Your phone’s alarm goes off. You roll over, barely conscious. Hit snooze. Ten minutes later the alarm goes off again. No way you’re getting out of bed yet. You grab your phone. There’s a few Facebook notifications, an email, and there might be something new on Instagram, so you roll over and squint at the bright screen, scrolling through your feeds as your brain slowly wakes up. Ten minutes later you roll out of bed and on with the day.
The damage is done. See it? The human brain is constantly rewiring itself. Our actions create neurological pathways that form habits, feed emotions, shape beliefs, and lead to more actions. The first things placed into our brains at the outset of a day are the fuel that our mental engine will run on. If you start with Facebook, Instagram, email, or even news, your brain is being wired to believe that the things found there are the most valuable.
In light of this, I want to convince you that you should leave your phone, your social media, and your news until well after you’ve filled your mind and spirit with God’s presence and Gospel truth.
Four reasons to not start the day with social media:
- Social media is addictive. How would you feel about lighting up a bong before getting out of bed in the morning? Would you keep a glass of whiskey on your nightstand to sip as your brain boots up? Just like any addictive substance, social media is shaping you. Fight the addiction by controlling when you engage in it – say no to those thoughts that call you to check the feed first thing.
- You’ll feel better if you don’t. Studies have shown that social media use leads to unhappiness. The more time you spend on it, the worse you feel. Check out this brief article at Psychology Today. Why start your day with comparing your life with everyone else’s? Why start with something that drags you down?
- The story you start your day with is the story your day runs on. Social media tells the story that it’s all about you, what other’s think of you, and what you think about them. How many people liked your status/photo/blog post/link/video? Whose status did you like? What did the person with your dream job/home/family/life do since you last checked in? Social media tells a story that is utterly self centered. God’s story places God at the center and has him declaring that you are delighted in, valued, and free from both what you think of yourself and what others think of you. Which story would you rather be living in? What you start with will, in large part, determine your day’s story line.
- Men and women throughout history who have had huge kingdom impacts almost all started their days in God’s presence. Jesus sets the example by departing early in the morning to pray. Martin Luther was known for rising early in the morning to spend multiple hours in prayer at the outset of his day and is attributed with saying, “”I have so much to do today that I must spend three hours in prayer in order to be able to get it all done.” King David wrote of multiple Psalms describing how he would praise and meditate on God and dwell in God’s presence in the morning. I could multiply examples here ad infinitum, but you get the point.
What to start with instead:
My recommendation: Leave the social media off until after breakfast. Instead, start your day by reminding yourself of the story of God, God’s promises, and your identity in Christ. As your brain slowly crawls its way to wakefulness, train yourself to run through who God has said you are. Trace the story arc of the Bible or the amazing stories of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. As you sip your coffee, read a Psalm or something like Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening, Piper’s Solid Joys, or another daily devotional. Spend time in silent thought and prayer, releasing every care to Christ. Once you’ve fed your soul the solid food of God’s truth and entrusted your day to his care, then you’re ready to move into the world of social media, news, and the like.
I want every one of you to live lives that are full of joy, peace, and an abundance of the fruit of the Spirit. Social media is an amazing tool, but we need to be sure that we control it and that it doesn’t control us. One great way to practice that is to not start your day with it – to ignore it so you’re not at its beck and call. Don’t start your day with social media. Instead, start with things that are true, noble, and of good repute. Ground yourself in God’s story before you engage in the world’s story. It will change your day, every day.
P.S. – In case you need more convincing, check this out;