My phone does a great job at helping me pass the time.
During quarantine, as the days went by, I found myself obsessively checking on my phone every fifteen minutes. My average screen time was at least 4 hours per day. Ridiculous! Nearly 90% of the time was spent on social media, especially on Instagram. Gradually, I found myself less being motivated to draw close to God. My attention was switched from the Word to those fleeting Instagram stories. Therefore, I challenged myself to “detox”, staying away from Instagram for a while. I was tired of living virtually. I wanted to live in Christ to the fullest even in this social-distancing period.
I began to seriously examine my relationship with the Lord after leaving Instagram. I realized that I wasn’t loving the Lord wholeheartedly. From the way I spent my time daily, it was difficult to tell I was actively following Jesus. Though I read the Bible daily and I prayed before I went to sleep, my heart was far away from God. I did the churchy stuff, perhaps, just for the sake of doing it. I didn’t love God fully. I did not love Him with all my heart, all my soul, all my strength, and all my mind.
But after a month of digital detoxing, I find my thirst for knowing God fully has increased and that I begin to worship and pray intrinsically daily. I grew so much more spiritually and find so much joy in the Lord. Here are three specific ways of how digital detoxing draws me closer to God:
1. Withdrawing from the “crowd” helps me focus on God’s Word.
Social media in today’s world has become everyone’s expression outlet. We post family pictures, funny videos, and everything in between. The people we follow on social media are doing it daily, if not hourly.
They are like a “crowd” on social media, constantly bombarding our minds with their’ updates, thoughts, emotion . . . This crowd takes away our attention to God in a gradual yet dreadful process—they present stuff that seems to be “better” and more “attractive” than God’s Word.We must realize that we need Jesus. We need to remain in Him. In order to do that, we must not remain in something else. Click To Tweet
Breaking away from this crowd gives me tranquility at heart to realign my mind to God’s, to seek Him more, and stay focused on Him. In fact, Jesus, being fully God and fully man, withdrew from the crowd to pray to the Father. After feeding the five thousand, Jesus left the crowd and “went up on the mountain to pray” (Mark 6:46). Our Lord Jesus actively sought the Father even in His divine being. We must realize that we need Jesus. We need to remain in Him. In order to do that, we must not remain in something else.
2. Digital Detoxing stops me from comparing and reminds me of my true identity.
This relates to everyone who is active on social media. In fact, Instagram disabled the function to view the number of likes on posts, since people are constantly comparing their likes with other’s, which results in a growing percentage of anxiety and insecurity among users. This happened to me as well.With less comparison, it’s much easier to remind myself that my worth hinges on the Father’s love. Click To Tweet
No matter how many times I told myself that my worth isn’t based on how many likes I received or how many people were following me, I still struggled with comparison, ended up feeling less worth. Though breaking away from Instagram doesn’t immediately fix the whole problem, I at least stopped comparing. With less comparison, it’s much easier to remind myself that my worth hinges on the Father’s love. Even though I am unworthy to be loved by God, His love has proven that I am equally worthy in His eyes with those I believe are more worthy than me.
3. Getting rid of Instagram helps me examine my heart.
My generation (myself included) tends to showcase everything we do to the world. We post our morning coffees, vacation scenery, and everything in between on our social media platforms. Even when we serve at church or volunteer, we are so tempted to let people know that we did the “good thing.”
Though I’m not saying that all who share their volunteering experiences on social media are “modern Pharisees”, I do mean that we should examine our hearts in whatever we do. Are we showing it to the world for likes and kind comments? Are we simply documenting our experiences? Those are questions we have to answer. I was definitely one of these who obsessively update my everyday life on my Instagram story. From my thoughts on a book to serving, I couldn’t help but make sure that everything was updated on my Instagram. In fact, this “look at me” mentality is not biblical either. Jesus made it clear that when we give, we shouldn’t let our left hand know what our right hand is doing; and when we pray, we should go into our room and shut our door (Matthew 6:3,6).
There is nothing wrong with sharing our life, or even the Gospel, on social media. However, we should examine our hearts in every way we walk and breaking away from social media really helps as we evaluate our habits and lifestyles.
In conclusion, after a month of digital detoxing, I find myself realigning my heart to the Lord’s and become more aware of living a life to glorify Jesus, even in the pettiest things.
Despite being stuck in the middle of a pandemic, we aren’t excused to live a lazier lifestyle. We are still running the race. I believe God is using His megaphone to tell us to pause our lifestyle and seek Him fully with our heart, especially during this lock-down season.
Therefore, let us not waste this time, but maximize all our strength and capacities to follow Jesus.