The following is a transcript of the audio. Transcript has been edited for clarity.
Emily: Welcome back to Risen Motherhood. I am Emily Jensen here with my sister-in-law, Laura Wifler. We’re excited to talk about a topic that impacts our lives and probably impacts yours: comparison on social media; whatever your platform or your social network of choice is.
Laura: There are a lot to choose from. Just to be clear, this morning we’re talking about usage of it or consumption of it, not the posting to it. We want to just make that clear upfront because as we were pulling this together, it got a little hairy as we were trying to figure it out. We want to separate it and today talk specifically about consumption of social media as moms and what the gospel has to say about it.
Emily: Laura and I are obviously both on social media.
Laura: We love it.
Emily: I think we’re both on Instagram, we’re both on Twitter, and on Facebook too.
Laura: I’m not really on Twitter; I’m a ghost on Twitter.
Emily: Well, yes, in some form or another [laughter]. We’re both on Pinterest although I don’t always count that as social media but I know it technically is.
Laura: Yes, I’m a consumer on Pinterest for sure. I don’t really pin out there. I have a couple of secret boards though.
Emily: So what else? Are you on any other social media?
Laura: I know there’s Snapchat and Periscope and some of those more like disappearing ones, [laughter] I don’t know the term. I know they’re really popular right now. I think that I have watched a few, I believe it’s called scopes on Periscope or broadcasts maybe. I have never been on Snapchat. I sound ancient. Have you been on Snapchat?
Emily: I have not. I actually had to Google it one day to understand what it is.
Laura: [laughter] I don’t know.
Emily: I still don’t get it. Okay, let's stop before we start sounding too uncool.
Laura: My goodness, when did we become old ladies? I don’t know, I shouldn’t say it. My grandma is an awesome social media user actually. I’m always surprised by some of those grandmas out there that are super good on Facebook.
Emily: Too good?
Laura: Too good, that’s true. Now you know what platforms we like to be on. We probably need to get with the times and try some new ones out but there are a lot of options. All that to say, there’s a lot of ways to get your social media fix.
Emily: Laura and I were talking about some of the people that we follow and how we consume social media. I know I follow mostly my friends and family, and probably what I would consider to be regular people. Then I also follow, especially through my accounts that are more focused on my writing, other writers and bloggers. I’m trying to think what else. Just creative people.
Laura: Or people posting spiritual encouragement. I follow a lot of interior designers; a lot of moms that are interior designers or cooks. I like looking at pretty food on Instagram. I love those videos where the food is made on Facebook; they’re everywhere. I don’t even like any of these pages but they keep popping up in my feed and it’s amazing. I’ll watch one after another of those. I don’t remember who puts them out but where they’re making the food right in front of you, and it turns out to be this beautiful cookie or something.
Emily: Our social media feed’s probably look a lot like yours if you’re listening. I also have my phone with me most of the day, even though I go through seasons where I’m pretty disciplined about only checking it at a few times of the day. Right now, I’m in a season of checking it throughout the day. When my kids are awake, I can’t be on my computer much because they flock to me. It’s like a magnet.
I just find with my little breaks in the day; any little breaks, I will get two minutes to take a deep breath between having to discipline or something, and so I find myself checking my social media a lot.
Laura: Me too. I definitely pop in for a couple of minutes and sometimes longer, but I'm on it multiple times a day for sure.
Emily: [chuckles] I think too, Laura and I have both had this experience, which every mom who is listening has probably had. Your day is going fine. You open up your Instagram account and you’re scrolling through and all of a sudden, you start feeling kind of junky. Sometimes I’ll even feel sick to my stomach or super down and I can’t really identify it. I’ll put my phone down and start to get really crabby. I’ll go back and check it later and then I feel that way again and I get in this weird fog and at the end of the day, I’m like, “What is wrong with me?” Mostly, it’s because I’ve been on social media and this whole comparison thing is playing out.
Laura: It’s interesting because I think we know when someone posts a picture out there, they chose that specifically and we logically know that’s not their whole life, but you see a photo of a mom and her kids are dressed super well or her house is clean, or she just baked a fresh pie and it’s got the really detailed lattice, and it’s really intricate and you’re like, “Man, I am an awful homemaker. I don’t think-“
Emily: When was the last time I made a pie? [laughs]
Laura: It’s interesting because I will have had a good morning, and maybe the morning has gone really smooth with the kids, or I got a few things crossed off my list, and I feel good about my day. Generally, it’s going well. Then you get online and you see these things and you’re like, “Oh, man, I am not even cute enough. Man, my top knot is not cutting it today,” or, “Her home is so much more put together than mine,” or, “She has all of these awesome opportunities. How is she juggling all of these things?” You know logically, she’s not, but those feelings inside of you say that you don’t believe that to be true; that you think she’s got some magic ticket you don’t.
Emily: I think there’s this other side too, and this is just being totally honest. I know that there are other women out there who are going to understand what I’m talking about. By going through your social media feed and downward comparing and judging other people and thinking, “You’re doing really good” It’s gross even saying that but that is the truth about comparison; it goes both ways. I can also get in a not good place of feeling self righteous, labeling somebody else as a hot mess and again, off of one tiny snapshot and I probably did 10 things wrong - I’m the one on my phone ignoring my child [laughter]. It’s wrong but it happens; we do it.
Laura: That’s exactly what’s wrong with comparison on social media, is it always leads us to either one of two places; pride in who we are and our abilities, and the self-righteousness as Emily was talking about, or despair and jealousy. Either direction, it’s sin.
Emily: It never leads you to a good place of, “Oh, I’m so encouraged and I want to look at Christ more now.” Comparison doesn’t take you there. I think the other thing that’s such a lie about comparison is that other people are not the standard that we are trying to compare ourselves or that we are trying to live up to. What standard God has set for us is His holiness and loving Him with all of our heart, and all of our soul, and all of our mind, and all of our strength all of the time. When you start to think about that, we are all leveled at the same level.
Laura: I think the thing to look at is, we don’t want you guys to hear us saying today that social media is bad, or that you shouldn’t be on it because comparison happens. Social media in and of itself, just like so many things in our world, is a neutral tool. It has been corrupted by the fall, or rather, our hearts have been corrupted by the fall, which then takes social media and you can either use it redemptively or you can use it sinfully.
We want to encourage you today to evaluate the way you are using social media and see if it’s something that is causing you to have sinful feelings, either of those directions of pride or of jealousy or what have you. Look at how you are consuming it, and what can you do to edit your feed of those that you follow to protect yourself. Maybe it’s just checking it less frequently.
Emily: Or just speaking truth to yourself; inserting that gospel. Laura and I keep harping on this, of viewing everything in light of who we are, which is, we’re all sinners. We all have fallen short of the glory of God. Like we were talking about, we all don’t meet God’s standard and that’s in different ways. It’s like in some ways you see it on social media, and other ways you don’t, but we’re all the same bad. Then we all have an opportunity to be redeemed and to be cleansed by Christ’s blood, and to have a fully restored relationship with God and be in Christ. If you are, then you are part of the unified Big C Church, you are part of a family of believers.
Then it’s like, “That’s getting weird,” that you are comparing yourself to those people because you share in the same inheritance, and they have the same Holy Spirit in them. You’re sharing all the same blessings and all the same good things. It’s like when you look at it in that light, it’s like, “Oh, we’re all on the same team too if we’re Christians, so we don’t need to be comparing gifts. All of our gifts bless each other.”
Laura: That was good Em.
Emily: I thought, “That’s a bunny trail,” but-
Laura: It was a nice deep bunny trail but it was good.
Emily: Sorry, let’s go practical.
Laura: No, I think that was awesome. Okay, we want to also talk about, if social media is tempting you to sin, what are the steps? What are the steps to move forward, and first and foremost as Emily touched on previously, of confessing your sin. Coming to the cross and repenting, admitting to the Lord where your heart has been, and why this is a struggle, and that you want to change. Repenting is turning away, and not doing something again and so start there. Start with being honest and needing Jesus and then look hard at your feed. I think there have been seasons that I’ve gone through, and I’ve written about this a lot, that I have needed to unfollow people for a time for different reasons and different types of people. I haven’t been able to handle it and I don’t have the self-control to not manage my emotions when I am on social media.
I think Facebook has super intricate ways of blocking people and they don’t even know it; it’s sort of amazing. We want to encourage you to be ruthless with your accounts and then also to look at the way that social media can be used for good, and remembering that there are people out there doing amazing things. Sometimes this probably can be hard to follow but people who are encouraging mothers how to do it well, how to inspire you in your homemaking, if these are people that are encouraging you and inspiring you to do better, continue to follow them.
Emily: It is really important. Laura and I were talking about this. It’s funny because we can get mad at our social media feed but who created it? We did [chuckles]. I think looking at who you follow is important but that redemptive piece of, I almost have to force myself to when I see something that I’m envious of or that makes me feel bad. It’s like actively saying, “No.” God gave that person those unique gifts. They are walking in those passions. Their life might look like that in that moment and so it’s not my job to be jealous of that or to judge that. I want to rejoice with them and say, “Wow, look at what a neat gift God gave that person. I am so glad that they are pursuing their passions.” I have no idea what their heart attitude is, but just trying to force yourself to look at it in a way that is grateful for that other person’s gift is good.
Laura: For the record, that is a lot easier said than done. We want to make that [laughter] super clear here that that doesn’t come easily to Emily, and it doesn’t come easily to me. It’s one of those decisions that you have to make. Life is all about continually speaking truth over and over again to our souls, and choosing the right attitude; something that reflects the gospel. With that, we hope that today, you will view social media a little bit differently, and be able to be on it and find encouragement, and hope, and redemption in it and that you will be using it wisely. It should be something that is edifying to your life.
Emily: Definitely. Wow, I don’t have any more train of thought [laughs].
Laura: That’s good because we’ve hit our time. As usual guys, find us on RisenMotherhood.com. From there you can find links to everything and of course, you can download-
Emily: All of our social media.
Laura: All the social [laughter], yes, our social media. Speaking of follow us, can we say that on this episode? I don’t know. And of course, you can find the show on iTunes or on the website. Thanks so much for tuning in; we hope you guys have a great day.