*This post has been updated April 30, 2020 with my discoveries on this topic. Please see the bottom of this post. Thanks for sharing the journey!
Is anybody else weary with the insecurity battle?
Because I am so sick of it.
Social media has chained me to a daily, sometimes hourly, battle with anxiety and people pleasing. Granted, most of the time I win the battle.
Sometimes the battle is only a few seconds long:
- see other people’s pictures/highlights
- compare myself briefly
- take that thought captive
- shake-off said comparison
- move on to celebrating and enjoying my people
Regardless of how long it takes me to battle this comparison temptation, I still have to engage in the fight.
I also face a battle every time I check my notifications: did I get a like, a share, or a comment today? This skirmish can end up on one of two battlefields.
1. If the answer is yes, then my need-to-be-impressive will be satisfied today. This means I must contend with my flesh/old self who has just received a fresh boost of self-confidence. The evil within my own heart is ever-at-the-ready to seize these moments and live by self-reliance instead of God-dependance.
2. Or I don’t receive attention for a post I worked on for hours to share with my “audience.” This battlefield is far more familiar than scenario 1. My unavoidable disappointment ushers me onto the battle ground where I fight with doubt: “is God even working in and through me?” I spar with pride as I try to overcompensate for this sense of insignificance. I face the giants of depression, anxiety, exhaustion, people-pleasing, and comparison on this battle ground, and eventually, by God’s grace, I win. Throw the confetti and call me victorious (do you detect the sarcasm?).
Playing it out:
Let’s say this is an actual battlefield that I have the choice to walk onto or not. How would I, in my right mind, assume I had the stamina, much less the skill, go back onto the field every 3 – 5 times a day, every day of the week, for years upon years?!
Also, what would I be trying to prove? Is mining for rare gems on that ugly battlefield feels so enjoyable to me that I would risk the wounding from a battle I am not even required to participate in? Call it masochism or maybe insanity, but I call it social media.
What does the Commander require?
With the time I spend battling the petty giants of my insecurities, I could be waging war on child trafficking. I could be praying for my neighbors who haven’t heard the gospel. I could swing my sword at the bondage that pornography and the casual sex culture has chained my dearest friends into.
Kingdom-minded combat is waiting for me to don my armor. I am tired of wasting my prayer-requests and journal pages on a fight with my own insecurity… a battle that I myself exacerbate through constant social media checking.
It’s time for me to be engaging in a better battle. Which means I have to say no to ever entering this one.
Yours ever, humbly bowing out of the brawl with insecurity,
I ended my social media break in April 2020, after just 6 months thanks to corona virus.
Quitting social media did shift my anxiety and battles with insecurity.
I did feel liberated from the need to get online approval. In fact, I felt nervous to get back on social media for this reason. I’ve been set free from a daily battle, I don’t want to engage in it again.
However, I still struggled with people-pleasing and comparison in real life. So the problem wasn’t solved, rather shifted.
New Action Plan: celebrate other’s posts! Be grateful I get to cheer them on them rather than discouraged I don’t have a similar highlight. Take breaks from social media daily, weekly, and monthly. Keep my eyes on Jesus.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
Regarding the spiritual battlefield, I didn’t find myself instantly championing in other areas after I quit social media. I still lived my stay-present mama life, teaching college students more about Jesus and cheering my husband on in youth ministry. Getting off social media and away from the comparison trap did not give me insight into some epic arena God was calling me to pray-battle in.
My life remains normal and that is important too.
New Action plan: adjust my expectations for life, prayer and spiritual warfare.
For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. Ephesians 6:12
Lastly, I had hoped to inspire others and we’d all break out of the insecurity prison together. Apparently my break-up inspired a few lovely souls. Mostly, though, people note that it is unrealistic to leave social media altogether, even if it causes them emotional strain. Breaks are imperative for social media health, but the balance must be sustainable.
New Action plan: instead of blazing the trail for a social-media-less life, perhaps the greatest help I could give others is defining helpful fences or boundaries to make social media less anxiety-prone?
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Read more about my discoveries here: 12 Things I learn from my Break from Social Media.