you that could help you grow in that area? Or better yet, do you follow people that you can actually connect with and message with? It may sound silly, but I have found some pretty incredible community of like-minded women that I have connected with via Instagram. They have encouraged me and prayed for me, and I have done the same for them. My hope is that you find some amazing people to follow and connect with as well.

2.) Change what you’re posting. Sometimes we need to take a good hard look at our own self before addressing others. Ever hear that Bible verse about not worrying about the speck in someone else’s eye, when you’ve got a log in your own? Yea, that applies here too. So think about it – are you contributing to the problem? Are you complaining about the negativity on social media, but then being negative yourself? Are you complaining about people just being fake on social media, but then being fake yourself?

Let’s be better. I’m not saying you have to get online and share the most vulnerable part of yourself (although sometimes you may end up doing so, if the Lord leads you to), or that you can’t share your awesome vacation photos, or pictures of your cute kids (because let’s be real, half of what I post is just cute pictures of my son!). But what I am saying is just like you want to read other people’s posts that uplift you, encourage you, make you laugh, make you think, challenge you, or inspire you – others want and need that too. So let’s think about what we’re posting. Let’s pray about what we’re posting. Let’s use what we’re posting to benefit others, not bring others down.

3.) This last one just may be the most important of them all. Change your perspective. Just like pretty much everything in life, your perspective determines what you think and how you feel about social media. Let me give some examples of perspective change. And if you’re not a mom, forgive me for using mostly motherhood related examples – it’s just what I know well. Example #1: You see a post about something cool another mom did with her kids. Rather than feel bad about the fact that you haven’t done anything like that with your kids in awhile, try changing your perspective to one of feeling inspired to maybe try something new and different with your kids. Or maybe that type of activity is not something you would foresee yourself doing with your kids because it’s just not your motherhood style – own that and be happy for her that she is living out her own motherhood style as well. Example #2: You see a post of a beautiful family photo taken on the beach, and your first reaction is to be bitter that they got to go on an awesome trip and you didn’t, or bitter that she somehow got all of her kids to actually look at the camera at the same time and you never can. Try changing your perspective to one of being HAPPY for someone else. Be happy for them that they got to experience a great family vacation. And you can hope that you get to go on an awesome trip sometime soon too. But there’s a difference in hoping you get to do something and being jealous and spiteful that someone else got to do it. Example #3: You see someone’s post about all of the horrible things going on in their life or in the world. You could think, ughh gosh, why do they always have to be so negative?? But try changing your perspective to see opportunities to pray or care for someone who clearly needs it. Even if the prayer is just that they will be able to see life more positively and experience more joy. Do you see what I mean? They aren’t huge changes – just little tweaks in our perspective and how we think – but they can end up making a huge change in your overall social media experience.

Can social media be a bad thing? Absolutely. Just like many things in life. But it doesn’t have to be. It’s all in how you use it. And when you use it well, it can not only be a life-giving source in your own life, but you can also use it to be a life-giving source in other people’s lives as well. In fact, you can even use it as a part of living in God’s Bigger Picture – loving others, encouraging others, and ultimately pointing people to Jesus. I hope you will join me in the journey to do so!

For His glory,

Megan Downer

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