2020 was a curveball in all of our lives.
A global pandemic accompanied by an uproar in civil unrest, on top of what we all personally experience day-to-day—we can all agree that 2020 shook us in ways that we didn’t see coming. Now we’re clinging to our loved ones more, searching for hope and kindness to hold onto, and honestly just wondering when things will get better.
In more popular terms, 2020 was canceled before it ended. 2021 hasn’t started much differently. We’re still in this pandemic, but it still feels like a fresh start. So Happy New Year, everyone!
Reconnecting to fight off the isolation
In 2020, I checked in with lifelong friends more regularly. Those conversations have specifically been about checking on each other’s mental health. I’m sure we’re all used to the typical, “How are you? How’s it going?” But this was the first year where some friends specifically asked me, “How is your mental health?” The conversations ended up becoming more vulnerable than I’m used to, but it led us to understand and to share with each other what kept our minds in a good space.
For example, one of my high school friends called me one afternoon a couple of months into quarantine. We don’t talk often, but they reassured me that it’s okay if I don’t respond to their messages right away. I confided in them about my personal break to disconnect from Instagram for a while (more on that later), and they let me know that it’s okay to take some time for myself. On their end, they shared with me how they started meditating to ease their mind off of basically everything going on in the world.
In a way, it was these kinds of conversations that lightened the weight of 2020.
Understanding the dangers of social media
For this next section, I advise you to proceed with caution if you are sensitive to the topics of anxiety and depression, especially if it is caused by social media.
I’m letting you in on this trigger warning now because this was my reality for a while as a result of staying home because of this pandemic. I’ve seen firsthand how the media, specifically social media, can be detrimental to our lives. It goes beyond our mental health; it can spiral us into anxiety and depression; it can either boost or lower our egos; it can be addicting (Clarity Clinic).
Reframing and adjusting my perspective about social media
Ironically with what I just mentioned, I’m also the social media coordinator for our Instagram account @incmedianews. But even so, there was a time during the first quarantine when I subconsciously let social media dictate my mindset and opinions about myself. Increasing my time at home as well as my iPhone screen time put me face-to-face with a lot of my insecurities.
Although I knew in the back of my head that I was worth more than how many ‘likes’ I got and that people only posted what they wanted to show the world, it wasn’t hard to get sucked into believing otherwise. Especially with the Instagram algorithm curating an explore feed of everything I desired (i.e. clear skin and to be physically fit), how could I have not paid attention? I lacked confidence in myself.
But I didn’t realize this until I caught myself mindlessly scrolling through my feed, consuming information that did not make me feel or be any better. This is why I deactivated my personal Instagram for a while. I knew that I needed to work on loving myself and being grateful for what God has given me. I told myself I wouldn’t come back to Instagram until I knew my why of being online.
Using Social Media to shine a light, spread positivity, and share hope
- One of the Bible verse graphics on the @bible.verses.inc Instagram account encouraged us in the caption to tag a friend in the comments. I tagged a close friend from high school, so hopefully, it resonates with them. This is an easy way for you to let your friends know that you’re thinking about them and that we have a whole archive of these Bible verse graphics for their inspiration. (for reference: https://www.instagram.com/p/CHvdAh8AvHG/)
- A more subtle way of being a “light online” is by posting with positive intention. For example, I love trying different coffee shops; I’m one of those people that takes a picture of every latte I order. So I share my recommendations. It’s positive, it’s intentional, and it’s hoping that at least one person will benefit from and be inspired by my post.
On a side note from pre-Covid, a handful of conversations have sparked from this genuine interest in coffee. Also, not a lot of people know this, but I’ve actually had conversations about faith with people I’ve met in line at a coffee shop. This proves to me that any discussion can be turned into a conversation about faith.
- Another way to be proactive with what you share online is, honestly, by paying attention to the variety of content on this website, incmedia.org. There have been a couple of times where I’ve had conversations about faith with acquaintances, and it never fails to intrigue me how willing they are to learn about a particular biblical topic. In these instances, it’s actually really easy to share our beliefs using incmedia.org.
There are pieces of content specifically made to introduce our faith to friends who might be curious about how religion could change their life, like this video. Then there are pieces of content to answer the more weighted questions our friends may have. For example, is our Lord Jesus Christ also our Almighty God? The answer is here, and all you have to do is share it with them. It’s not up to us whether our friends look at what we share with them or not, but the point is that we are letting them know about our faith and what we believe in.
- My last tip for you is to make sure that everything you post is a reflection of your membership inside the Church Of Christ.
Earlier I mentioned that social media can be detrimental to our lives, especially if we’re consuming information that just doesn’t uplift us. Thankfully, our God is there to give us peace of mind, which is why it is essential to let it be known. I started opening up on my Instagram about my struggle with social media, but I made sure to acknowledge turning to God during that time; I shared this blog for further emphasis. Again, I’m not sure if anyone clicked on it, but with how difficult 2020 was for everyone, I hope someone did.
Curate Your Social Media Feed into Something Positive
Social media is nearly unavoidable in this time and age, and it can potentially accumulate to several negative experiences. This is why we need to step up on our platforms and use our voice to share what propels us forward, what gives us an endless amount of hope, and what reminds us that we will be okay, even when times are not. Your presence online is a very huge opportunity for you to spread light, positivity and hope.
If this is a big leap for you to take, start by reviewing your personal feed. Follow accounts that break up the negativity and let positivity stream in. You can start with this one: https://www.instagram.com/bible.verses.inc/
If I haven’t convinced you yet to be proactive with your presence online, according to a featured interview on Spotify’s Culture Next 2020 report, “Our generation is going to be known for creation.” Likewise, it’s up to us what we create of our social media.
For me, I want to create a momentum of letting people know why being a member of the Church Of Christ will truly benefit them. How about you? Please let me know, and let’s have a conversation about faith.