The car was packed to the brim with beach chairs, fishing gear, duffle bags, and more. My youngest sat in the back with her favorite doll snuggled up next to her. The boys sat in front of her, one on his Nintendo Switch, the other with headphones on.
As we headed up the coast to the Outerbanks, our hearts were filled with anticipation of a week away. The sounds of the car were a blend of Spotify music with the movie Chang Can Dunk playing in the background. I made a mental note to bring headphones for my daughter the next time we took a road trip.
I opened my phone and mindlessly my fingers tapped the little Instagram icon. In an instant, my senses were overwhelmed by the constant stream of sounds, sights, and opinions.
I debated adding the photo I had taken just an hour prior of my three eager faced kids. But my fingers were frozen as something kept me from following through.
The world does not need to hold my memories, I thought to myself.
Over the course of the six-hour drive to the beach house, this statement continued to swirl in my mind. The world does not need to hold my memories.
Without further thought, I opened my phone, found the Instagram app, and deleted it. A wave of freedom and relief filled my mind and soul.
Throughout the week, I continued to think about Instagram and what the purpose of it was for me in my life. Photos were snapped but none were shared. These moments felt sacred and I was not about to blast them out to the world.
The app can so easily become a place filled with highlights. As we scroll through the images and videos, our minds can start to struggle. Reality gets distorted as we wonder if everyone else has a perfect life- a perfect marriage, a perfect house, etc. Every now and then, the mindless scroll stops as someone reminds us through their honest thoughts that the app is a highlight reel.
The little squares can quickly steal us from being present in our own lives, our own beautifully messy lives. The little squares can become the place we store the photos of our most treasured memories.
But is that what we want?
The more I thought and prayed, the more I knew it was time for a change. My goal was always to use Instagram to be a place to encourage moms. I knew I wanted to continue with this but with boundaries. The squares do not need to steal me from my life nor be a holding place for my memories.
Around the middle of July, I reinstalled the app on my phone and started to work through what boundaries would look like. Boundaries look different for everyone but are essential for using the platform well.
Social Media Boundaries
- Delete the app from Friday evening to Sunday evening.
- Get in God’s Word before social media in the morning.
- Post with purpose. Is what I am sharing going to help someone?
- Use other places to hold my family memories.
- Delete accounts that are not uplifting.
- Take regular longer breaks (a week off every quarter, a month off in the summer)
Social media can become something that drags us down or it can become a tool for good with boundaries. If you have never placed boundaries on it, I encourage you to take a moment now to do so.
The world does not need to hold my memories and it does not need to hold your memories. Wondering where to store your family memories? Stay tuned as I share simple ways to preserve your family memories.