For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing. – Ecclesiastes 3:1-5

Moderation–learning to avoid extremes.

The Bible is full of verses that support this (I Corinthians 6:12, I Peter 5:8, Phil. 4:5). It is within our nature to go to extremes in our thoughts, actions, and in our hearts.

Today, I would like to share some thoughts about how going to extremes using social media may damage our recovery efforts.

I have been working in the school setting for about 30 years now so I see a lot! Suicides, mental health challenges, joys, challenges, and everything in between. The recent explosion of social media and the different advantages and disadvantages have taken many of us by surprise.

By the way, I love technology. Social media has put me back in touch with long lost friends, keeps me in touch with loved ones, and is often a real time saver and connector.

But as with most areas of life we can go too far, and suffer from negative effects. We want to be better disciples, recover from sin and other difficulties, and yet often social media can be a hindrance. Here are two challenges:

1) Isolation. You would think social media makes us more connected, and less isolated, right? Just the opposite. The overuse of social media can lead us to isolation. We don’t have the need for human contact anymore and revert to tweets, likes, and notifications to connect. Where we once spent time with others, we spend time with our heads down, looking at our technology. It creates isolation, often associated with depression and anxiety. Check out this article.

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. – Hebrews 3:13

2) Comparing ourselves to “perfect” people . Rarely will you see others posting the difficulties and challenges of life on social media. Typically, what we see on social media is the “perfect” life. Eating a gourmet meal, marveling at the sunset in Key West, or family enjoying time together. This is great and all has meaning and creates connection, but only when shared in moderation.

Young people in particular, do not typically have the maturity to understand that this is not life most of the time for humans. And they may develop a sorrow (“woe is me”) or anxiety (FOMO-fear of missing out) about their lives. Why can’t I eat great food, or enjoy amazing vacations…why is it everyone else? We may spend too much energy comparing ourselves with others and lose our gratitude for the lives God has created for us. This short article emphasizes my point.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. – Philippians 4:12

Isolation and comparing can be two detriments to our recovery process. True human connection and gratitude are sure routes to getting better from whatever challenge you may have. In Part 2, we will look at other ways social media may harm our recovery journey. Lastly, Part 3 explores positive features of social media.

The church setting is the perfect place to help those with all kinds of mental health needs or issues with sin. Learn how to set up a Disciples In Motion visit with Tim. The weekend includes many different opportunities for mental health trainings in the church setting. Click here for more information.