The other day I sat on my couch scrolling aimlessly through my social media feeds. Let’s face it, it’s almost always aimless. Really I think I just go onto social media looking for some kind of fill, even if I don’t realize it. Maybe I’m looking for something interesting or entertaining or just curious what other people are up to?
It’s interesting and entertaining, yes, but most of the time it doesn’t ever really fill me—with much lasting good anyway. You know what I mean? After a good social media binge I feel little better than if I just downed one too many brownies. I have to snap myself out of all the scrolling and tapping before I spend a lot of my time with something that not only doesn’t inspire or encourage me, but sometimes leaves me feeling kind of guilty I did it in the first place. Not the greatest use of my time.
Social media isn’t inherently bad. Perhaps we want to connect with others, see what they are up to, watch a funny video or read an article. Those things can be helpful and good. However, it seems it’s the amount of unintentional time we spend on it that proves useless, even detrimental.
I’m sure you’ve seen it—as our heads droop closer to our screens, our eyes take on that funny scrolling trance and our faces become kind of expression-less. We start to feel a little icky for spending so much time on our phone, and perhaps we even start to feel a little less pretty or cool or creative. We become experts at comparing. We see what everyone else is doing and we become a little more aware of everything we are not doing. We see their trendy clothes and their shoes to match, and we feel a little less cute in our own shoes. Maybe they’re not good enough. We second guess ourselves and make lists of all the things we need to do more of, wear more of, act more like. The workouts we need, the food we don’t need, and the perfect bathing suit to pack for that trip to the ocean, just like her. Just like her.
Sometimes I feel like a lot of our social media experiences lead us to believe that we need to be a lot more like her and everybody else. Our self-confidence withers away a little and often times we come away from it thinking, “Well that didn’t feel very good.”
I am not saying that social media or internet use are a total waste of time, but perhaps we just need to be a little more intentional about how we use it. We should stop following people who don’t inspire us for good and guard our time a little more. Consider this thought by Elder Richard G. Scott:
“Study the things you do in your discretionary time, that time you are free to control. Do you find that it is centered in those things that are of highest priority and of greatest importance? Or do you unconsciously, consistently fill it with trivia and activities that are not of enduring value nor help you accomplish the purpose for which you came to earth? Think of the long view of life, not just what’s going to happen today or tomorrow. Don’t give up what you most want in life for something you think you want now.”
Elder Oaks spoke of similar things in a recent talk. He said, “You can never get enough of what you don’t need because what you don’t need won’t satisfy you.” Isn’t that validating? I think they hit the nail on the head right there, for a lot of things.
So what will satisfy us? What will help us come away feeling uplifted, edified, or encouraged? What will help us accomplish the purpose for which we came to earth?
When I think about this, I think about the other day when I stood at the kitchen sink listening to conference talks and how I actually enjoyed washing all my dishes by hand. I think about those nights when I find my husband sitting in bed watching Mormon Messages, and we both get hooked watching video after video because they just make us feel so good. I think about the hymns in my car, the Ensigns by my couch, and the scriptures on my kitchen table. They fill my soul, enlighten my mind, and calm my troubled heart, time and time again.
What a contrast! There is such a difference in the way I feel when I am filling my soul with the things of God.
When I was invited to write a guest post for this blog, I thought for a long time about what I wanted to share—what would really be worth your time reading. We know you’re busy.
Can I suggest something?
Fill your time with those things that bring goodness and light. Fill your lamps with the good, pure substance that the Lord has so bountifully provided us. In the good, better, best scale, these are the best. And you can have the best! Mark your scriptures, read the church magazines, and search the church websites for uplifting videos and articles. Do not seek to fill your souls with the oil of the world. There is so little substance there, and what little it has is often tainted and even toxic. Choose media that uplifts, role models that inspire, and friends that encourage you to to be completely, genuinely, you.
A quick word on that…I have been reading this book about Marjorie Hinckley, the wife of the prophet Gordon B. Hinckley. She was so completely, wonderfully GENUINE. “She was so real,” many often said of her, and that is largely how she has inspired and blessed the lives of so many. How was she “so real”? It is said of her that she did not do things to impress. She did them for the right reason—because they made sense to her and to the Lord. How UPLIFTING would our social media experiences be if we all shared things simply because they made sense to us and to the Lord.
Moving on…Second, fill your time with thoughtfulness and service to others. Write letters, visit the lonely, reach out to that person you keep thinking about. Be quick to see the beauty and the good in others and share that with them. They will be better because of it.
Above all, do those things that will fill you with the Spirit, because nothing else is worth your time. Nothing. In this critical era in the building up of the kingdom of God on the Earth, the Lord needs you more than ever. He needs you to be you—genuine, wonderful you. He needs you to be pure and kind and courageous enough to stand for Him. He needs you to be the woman you are destined to be, the woman He sent you here to be. This only happens when you are completely in tune with the Spirit of the Lord.
In a CES devotional, Sister Linda K. Burton reminded us that the Holy Ghost can “do for us physically, emotionally, mentally, and intellectually what no man-made remedy can begin to duplicate.” What an incredible gift we can have if we choose to do those things that invite it.
I once heard a talk by Elder F. Enzio Busche where he shared some valuable pieces of advice. One of them has always stuck with me. He said, “You want to be good and to do good. That is commendable. But the greatest achievement that can be reached in our lives is to be under the complete influence of the Holy Ghost. Then He will teach us what is really good and necessary to do.”
I believe that’s true. In our mortal quest to draw closer to God and become more like the Savior, it is the Holy Ghost that will teach us how we are to do that. It will be different for me than for you, and that is why it is such a perfect, personal gift. Learn how He speaks to you. Rely on the Spirit, make him your greatest companion and shun anything that might cause you to lose it.
“Put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good—yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit…which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy.” Isn’t it wonderful that all of this fills us with joy? It just makes sense. The world so eagerly entices us to sit down with them and feast, but first we must have the right clothes, pay the high cost, and hope that they like us when we show up (and then post pictures of the whole thing). But what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Mark 8:36-37)
The Savior’s table, on the other hand, is calm and unassuming, although brimming with heavenly goods and living water. And He is there, with open arms to receive us as we are.
So start where you are, regardless of where. Use your time to enrich your life with goodness, nourish your faith, and strengthen others. If what you are doing (on social media or otherwise) detracts you from this, cut it out. It’s not worth your time.
You have so much light to share in this world that is becoming increasingly dim. You are needed. You are oh so needed. You have so much to give and to be. The Lord has marvelous plans for you as you follow Him and make His plan your plan. How do I know this? Because I have seen His hand in my life, I have seen His promises kept. And as I let Him, He is making for me a life more beautiful than anything I could make for myself.
Can I just say how excited I am for you?! There is so much GOOD in store for you! And there is so much GOOD that you can do. Stay close to the Lord and He will guide you and bless you. I know that He will. My life is so enriched because of Him, more than anything the world could offer. I know how easily I slip into social media habits that kind of drain me, but I am working on changing that. And I hope you will too!
Guest post by Tamara Schellenberg
After her childhood on the California coast, Tami moved to Utah where she was set up on a blind date with a handsome boy named Jake. It went well, and the two of them decided that life would be much greater if they spent it together. So, they were married in a beautiful temple at the baseof the Wasatch Mountains in the summer of 2009. Once they had their college diplomas, they set out on their own—nestling in homes from the Gulf Coast to the Great Plains. Along the way they have witnessed surely, that life can be sweet wherever you are. With their spirited four year old and their chubby cheeked baby they are currently making new friends, welcoming spring, and delighting in life as a family of four. After retiring this year as a professional photographer of eight years, Tami is embracing motherhood full time. With her passion for capturing moments and sharing stories, she has entered the blogging world! Follow along with them at thatwemighthavejoy.com