There’s an on-going debate in our house surrounding the value of social media. It typically ends like this - introvert husband is convinced of the evils of social media; extrovert wife can’t stay off it and argues for its redemptive value. Despite the many arguments I present, the research is not in favor of social media. This recent study confirms what my husband argues on the regular - the use of Facebook is negatively associated with overall well-being.
It goes on to explain why this may happen. “Exposure to the carefully curated images from others’ lives leads to negative self-comparison, and the sheer quantity of social media interaction may detract from more meaningful real-life experiences.”
Have you seen that “Christian Girl” Instagram video? It’s a how-to guide for perfectly framing your Instagram posts to make you look super holy. It’s hilarious, but mostly because it is accurate in its mockery of the lengths we go to present ourselves in the best light. Unfortunately, even if we know that this image of others on social media is not totally true, we see what others are doing and comparison creeps in. Then, in an effort to combat our bad feelings, we try frantically to model our lives after what we see others doing.
It’s particularly challenging for new parents. A few minutes online and you feel like you should make your baby food from scratch with home grown organic veggies harvested from your family garden. (I tried a vegetable garden once, and out of it grew some amazing weeds - thanks internet!) It’s not just parenting, and it’s not a new problem. Paul warned the Romans, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God”.
The difference between “conforming” and “transforming” has a lot to do with the information that we feed into our mind. If our primary input is social media, we’re likely to conform. If our primary input is God and His word, however, we’ll find ourselves transformed to view the world through the lens of God’s “good, pleasing, and perfect will.”
The best part? We don’t have to fake it!