Fearfully Wonderfully Me

Growing in God and Inspiring Young Women Through Faith and Fashion

Tag: social media

How to View Media in a God Honoring Way

I remember having a movie night with a childhood friend. We were eating snacks and talking, and everything was awesome. That is, until I realized the superhero movie we were watching was so full of swear words that I couldn’t make it past the first fifteen minutes.

As the years go by and I continue to grow in my faith, I can see the way media affects my life and the lives of those around me. Season two of the show 13 Reasons Why was recently released on Netflix, and reading this incredible post from blogger Beauty Beyond Bones has inspired me to also discuss the dangers of media.

13 Reasons Why focuses on a teen girl who committed suicide, and the blame she places on those around her through a series of tapes. I’ve never seen this show before, and I do not plan to. It graphically portrays suicide, bullying, rape, and other issues in a way that is often too traumatizing for teens and adults to process.

Media is powerful, and can either hinder our faith or build it up. Read on for more on the dangers of media and ways to view media in a wise and God-honoring way.

When Media Becomes a Compromise

It’s borderline impossible to watch a movie without some degree of  swearing, violence, or sexuality in it. Even kids movies contain these things! However, sometimes we are tempted to watch something that is beyond the threshold of what we know is appropriate.

During that movie night with my friend, I could have chosen to keep watching the superhero movie. However, this would be compromising my values because I knew it wasn’t right. There was a ton of violence and crude swearing–both of which I am sensitive to.

As Christians, compromising media is thrown at our faces so much that all of us are tempted at times. And that’s okay, the Lord doesn’t expect perfection from us. God does, however, expect us to be on guard over what we view on our TVs, phones, and computers.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23 NIV)

Although one bad movie or book might not seem like a big deal, it opens the door for compromise. We must prayerfully assess all that we watch, read, and listen to in order to avoid compromise.

The Need for Discernment

The Bible tells us in Proverbs 4:23 that what we put into our hearts eventually manifests itself in our lives. That is why we must be careful of the media we view. When we watch shows like 13 Reasons Why, we are thrown into the dark world of depression and suicide. And if you’re someone who is struggling with these issues, this can cause great harm. 

When we view content on social media, we are influenced by the crude and sometimes borderline pornographic content on these sites. Even worse, sometimes we become desensitized to these things and our values no longer hold true to us anymore.

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 NIV)

There is no way we can avoid everything “wrong” in media. We would have to avoid it completely, which is legalistic and missing the point of what God wants for us.

There are movies and books that contain some swearing or violence, however, they have excellent messages. One movie I can think of in particular is The Blind Side, which happens to have a strong faith message rooted in the story.

We must study God’s Word, which is our source of truth. The Holy Spirit guides  us so we can avoid media that might harm us instead of building up our faith.

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How to View Media in a God Honoring Way

Media in Focus

The truth of God’s Word and the guidance of the Holy Spirit helps us avoid harmful shows, movies, and websites. And of course, we should always be on guard against sinful media.

But there’s something we must focus on that can be easily forgotten in our fight against compromise. We need to set our eyes on good things that draw us closer to Jesus and the message of the Gospel.

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 NIV)

When we fill our lives with truthful, lovely, and pure things, it drowns out the evil in this world. There are so many movies and books with good messages  and values. And there are Christian podcasts, social media accounts, and websites to entertain and inform us. With all this free media at our fingertips, it’s easy to find wholesome things to view.

Media has powerful influence to either distract us from Jesus, or to encourage our pursuit of Him. Seeking the Lord and pursuing honorable sources of media and entertainment is the key to a balanced life.


Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

(Photography by Becca Tapert and Annie Spratt)

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The Mask Effect

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Isn’t it funny how we fill our Instagram and Facebook feeds with pictures of our food or pets? We photograph and write about our lives for the sake of a like or follow.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. The truth is that we do like the attention (even I do). We like how social media can turn us into little online celebrities. However, sometimes scrolling through these sites for too long can make me feel depressed and shrink away my confidence. Do you ever feel that way, lovely reader?

What is the problem here? The cause of our social media induced anxiety is what I like to call the “Mask Effect.”

Online, we can be whoever we want to be. We can post nothing but the highlights of our lives (which we often do). We can edit our photos to give us the “perfect body,” or only post pictures of salads and kale smoothies for dinner (when most of the time we eat PB&J and pizza, right?).

We create a little utopia for ourselves, only the problem is, we’re not really living this out in real life. After all, no one is perfect.  The psychology term for this is cognitive dissonance.

I’m not saying social media is all bad, but it has become a mask to hide our true selves. We all want to feel worthy and loved, and social media seems to be our outlet for this. Social media is fun and useful. As a blogger, I use it frequently! But in order to utilize it in a healthy way, we need to recognize that our self-worth does not come from other people’s approval.

The only true source of self-worth and love can come from Jesus. He is the well that never runs empty.

Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:13-14 NKJV).

When we seek after the things of this world, like approval from people, we can never be truly satisfied. Only God can satisfy us with a love that never fails. 

Life is a balance. Enjoy your social media, but remember that’s not all life is about. Keep your heart and mind focused on God, and you will find true peace and joy that can never be taken away.

I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope (Psalm 16:8-9 NKJV).


Thanks for reading! Please feel free to comment and share 🙂

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5 Things Ditching Social Media Taught Me

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Social media. We give it a lot of hate sometimes, but really, we love it. In fact, a lot of us are addicted to it. For example, when you’re waiting at your doctor’s office no one is sitting around reading a magazine or making small talk. We’re all staring at our phone screens!

Now I know that it sounds like I’m totally bashing social media, but that’s not really what I’m trying to do. Social media is a wonderful tool to help us connect with others. Just to be clear–I still use it and probably always will. It’s kind of hard to be a successful blogger and never use social media anyway.

However, the youth group I help lead participated in a challenge to devote more time in prayer and Bible study, and to develop a deeper faith in Christ. During this challenge we were encouraged to fast from social media for 21 days.

This is something I’ve always wanted to do, but that always terrified me. And now I’m so excited to share with you what I learned from my fast from social media.

1.What Social Media’s Purpose Really Is

I couldn’t fast from social media completely. That’s just unrealistic considering that I’m a blogger and have family and other people that I have to contact through social media. So I tailored my fast to my specific problem (or addiction): Aimless browsing when I could be doing something productive. 

During this fast I discovered the purpose behind Facebook and Instagram. These sites (as well as others) are great for self-expression, sharing, and connecting with others. They are enhancements to our everyday life–not a substitute. 

2. It Was Harder Than I Thought It Would Be

I literally had to pull back my own hand during those dull moments between classes or while waiting for dinner. And don’t even get me started on breaking my bedtime scrolling addiction. Yes, there were times I failed. This is why I’m thankful for God’s grace and strength.

3. How to Make Eye Contact Again

My mom, who doesn’t own a smart phone, always complained that I never looked at her while she spoke. We could be in the same room, but my phone would always suck me into a different world. I had to apologize because I didn’t realize how true this actually was until the fast. Now when I sit and people around me are on their phones, I’m the one who sees how they’re in another world.

4. How to Be Productive Again

So what did I do during those dull moments when I wasn’t scrolling through another person’s pictures of what they ate for breakfast? I read my Bible and prayed. Sometimes I would use the excuse that I didn’t have time to do these things more regularly. Social media proved this to be a lie. If you are struggling to find time to read the Word or pray more, then I encourage you to get off of social media for a week and see what happens.

I also found more time for other things. I can now make blogging and writing a priority (yay!). I also have more time to read actual books, call people, knit, get back into yoga, and just look out a window and notice the sun piercing through a cloudy day.

5. How to Stop Comparing Myself to Others

Okay, so I haven’t completely weaned this bad habit out of my life yet. However, ditching the mindless scrolling through other peoples’ posts has helped immensely. I have a perfectionist nature by heart, which is both a blessing and a curse. It’s so hard when you’re bombarded by pictures and posts of other women looking gorgeous, stylish, happy, and in love.

After I ditched social media I began to realize that these posts are just snap shots from random pieces of life–they are not the little everyday moments.It’s okay to not be like everyone else. We need to be who God created us to be, and to live for the purpose He gave us ( Romans 8:30).

 

So there you have it. I hope I have inspired you to fast from social media as well, or at least become more mindful of your scrolling habits. I think I will continue this fast and make it more a part of my life. It’s not that I will never scroll again, but from now on I will make it more purposeful. There is so much life we miss out on when we are glued to our phones!

Thanks for reading! I pray that this post blesses and inspires you. Please feel free to comment and share 🙂

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