What I learned OFFLINE for 8 months!

savannahofflineI deleted my social media for 8 months.

And cable and Netflix and secular music and pretty much everything else that is entertaining.

Part of me hates social media. Actually scratch that – almost all of me hates it and wishes that it never existed. So when I felt called to get rid of it all for a while, it was somewhat easy for me and let me just say, it was the most productive time of my life!

Let me explain…

Late at night, with just my cell phone and I scrolling through the latest posts from my friends, famous people, and advertisements, that’s when I would hear it.

The thoughts condemned me for not being as beautiful, as tan or as sexy as them. The countless images of girls in their trendy outfits, the bikini pictures, the selfies… It drove me into a downward spiral of insecurity. I would compare myself to what I saw and realized how little I could compete.

I allowed my life to be consumed by the influence of the world, society, and media, instead of being filled with the love of Christ and it distorted my view of myself and the people around me.

After 8 months offline, I learned one thing:

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I cannot control what I see at all times. The only thing I can control is how I allow it to affect me.

This simple idea has changed my life. I realized that the pain I was feeling inside my heart was no one’s fault, by my own because I allowed it. I didn’t understand the power of my thoughts and my words. I told myself so often that I was ugly and then wondered why I started to believe that I was ugly!

I noticed this shift in my mindset one evening standing in line at Chipotle. There was a girl with purple hair and winged eyeliner who was rather kind to me. This was significant to me because I didn’t have a trace of makeup on, wasn’t wearing a stylish outfit, and my hair was a mess… and I NEVER go out looking this way. She didn’t give a second thought at the fact that she could see my “flaws” and it made me realize that I was my harshest critic.

jesuspicI cried that night on my way home as my burrito waited in the bag for me. I began to feel convicted about the way that I was viewing my sisters in Christ – for being judgmental and seeing only their outward appearance instead of their heart. Kind of like how I viewed myself!

It may have taken me 8 months to figure it out, but that detox was just what I needed. I now focus on how each and every person is made in the image of God, including myself.

It is my prayer that women of God will come together and unite to be encouragers and not competitors, to support one another, and to celebrate the beauty in one another, while still knowing that they themselves are equally as beautiful.

As for myself and my own appearance, I choose to focus on more important things like my dreams, relationships, and my Savior. As I focus on things that I value inwardly, the meaning of the outwardly always diminishes in comparison.

“So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” – Genesis 1:27

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Savannah, 20, is a young writer and video creator who strongly believes in the power of young women coming together in Christ to bring real change to the world. As a result of marrying at the young age of 18, her life is far from ordinary, but her unique life has given her an opportunity to encourage other young girls to see the value of marriage. Savannah has had a relationship with the Lord since she was very young. During the last few years, she has truly begun to find her identity in Christ, which gives her the confidence to share her story in hopes of impacting others.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Are You in Danger?

20141117180945-right-business-wrong-social-media-cultureIt can be hard to live in a world that’s so social media saturated. We’re constantly seeing images that we should live up to: being fit, being the perfect mom, eating the perfect “Pinterest” dinner, and measuring up to the selfies posted by our friends.

Have you ever been to a concert and noticed everyone watching the concert through the camera on their phone?

Instead of living in the moment, we're living our lives behind a screen.

 

And suddenly, just because we can’t snap the perfect profile picture or get our Instagram theme on fleek, we feel unworthy.

It’s not that using social media to stay connected with friends is wrong, but it’s what we choose to do when we see those pictures. We can choose to be happy for them, or we can use those pictures to harbor feelings of jealousy, comparison, and worthlessness.

As women I feel like throughout the generations we’ve been targeted with tabloids, soup operas, and social media is basically a new form of this at our finger tips. That’s why we have to prioritize our time, and learn when to say yes and no. I know how it is when you hear your phone buzz with a notification, and out of habit you find yourself knee-deep in social media half an hour later.

I know people who have had to turn their social media notifications off entirely to protect their time, because once the notification popped up they couldn’t resist the temptation. I use the word temptation specifically, because I think that for many people social media has become an addiction. If you can’t go a day without checking your social accounts, that is a social media addiction.

Social media is a great way to connect with people you don’t see on a daily basis, but don’t neglect your real life for a virtual one. And keep in mind, people are putting their best foot forward on social media.

While we’ve gained instant access to everyone’s personal lives, we’ve lost the art of real communication along the way. It might be easier to post a status or send a text, but it’s important to have relationships face-to-face. We have to take the time to step away from our social media accounts and invest in our relationships, because some things can never be achieved through likes, comments, and shares.

Like accountability. 

 

We can be anyone we want to be with little accountability when we’re hiding behind a computer screen, and that’s a dangerous place to be. Mentorship happens in relationships. Growth happens in relationships. God created us with the need for relationships, and when we neglect that natural human desire we experience depression and loneliness.

A new study concluded that the more a person is engaged with media and on their smart phone, 
the less compassion and concern they show towards others.

 

I can speak from experience that there have been times I have felt irritated after spending a day working on the computer, and I couldn’t figure out why.

My point is that social media has a lot of good uses, but just like with everything else, we have to monitor how much time we put into it. When we’re experiencing emotions like depression, anxiety, or loneliness, we have to take a hard look at how much time we’re spending on technology versus on the relationships in our life.

How do you monitor your social media use? Let us know in the comments below!

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Kirsten Keesee is 19 years old and lives in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, where she works as a content writer for the Drenda Show. She enjoys traveling, collecting books, and checking items off of her bucket list.