The Power Of Breaking From Social Media

“I need help,” I announced to my friends as we pulled extra chairs around the table.

It was my first time seeing the six of them since the breakup that week. These six people have become the closest in my corner. We gather to eat meals and talk about the hard stuff. It keeps us honest and it keeps the tidal waves of adulthood at bay.

All eyes were on me as I told them I felt like social media was keeping my feet from moving forward after the heartbreak. People rarely talk about how hard it is to be on social media after you break-up with someone. When a break-up happens, you find yourself still visiting that person’s pages. You want to know how they’re doing. You secretly hope they’re struggling just as much as you are. Sometimes it feels like it would nearly kill you to know they’re doing fine.

“I just need to get offline and I know if I don’t admit it to anyone then I will just keep finding a way to check in on social media and see how he is doing. It’s going to make me sadder.”

For the next hour, we changed passwords to my social media accounts and deleted applications.

My friends rallied around me to let me know it was okay to feel hopeless, discouraged and tired. I was not alone. They were going to be with me as I moved towards healing. For one month, I broke from my pattern of checking tweets, reading captions, and scrolling through the lives of people I loved. I learned so much as I drew closer to God for healing rather than the screen.

These are the truths that made me whole again:

1) Our pretending fools the world (but that’s about it).

Social media reminds me of a drive-thru. You pull in quickly, you get something fast and cheap, and you are hungry two hours later.

When it comes to relationships, we’ve sunk into the mindset that checking a person’s social media pages is just as good as checking up on them.

A lot of us are crying and curling up into the fetal position behind our filtered photos. We pretend we are still winning, even if we feel like the air has been knocked out from our lungs.

You can fake being fine and keep carrying on, but that’s all you will be doing: faking it. Real healing comes when we let people and God come in.

2) God isn’t old-fashioned, He’s timeless.

Real healing comes when we sacrifice our distractions and admit to God, “Look, I’ve built up detours to try and keep you from getting to me. I’m sorry. Help me. I need you to help me.”

God is not afraid of your simple words. I think God wants us to be honest and real with Him.

We can reach whoever we want through a tweet, a text or an email but God is still a “wait and listen” kind of Guy. He’s not old-fashioned, He’s timeless. I want to be the kind of person who can posture my heart for the timeless presence of God.

God is a God of response but, to really hear Him, you must train your ears to listen and teach your brain to quiet down and wait on His presence. When we wait, clear out the distractions and pause from the stuff we’ve labeled as “more important,” God shows up.

3) Quick and easy leads to unhealthy habits.

If we are not careful, patterns can creep into daily life that aren't so becoming or progressive. It's like the bible says: Everything is permissive, but not everything is beneficial.

As I put down the phone to meet with God, I began to see God was stuck behind boulders of unhealthy habits. These unhealthy habits were quick to grow in my life because they stemmed out of my need for affirmation, attention, and response.

The more frequently I check into a network and see where I am “needed,” the easier it is for me to check out of reality and the areas I need to be working on. Clearing away those unhealthy habits helps me to not be complacent to tending the areas of where God wants to work and improve me for His glory.

4) Life is waiting beyond the screen.

I begged my community to come closer during that 30 days. I went to the Farmer’s Market for the first time— a thing I’d wanted to do since moving to Atlanta a year and a half earlier. I tried to cook. I woke up without distractions or the need to compare my morning to others.

I figured out how to help people. I babysat for my two friends— Rachel and Dimitri— more in that one month than ever. I didn’t need to babysit. I didn’t need make extra money. But, by serving them, I saw the real value in showing up for people in real-time. It’s different than a pep talk through a text message or a comment on an already crowded post.

I experienced God’s presence more frequently in that month than ever before. God wasn’t distant before, I was just too distracted to see Him waiting. He was waiting to hand me the life I always wanted.

Hannah Brencher

Hannah Brencher founded the global organization More Love Letters in 2011 and cofounded If You Find This Email in 2015. Her memoir “If You Find This Letter” is now in bookstores across the country.  Connect with her on Twitter.   


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