How To Take A Break From Social Media

The other month I took a virtual break for several weeks. What that meant for me was deleting social media apps and withdrawing from any non-essential communication on my phone.

One of the factors that led to this break was that I started to feel cluttered in my spirit, and I felt I was in a season where I needed to hide myself in God with as few distractions as possible.

In the past I tried to do this and it was very difficult for me. I found myself bored at times and as soon as I came back from the break, I continued with bad habits of overly being on my phone. I knew that if I ever took a break from being online, it would only be by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit because I didn’t want it to feel like a religious obligation.

For those who feel cluttered by day to day life and feel a tug on their heart to seek the Lord on a deeper level, I want to share a little about my experience in hopes that it will also inspire and encourage you in your walk with Christ.

Getting Started

After deciding to take this break, the first thing I did was communicate to friends that I would be taking time to withdraw.

I didn’t want misunderstandings or for someone to think I was ignoring them. I also wanted the flexibility to come back when I felt led by God, so I left the time frame open rather than giving an exact date when I would be back (that was a personal conviction).

To protect your relationships with friends, I recommend communicating with them about your break.

For friends who I had a professional relationship with, I let them know they can reach me via email if they needed something related to work.

I decided I wanted to separate business from my personal life, and no longer wanted to use my personal phone for business related communication.

After letting friends know. I deleted social apps on my phone like Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and Voxer.

I also started using a desktop app to schedule social media posts for my business and ministry using my computer.

How I Used My Extra Time

Now that I was significantly reducing time on my phone, I used my spare time to be more attentive to my family, pray, and meditate on the Word of God.

I found myself with a lot more white space and it pushed me to use my time more intentionally on things that would bear fruit.

The point of taking a social media break is not simply for the sake of it, but to spend more time focusing on God and/or other assignments God has given you. You should think through the purpose of why you’re taking a break, and have a plan in place of how you want to seek the Lord.

Maybe you want to start by fasting once a week, or spending time in God’s Word every morning with a spouse, friend, or church member. 

Challenges I Faced

In the begining, one of the biggest challenges I faced was being still.

I’m an active person who likes to keep busy, so God had to help me resist the urge to use my phone as entertainment when I had down time.

Since I deleted apps from my phone, that helped to avoid those urges. I also sometimes used apps like YouVersion and VerseLocker to read and mediate on scripture if I didn’t have my Bible near.

This is one of those things that you just have to push through until a new habit is formed, and thankfully, it did get easier and easier with time.

Coming Back Online

I got to a point where I felt ready to come back online and get back in touch with friends. This time, I wanted to keep firm boundaries to help avoid some of the bad habits I formed before.

What I mean by bad habits is things like mindlessly scrolling on social media, constantly checking my messages, or using my phone as a distraction overall.

I eventually downloaded my social media apps again, but I rarely use them except to share a post on the go. I also decided not to download my work email to my phone and only use my computer for that.

Basically, I try to use my computer as much as possible for work and ministry and use my phone for personal things like staying in touch with family/friends, or taking notes.

The Results

Taking this break wasn’t something I planned on doing, but it happened out of necessity because I desperately needed to quiet myself to seek the Lord. 

During that time God helped me to re-focus on what was most important and gave me clarity about specific things in my life that I needed to change and get in order.

He showed me that even Jesus had times where He withdrew to be alone, and times where He focused on the people around Him. We need alone time with God, and we also need to build relationships with others.

The Bible says:

Do not be overrighteous, neither be overwise— why destroy yourself? Do not be overwicked, and do not be a fool— why die before your time? It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes. (Ecclesiastes 7:16-18)

The Holy Spirit will give us discernment about what we need in each season of life, and lead us to focus on the right thing at the right time while remaining balanced.

If you feel cluttered in your spirit and feel like you’re not spending time with God as you should, you might want to prayerfully consider taking time off as well.

It doesn’t have to be for the same length of time as me, but be led by the Holy Spirit about what’s right for your spiritual life and calling.

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