I can’t remember the exact year without looking it up, but I remember signing up for Facebook with my university email address. I remember the years before that, having a MySpace page. If I knew then what I know now it would be so much easier to have never started. Social media became an absolute drain on my life, specifically my Christianity and along with that any sense of morality.
For many people, maybe social media isn’t a problem. For me, it very much was. The hours I would spend scrolling, posting, responding, messaging were all elements of a common trouble for me. I needed gratification. For whatever reason, I never felt like I was good enough for things, I never felt deserving, and chased that feeling of instant gratification. The one place I didn’t chase for it was with God.
What was it about the gratification of social media that was so much better than what I had at home? Most importantly was what it became for me. It became a place where I could constantly see what other people had, and quickly became what I wanted. Whether it was food, objects, or even women. It became a place to look and lust after a wide range of things, and all of them led to sin.
So back in January of this year, I deleted all of my accounts. It’s been amazing to be rid of it. I did it all cold turkey, so at first it was a little rough. I found myself feeling a sense of boredom and just wanting to scroll through them (Facebook/Instagram). However, it became easier and easier over time to just forget about it. The overwhelming negativity was gone. I wasn’t constantly enveloped in everyone’s political opinions, social opinions written as expertise, women posing for various pictures, videos, etc. Thankfully, during all of this time I was spending more time in my Bible, volunteered more time at the church, and became more personally involved in my small group.
I’ve discussed this very topic with a few guys in my men’s group. What I always tell them is that it was the right thing for me. I can’t be the judge on what is a universal temptation and what isn’t. What I do believe though, is that social media has become something that can be very dangerous for men, and especially Christian men. The amount of soul garbage on social media only continues to increase. I made a decision that was good for me. I’ll never tell anyone, “You should stop using all social media.” I will though, explain to them why it was important for me to make the personal decision to give it up.
I see it the same way with sharing my relationship with Jesus. I’ll never tell someone, “You have to do this now.” Forcing someone to do something or to make that decision does not create an effective relationship between them and Christ. What I will choose to do, similar to giving up social media, is always explain to people why I chose to truly give my heart to God. By others understanding where I was as a man, all my failures, my shame, my flesh desires and giving those to God and allowing my relationship with Him to replace all of that is what is important to know. I can’t do anything on my own. My flesh desires sin. My soul desires God. There’s a constant battle there, and we each have to choose which side we’re gonna support, which to feed because we can’t feed both.
For the longest time I held on to “reasons” why I didn’t want to give up my social media. Excuses like, “this is how I communicate with family and friends” or “this is just where I post pictures” were masking what I really wanted. I wanted a place to escape my normal. I wanted a place where I could try to fulfill my desires.
I can tell you that over time it became very easy to forget about social media. It’s not something I desire anymore. When people ask if I have it I answer, “No, I gave it up.” Sometimes they’ll ask why and it’s an opportunity to explain my past, some of my testimony and Jesus. Other times, they simply respond, “That’s what I should do too.“
I know for me, social media became a tool of sin. I don’t know where it is for others, but I pray that everyone goes to God with their specific situation. That they’re able to take account of what tools of sin may be in their life, and be bold. God has rewarded me greatly by improving my marriage and my relationship with my kids. Beyond that, it has improved how I communicate with others, and has given me more chances to be a witness to the change only God can make.