Written By Angela Jones
Social media is a great tool, but it can also have a negative effect in the form of inciting comparison. I have a love/hate relationship with social media, and I don’t think I am alone! I love it when I am strong spiritually and emotionally and my response is celebratory when I see other’s moments. But whenever I feel like those two areas of my life are a little weaker, social media then becomes negative for me, and comparison sets in strong. Comparison becomes a louder voice than God’s in my life.
Let’s remove social media from our lives for a moment. Our purpose as Christians is to love God and cultivate a relationship with Him. Through our relationship with Him, we get to know His voice, His thoughts and His purpose for our lives. His hopes and plan for our lives become our purpose! When we go through a tough time in our lives, where we are unaware of the next step to take, or even just a feeling of loneliness sets in, we usually turn to Him for the answer, whether quickly or slowly, we make the journey in our hearts to hear Him. God is our source.
Now, let’s bring social media back into our lives. It’s great! It shares highlights of our lives and brings a lot of beauty to our screens. I love seeing people celebrate moments in their lives and share them with me.
However, if we are not careful, social media can slowly edge its way into being the louder voice in our lives. It can be the voice that now sets the standard of how we are to live. How? Well, we all need to remember that every person’s story is different, they are on a path that is designed for them and the time they take to walk their path is different than ours. We can slowly allow these highlights to set the standard of how our lives should be unfolding.
So when life gets difficult and frustration sets in about the pace of events unfolding in our lives, we can start comparing. Discouragement becomes our mood, taking our focus off what God had originally shown us for our lives. Comparison and complaining are now a stronger theme in our mind because God seems to not be favouring us with amazing moments.
I speak from experience—I have complained about areas in my life because they seem to be stuck, compared to what I’ve seen on the screen in my hand. There are things in my life where I wish they were further ahead than they are, and when I see specific moments people share from their lives, due to my human nature I can become discouraged.
In those moments of discouragement, I start to question God’s goodness towards me. If I never opened my phone would I have these wrestling conversations with God? Yes, but probably not as frequently, and my motivation for the conversation with Him would be about His spoken promises for me, not about so-and-so and their moments and successes.
There are moments in our lives when we are at the fork in the road where God meets social media. See, in the past, when social media was out of the picture, we went straight to God regarding things in our lives—now that social media has entered our world, the fear is that we go to social media to see how well we are doing. Social media does not know God’s plans for you; it is unaware of the path He has for you and what will unfold! Yet, somehow we take its cues to let us know if we are succeeding. What we are to do is go to God’s Word and measure our lives and growth against it.
When we start to compare our lives with the pictures and words we see on a screen, stop! We need to take a breath and turn our hearts toward God and ask Him for His heart for our lives. Ask Him to unfold what He has you do! His dreams for you are “exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). It would be sad if our lives were capped at what social media says is greatness, when I know God’s plans supersede all of that.
Instead of comparing through social media, celebrate! Learn to celebrate what is happening in other’s lives. Trust me, it can be difficult, but it is so worth it! When you celebrate others, you are saying to the world that you trust God and His plans for you! God will see your celebrating heart and honour you! He’s just that good!
Remember we are all on a unique journey designed specifically for each one of us and we are the only ones that can live it out well!