When social media changes your reality
Shalom sisters and welcome back on my blog,
I wasn't that active lately because I needed and still need my time off social media. I have found myself in a kinda unhealthy relationship with my phone and social media in general. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that I post on biblical womanhood. I repost posts, I write short messages for my Instagram stories sharing my thoughts on specific topics, like waiting for marriage, femininity based on scripture and becoming more the women that the Most High wants us to be. It's a daily struggle and a process to grow as a woman who doesn't follow the standards of this world anymore. I think it's a blessing to use social media to connect to like-minded sisters who follow the narrow path and encourage each other to actually stay on that path. We can learn from other women and what they share about their walk. We can learn from wives, mothers, widows, young women and old women on social media. It's a blessing to be able to connect to like-minded people across the world, since most of us do not have sisters who live near us.
So, it's clear that social media is helpful for believers and I personally enjoy talking to sisters via social media. I love to see what they post and get inspired. Sometimes watching a vlog, or a motivational homemaker post inspires and motivates me to do better in my every day life. I for example watch YouTubers that are homemakers and mothers. It gives me an insight of the "every day life" of a mom and homemaker, since this is what I'm aspiring to become. Sometimes I read good Instagram threads of sisters who talk about controversial topics based on biblical womanhood that are very important and talked less about.
The problems we face
But there are some big problems which I stumbled across intensively the past months. I realised that there is something about the social media fellowship (or actually community, since Instagram is a virtual community with international like-minded believers) that needs to be talked about.
Let me name a few points that we face when we use social media:
- Pressure to catch up with everything and everyone
- too much input
- too many opinions
- EVERYONE has to have something to say
- suddenly everyone is qualified to state and analyse an issue
- making an issue out of everything
- making a big deal out of little things just to have something to talk and rant about
- degrading other believers because everyone is a qualified bible teacher now
- more rebuke than self-reflection and approaches
- making an idol of sub-topics that are just a part of the Bible, meaning that most people just focus on ONE thing they are interested in (for example the book of Enoch) while ignoring the rest of scripture and what our calling on this earth is.
- RABBIT HOLES
- unrealistic expectation of life
- fuzzy reality
This is a very long list of things that can be very toxic on the internet. I'm specifically talking about Instagram and YouTube since these are the platforms that I use regularly. I already posted some thoughts on my Instagram story and I wrote that it feels like everyone feels qualified to be in a certain position to lead people. People feel pressured to take some kind of special position to be a worthy servant of God. It's like, you have to stand for something, have a ministry, institutional mission, be a Youtuber, a blogger or an aesthetic person on Instagram that shares the best tipps and life advice. You probably think 'well, aren't you a blogger and someone who shares thoughts and tipps on Instagram?'. Yes, I am a woman who shares her journey with other sisters. But not because I felt bored and called to do that but because I found myself being asked for advice by younger sisters. I just posted some recipes on my page while reposting other biblical womanhood related posts. I posted my homemaking and things I was allowed to learn from the women of the Bible. I started to make stories where I write about topics that I talk about with my sisters, where I knew that other sisters would benefit from. This is how I started becoming a person that other women can identify with. This is why some women watch youtubers that make vlogs. As a mother you can identify with other mothers who might have a similar lifestyle. As a female follower of Christ, you can identify with other women who take up their cross every day to follow Christ. You might feel connected to these women, and interested in what they have learned on their journey.
Women who start to share their lives, thoughts and tipps mostly do that because they have other women asking them and being interested in how they handle this and that.
But before a woman starts to take advantage of a position like that, she should be a student first. I'm a life long disciple of Christ. I know I will never be able to be a perfect and wise woman. But I do know, that I have the responsibility to become a Titus 2, to be an example for younger women by the way I live. I will one day have to teach younger women, how to be women of God. Which means I have to learn these things myself FIRST. We can't give advice about issues we never experienced and learned from ourselves. We can only talk about what the Most High has already shown us. I can't give great marriage tipps yet, but I can talk about HOW I PREPARE myself for marriage. I can only teach and give advice on topics that concern me.
When inspiration becomes a distraction
Nevertheless, sometimes it's not needed to constantly give advice and opinions. It's not always needed and healthy to be influenced by other people or be the one influencing others. Don't get me wrong, it's very helpful to learn from other people, but this can sometimes become an idol as well. We can forget who our real teacher is. We forget biblical standards because we focus more on how other people handle their problems and what they think, believe and do.
I already mentioned some aspects that can have a bad impact on us, if we are not careful with what and how much we consume. Too many people stating plenty of different opinions, too much information, drama and rabbit holes over the smallest topics can lead us to confusion and being overwhelmed. The internet gives room to make every topic you look up an obsession or an idol. For example 'femininity'. If we focus on being feminine only, only look up femininity related accounts and videos, etiquette videos, how to be feminine tutorials, feminine aesthetic and everything else that is feminine related, we start to land on pages that define femininity outside of the biblical perspective. We can get easily distracted by 'sub-topics' and small things that distract us from crucifying our flesh and becoming daughters of God. We can fall into that internet bubble where we focus too much on something that isn't sound doctrine anymore.
It's the same with brothers having this obsession over the book of Enoch, fallen angels and endtime prophecies ONLY, while completely forgetting about the gospel and dying to flesh every day so we can be real disciples of God and a light to others.
Instagram and YouTube can be misused. The enemy wants us to fall into rabbit holes and be distracted. We need to have a sober mindset to be able to observe information and to FILTER that information before we start to feel overwhelmed. We need to be stable in what we think and believe. Especially we as women, who are easily emotional and easy influenced, need to learn to filter different information and be students of the word of God, so we can distinguish unnecessary input from biblical truth and information that can be helpful in our walk.
Another aspect is the aesthetic that we see all over Instagram and even YouTube. Everything can be portrayed beautifully and perfect, but in reality biblical womanhood and life cannot look the same everywhere. Feminine aesthetic is beautiful and I love to save beautiful pictures on Pinterest, BUT I know that this is not real life and my life won't look as cottagecore aesthetic as someones portrayed life on the internet. We can be inspired by pictures to optimise our own home or looks, but we cannot make it a standard and constantly compare ourselves to beautiful women on Instagram, or perfect aesthetic pictures on Pinterest. I can‘t compare a perfect and big kitchen to my kitchen and feel bad for not having this perfect and aesthetic kitchen. Even vlogs of feminine and womanhood related YouTubers are not always showing real life, but only a snippet that is being prepared to be filmed.
we are all human, we all wake up, go to the bathroom, have a messy home sometimes, bad hair day or a kitchen that may not look as beautiful as other women’s kitchens on Pinterest.
This is where jealousy can become a problem as well. A hidden jealousy that makes us ungrateful for the things that we have. We focus more on what we could have instead of showing gratitude for what God already gave us! This is extremely dangerous and we need to face reality and be in reality. The internet world distorts our reality and feelings.
Am I using social media or is social media using me?
We need to have a mindset, where we use our phones and social media and not have Social Media and our phones use us. We need to be more in the word and stand firm to what the Bible says and not easily be influenced by different people who may sound wise and have knowledge. We need to be able to filter information and proof with scripture.
I want to encourage you to reflect on your usage of social media and what it does with your brain and life. Be more in reality, in real life and appreciate what you have. Appreciate it and make the best of it for the Heavenly Father. Not for others to see. Not for the applause of others. Unfollow pages and people that make you feel bad about your life. If you feel like you can’t be inspired without having negative feelings, you should work more on your life and yourself. If Social Media uses and influences you more than it should, you need to take a break.
Let‘s put away our phones more often and work with what we have. Get inspired by our reality, people around us and nature. Let‘s not depend on the internet world and people online in an unhealthy way.
God bless you! Ranya x