Lessons I Learned When I Took a Break from Social Media
I recently took a social media break that I never set an end date for. I initially intended it to only last a week or two, but it stretched into a little over a month. It was wonderful. But also a bit of a letdown. Wonderful, because wow, not having to come up with anything intelligent or inspiring (and especially aesthetic) was so freeing. I got to forget all about likes, comments, and followers for an entire month. I didn’t have to take or edit photos that I hoped would be eye catching. I didn’t have to try and keep up with the social media game. It was so nice.
So how was my month off a letdown?
It didn’t meet my expectations for that time.
Sure, part of my hopes for the time off was to simply have a break. But I also expected to finally get my social media/phone problem under control. I expected to come back from my time away refreshed and rejuvenated, full of new ideas and motivation for my social media. I expected to have big revelations about where to go with my blog – the topics I should be writing on, the “next big thing” I can do with it.
That didn’t happen.
I’m really no better at controlling the time I spend on my phone than I was before.
And I don’t have any great ideas and inspiration for the future. In fact, I’m feeling emptier than before.
My social media break led to me missing a few weeks of blog posts as well, which was never my intention. But once I stopped one thing, it was easy to let everything slide.
But, even though my social media break didn’t meet my expectations, it wasn’t a total waste. Here are three things I learned from my lackluster social media break that I didn’t expect.
1) God has good timing.
I thought that I started my social media break because I was just getting tired of it and needed a break. But looking back, I think social media would’ve fallen to the wayside anyways. Or, if I hadn’t made the decision to take a break, I would’ve continued to force myself to do it resulting in bad, rushed posts, and a very stressed out Shaneen. During my break I spoke at my parents’ church, I was in the bridal party of my best friend’s wedding, I started a new job, and I was really struggling with some things personally. Social media was very much NOT a priority with all of that going on. God knew what was coming up for me, and He knew that I needed to take something off my plate.
Listen when God is telling you to say no or take a break. He can see the whole picture and He knows what is possible for us to handle. Even if it seems like a small, strange thing, or random timing, God could be giving or taking away the right thing at the right moment.
2) I don’t know what I’m supposed to be learning.
Wait, I thought the whole point of this post was to tell you what I learned...
I think one of the more popular “Christian” questions is “What is God teaching you in this season?” (Hands up if you’ve ever been asked that!) My answer to that right now is: I don’t really know. I’m not receiving any great revelations and I can’t really pinpoint one big theme that I think God is working on in me right now.
But I have discovered what I need to learn.
And I’m okay with that, because I think knowing what you need to learn is a necessary precursor to learning it.
I’m needing to learn a little more discipline (send tips for time management and keeping me off my phone!). And a big thing that I know I need to work on (and that I also know is a lifelong journey) is trusting God.
I have been struggling with anxiety this month. A lot. I’m sick of worrying about things I can’t change. And I’m sick of feeling completely unnecessary panic at the strangest moments.
There’s been a lot of prayers and a lot of worship. But the moments of anxiety still come and I still get stuck in my head and struggle to give it over to God. I don’t have the ultimate solution for dealing with this. I keep expecting to be free, and then it pops up again. While I do know ways to deal with my anxious thoughts, I’m still in the middle of a process of learning to give them to God EVERY TIME. It’s not an easy lesson to master.
If you don’t know what God is trying to speak to you right now, that’s okay. And if you feel you’ve been learning the same thing for longer than you should’ve been, I’m right there with you. Keep seeking Him. The rest will follow.
3) Don’t give up.
Four weeks into my break and two missed blog posts later, my husband was talking with me about how my blog was going. Um, not great.... He knew what was going on in our lives and he said it was okay to take a break. But I wasn’t allowed to quit. He told me he wasn’t going to let me give up. It was exactly the kick in the pants I needed.
Letting my break go on indefinitely until I never came back would’ve been easy. But quitting would be ignoring why I started in the first place. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. It was going to be purpose-full.
It’s okay to take breaks. But don’t give up. Remember why you started. Remember God’s call. And keep going.
Even though my social media break didn’t go as I’d expected, it wasn’t wasted. God can use all situations to teach us if we’re listening.
What is something you’ve learned when you totally weren’t expecting to?