I sit here and write this in my photo studio, which, annoyingly, doesn’t have wifi. But today, this feels like a perk. Lately, I’ve found myself feeling overwhelmed when it comes to social media, and so I’m considering a few hours of forced no-internet time a rare opportunity. It’s an opportunity to sit with myself and reflect on my relationship with social media (first world problems, am I right?).
You see, I don’t know who I am anymore, and I’ve always felt like I’ve known who I am. Yeah, sure, I know my job and my dogs and my name, but I couldn’t even tell you if I actually like avocado toast or if I just think I like it because it photographs well. (Okay wait, I totally do love avocado toast but I seriously didn’t like it before Instagram). Social media has provided me with so much inspiration—from what to eat to what to wear to where to hike. I don’t think there is anything wrong with this, but the problem lies in that it has fully consumed me and taken over my identity. Maybe not everyone struggles with social media addiction to the extent I do, or wishes to paint their lives in this perfectly ornate way so it will photograph well for Instagram, but I think many of us can agree that social media has taken over so much of our lives that it’s almost impossible not to do anything without our phones in our back pocket.
My social media addiction has caused me to forget my own identity. As a photographer, it’s hard to not be checking up on Instagram. It has bombarded my mind so much that I don’t remember what it is that I, personally, like to photograph. My waking hours are spent rolling out of bed and onto my phone, and when I fall asleep, I’m holding my phone instead of my husband’s hand. I hate that. So I decided to take a little break. No social media for the rest of the month!
I’ve done cleanses like this many times, and in all honesty, I’ve cracked a few times this past month, but removing it from my life for a short period of time has helped. It has helped me remember my core. More importantly, it has helped me remember who God created me to be, rather than who social media has created me to be. And it’s been refreshing.
It’s been refreshing because it has forced me to spend my waking hours reading my Bible. Instead of allowing social media to dictate who I want to be that day and how I want to present myself to the world, I wake up and embrace the silence (both physically and mentally) and ask God to start my day for me. After all, I like to think that the Internet could blow up and not exist tomorrow, but that it wouldn’t even matter because I would still have my worth in God.
Social media isn’t wrong, but allowing it to become an idol in my life certainly isn’t where God wants me to be. And so that’s what I’m challenging myself to do each and every day: to remove the (many) idols in my life that keep me from my full potential in God. And suddenly, suddenly I start to remember who I am again.