I admit it. Facebook is often my lifeline to the outside world. I am a homemaker with three small children, including a nursing baby. I spend most of my time within the four walls of my home raising my children, keeping the house in order, and making sure everyone is fed and healthy. It’s a dream job in many ways, but it also requires daily dying to self. Homemakers don’t get to eat when or what they want, shower when they want, or get a moment of silence when they want it. Relationships with other women are a challenge due to nursing schedules and regular demands. Therefore, many women turn to social media as a means to preserve friendships and stay connected.
Are Twitter and Facebook bad? Most will agree that they are inferior to face-to-face communication, but should stay-at-home moms get a bad rap for frequenting social media? I believe the answer has two parts.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).
Let’s look at a few affirming aspects of social media. First, prayer can be requested in a matter of seconds. Private Facebook groups have been vital for my circle of church friends. I have never prayed more for my church friends than now, thanks to constant access to their requests. Friends may not see each other often enough to get into the nitty gritty of their prayer needs, but they can share daily online.
Social media is also an easy means to receive great spiritual encouragement. It’s not uncommon for a mom who just lost her temper with her rambunctious children to open her computer and see a shared article about mommy anger and the gospel. Social media is full of articles encouraging moms in the importance of their role at home. Sermon links and Bible verses fill up newsfeeds in homes where they would otherwise not be considered. The Lord uses others to speak directly to moms via the imperfect worlds of Facebook and Twitter every single day.
Finally, it is easy for busy moms to keep in touch with Christian friends outside of the rush of Sunday mornings. Access to family photos, updates, and quick chats can be vital in the lonely mom’s life. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Meeting together physically is important. However, stirring up one another to love and good works sometimes looks different than coffee dates, and encouragement can look different than praying together in the church foyer.
These factors show that, yes, one can use social media to the glory of God.
“Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags” (Prov. 23:20-21).
While Proverbs 23 and other Scriptures like it do not directly speak to iPhones and Twitter, I believe they do have implications for both. Wine and meat are enjoyable, but consuming too much of either is sin. Social media is also an enjoyable part of life (especially for those who can’t easily spend time with friends in person), but too much can be sinful. John Piper grasps this concept: “One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.”
For example, if you often tweet viral videos but have not taken the time to pray, your heart is probably not fully focused on Christ. If you are addicted to checking your phone at the expense of the people physically in front of you, there might be a sin issue at play. Some feel the need to puff themselves up online, revealing pride and fear of man in their hearts. Many people spend their time chronicling their days through duck-face selfies. Their obsession is obviously not their Maker, but their own reflection.
Word for Nursing Moms
As a nursing mom, I often ponder life before the internet came along. Moms prayed for the sweet life they cradled instead of Facebook stalking people they would never meet. They hummed lullabies and hymns to soothe those lovely eyes to sleep rather than zoning out into cyberspace. They learned every detail of their little ones' face and observed the wonders of their motions rather than learning the latest celebrity gossip. They let their baby hold their fingers instead of gripping their phones. They connected with their baby deeply while praising God for their life instead of typing out messages one finger at a time.
Does this contrast mean that moms should never use social media? Absolutely not! Facebook often lights up my bedroom during my daughter’s 4 a.m. feeding. Let this be an encouragement to take some time to focus on your sweet baby, because simply put, babies don’t keep.
Facebook and Twitter can easily engulf. Let’s join together as Christian moms and commit to only using social media so long as it glorifies our heavenly Father.