Going Off The Grid

It was New Years Day, and like Jennifer, I’ve never been much of a resolutions gal. I’m not very structured, and locking myself into “have-to’s” is the perfect way to make me go insane. Well, this year on New Years Day we were out on our boat, beached up at Peanut Island. It was gorgeous weather, and naturally I needed to snap a selfie of me and my son. I quickly posted it on my Instagram story….because if it ain’t on The Gram, it didn’t happen. Am I right?

I found myself, in that moment, wondering what it would be like if I wasn’t so focused on taking pictures only to turn around and post them somehow. I mean, how much time was I spending looking down at my phone, making sure I chose the best GIF and font color to accentuate my TMI, nobody probably cares, story post?

In addition to this, what must my kids think when they look over at me only to see the top of my head so many times throughout a day? (Besides, eeeek! Momma needs her roots done!)

Then it came to me: what if I went off completely?

I started to get really excited about it. Like, ‘Stepbrothers let’s make bunk beds so we have more room for activities’ excited. How much more present would I be if I wasn’t always worried about getting the perfect photo? How much more useful information could I fill my mind with, if instead of mindlessly scrolling while I rock my baby to sleep, I listened to motivational podcasts or worship music?

Being a 7 on the Enneagram, I am one that thrives off spontaneous decisions. I don’t always think things through entirely, which can sometimes be harmful, but other times in life it has really served me well. If I’m going to sit around and think about it for a week then I’ll probably talk myself out of it, so why not just go with it?

So I did.

I’m only a little over a month in, but it feels good y’all. I am totally out of the loop with anything going on socially, and I’m okay with that. Oh, Whoosey Whatsit is vegan now? And So & So colored their hair? Cool! But I am ok not knowing about it.

I’m still extremely involved with the people I do life with, and have a big family group chat to keep in touch with those far away. On date nights with my husband, my phone stays in my purse. When I’m at the park with my kids, I look at them for real. Not just through the lens of my phone. When I’m at a red light, I’m learning to be okay just sitting at a freaking red light. Guys, when did our culture collectively start getting bored so easily, that we feel the urge to scroll through social media posts when our car is stopped for more than 60 seconds? (Just me?)

It was quite humbling that first week to see how many times I mindlessly went to click on the Instagram or Facebook app, only to remember they were no longer there. Wow, did I really do it that much? In addition to that, my screen time went down by 2 hours a day. Two. Hours. That’s just disturbing.

So far, these are the truths that have been reinforced for me through this process:

1. My Identity Doesn’t Come From Others. Like in a previous post I wrote, finding our identity in others is a dangerous place to be. After all, we can’t count on people to be constant. Like really constant. Some do a super good job, but at the end of the day, they are still human. If part of why I feel good about myself comes from how many likes I get on a picture I posted, who comments, and how many followers I have, then something more pressing needs to be addressed. My worth cannot come from others; it can only come from the One who never changes.

2. It’s Okay to Not Know Everything. I know some of you must be thinking, “Gee, someone needs to get this girl a flip phone and a pocketbook while she’s at it.” It’s very counter-cultural to take a step back from the way our society is headed: a social-media centered world. And listen, I know some of you have businesses to run and things to promote and the truth is, you need social media to do that! I also don’t believe that social media in itself is bad. There is so much good that comes with it. (Like a Meme that makes you pee your pants.) However, it really is okay if you don’t know every single thing, all the time, about every person you’ve ever met. Likewise, they don’t need to know anything about you. We live in an era of basically zero privacy, and it’s only because we’ve made it that way. I still tune into my news apps to make sure I know what’s going on in the world, but I can’t tell you how freeing it is to be disconnected a bit.

3. My Time is Valuable. There are only so many hours in a day. And spending 2 hours on social media per day (guys- if you think this sounds ridiculous, I dare you to check your Screen Time function on your phone) is simply embarrassing. How much more productive of a person could I be if I took that 2 hours and did other things: writing, painting, spending quality time with others, reading a book, and so forth?

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. -Philippians 4:8.

4. Social Media is Perceived Reality. What you see isn’t real. For the most part, we only post our highlights (myself included). Why on God’s green earth would we post a photo that was taken by the only available person nearby (probably 75 and had never seen a smartphone) from the “fat angle”?! Forget it. Instead of getting vulnerable and authentic, we only post photos of how great our kids are getting along, how glamorous our vacation is, our latest Pinterest worthy home decor/meal we whipped up in only 7 minutes while the baby perfectly napped, our ‘just because’ flowers from the Hubs, or how great of a mom we are with our 12 activities accomplished before nap-time. In reality, there may have been 3 fires put out before 7 am, an acne mine and under-eye bags underneath that filter, and a very gluten/dairy/sugar filled breakfast because, let’s be honest, ain’t nobody got time to make Paleo pancakes and kale smoothies every morning.

Although we all know this information, deep down we still don’t believe it. Then what happens? We compare ourselves. That feeling you get once you start down that path? Insufficiency. I’m not good enough. I don’t have enough.

Perceived reality, guys.

5. I Want to be In the World, but not Of the World. How easy it is to get caught up in what the world places value on? What you look like? Where you live? What you drive? What you wear? Where you work? When we get preoccupied on these points, we forget what we are really living for. We forget that this isn’t where our story ends. I’ve found that the more emphasis I place on being ‘of’ the world, I start to lose myself in it. I want to be out IN the world, loving on people, being authentic with people. But any time I start to feel that I’m valuing THINGS and STUFF and APPEARANCES more than I’m valuing my relationship with God and others, I want a reality check. For me, a healthy break from social media allows me to be a little less ‘of’ the world.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. - Romans 12:2

If we are stuffing our minds to the brim with unnecessary information, how will we have any room to allow God to truly transform our minds?

It’s a bit nerve-wracking to be this vulnerable with y’all, but it’s the gosh darn truth. I’ve had too many conversations with other people to know that I’m not alone in these thoughts and feelings. In fact, once finding out I went off social media, I’ve had many people say to me: “Wow, that’s such a good idea. I should do that too.” So why not do it? If social media isn’t your hindrance, but something else is, why not tell it goodbye for a season?

I challenge you to turn away from anything in your life that is holding you back from being your best self. Anything clouding your mind, keeping you from being transformed. Anything that keeps you from being the mom you want to be, the wife you want to be, the friend you want to be. Throw it off!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. - Hebrews 12:1

—Lauren Preusz

PSA* If you do choose to forego SM for a season, don’t forget to subscribe to our Blog so you don’t miss out on the awesome stuff PBWN is doing in our community!

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