on the internet and social media: to use or not to use, and how?

In the past week I have had several conversations with friends about how the internet affects their lives, positively and negatively, and how they try to manage it. Also, I came across this excellent article by Tim Challies about “competitive mothering” which touches on how social media particularly influences mothers (this counter-perspective post makes several good points too). I think it is no secret that while the internet and various social media sites can be an invaluable resource, there is also a level of discernment that is necessary to use it well.

The dangers inherent are many – and some people choose to completely abstain from the wide world of Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and the blogosphere. And perhaps they are right to do so. Each of us will be held accountable for our own decisions and our own families. For myself, I love being inspired by other people’s creativity which often fuels my own creative side, most of the new recipes that we try are found via Pinterest or Allrecipes.com, and I am very often edified by Christ-focused, home-centered homemakers whom I have met online (truly they are more valuable and hard to find in this world than rubies!). And yet…

We have an adversary who wants to destroy us through any means possible…and we have our own flesh that is all too willing to give in. Have you been there? Hopping online to check your bank account balance or look up a phone number, then quickly you check your Facebook wall and notice how everyone else seems to have lost more weight, moved into a bigger and more charming house, is married to a more thoughtful husband, etc etc… OR suddenly feel very smug about how you seem to have things together a little more admirably than others? This has been a challenge for me. Suddenly a downward thought-spiral has begun and a half hour or more has been wasted on considering another’s home rather than minding affairs of my own household (Proverbs 31:27).

Sometimes I need to step away from the information overload* for a time of refreshing. Often I need to have my heart refocused on God’s call on my life to be self-controlled and at work in my home (Titus 2). And I think that’s really what it comes down to for me – to what extent is my online activity furthering these aims, along with the commission to all Christians in Matthew 28:18-20?

Here are a few guidelines that I have put/am putting in place for myself:

– routine fasts. simple as that. i need a break from time to time. this helps me to not become too “addicted” and can be a nice refreshing change.

– daytime off hours. i don’t want to be online for more than a few minutes while my kids are awake during the day. i need to be fully present with them and fully engaged in the work at hand, especially being their mom.

– Spirit checks. sometimes after spending a bit of time on Pinterest or another site i feel mysteriously grumpy…comparison, discouragement, etc can set in. when being online is not blessing or inspiring my life or giving me an opportunity to bless or inspire someone else, it’s time to log off. a certain blog is making me feel a lesser mother? un-follow! search out the true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable…(Philippians 4:8) and leave the rest.

There’s just too much life to live! A husband to love, kids to train, a home to keep, a world to win…<3

Your thoughts? How do you find balance in this area of your life?

Jordan

*Some thoughts on “information overload”…has there ever been a time in history when so much information has been at our fingertips? When people could keep up with more than just a few neighbors and local friends and family?   I sometimes feel like there are sooooo many people in our lives, when, perhaps – our circle has extended wider and wider and wider so much that it is really impossible to keep up with everyone, so we end up trying in vain and basically doing right by no one. By God’s grace I hope that we pursue every meaningful relationship that we should, but also recognize the limits that he has placed on us and accept them as for our good and His glory.

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2 thoughts on “on the internet and social media: to use or not to use, and how?

  1. Excellent Jordan…very wise woman! I agree w/ all you have said and would add that with the social media, “hopping in and out” of people’s lives, I have found that I get snippets of their lives to satisfy my wondering how they are doing, thus have made less and less personal contacts with them. Also, it has become clear to me that the more time I spend “spot checking” things online, so is that reflected in my time w/ the Lord. Spot prayers, spot checking my sinfulness…and not truly letting the conviction penetrate my hardened heart enough to STOP it! Not necessarily BAD things, but as you have said, I have a husband to love, children, friends and neighbors to encourage and a home to care for. I even find myself “spot” cleaning for a few weeks before it see it’s time to put my “busy-ness” aside and deep clean…my house AND my heart. Just some random thoughts I had…

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