Contentment vs. Comparison: Why I Quit Social Media

Contentment vs. Comparison: Why I Quit Social Media

Article by Matt Scheuneman
“We are not rich by what we possess but by what we can do without.” – Immanuel Kant

At some point last year, I removed myself from all social media. As an older Millennial, this was equally “on-brand” and “off.” It seems many are considering this exit as well. There is a growing discontent with what the platforms provide for our emotional, social, and spiritual lives.  The primary reason why I quit? Comparison.

As I have gotten older, I have become much more reflective of my past. I have noticed that much of my life up until this point has been driven by a desire to “live up” to the standards of others. I’m driven by a need not to let others down. While I now see this as poor relationship motivation, I used it as an essential element of many past relationships.

And through the past decade of my navigation of social media, I noticed this desire inflamed by platforms that promote self-focus and that ever-nagging question of, “Will they like this?” Can you imagine how many times I checked to see if my post received comments or likes? The red icon became a drug.

Now you might be asking yourself, “Is this Matt’s attempt to preach about the evils of social media?” When likely you are reading this on a social media account!
This is not a call for the disbanding of social media. Not yet, at least. It is a warning to the devices of this world that inflame our “unrighteous desires” and lead us away from God. A flame – all too familiar to many.

The antithesis (or fire extinguisher, if you will) to comparison is contentment. And at the root of contentment is peace. Contentment is the letting go of the demand for this desire to be fulfilled – a letting go of my white-knuckle grip to self-fulfill or self-protect. This peace that transcends understanding comes from only one source – our Heavenly Father.

It is contentment that everyone longs for. We want to feel comfortable in our skin. We want to be in relationships with others – healthy and loving relationships. We want to be noticed by someone, and we want someone to see us deeply – to know us deeply. We want to make a profound, meaningful impact in our world. Were we not created this way?

Too many of us have searched for this place of contentment in others more than our maker. Social media has only expedited our ability to find it primarily in others. This is what creates comparison. We feel we can only truly find contentment when we are at the level of, noticed by, or surpassing our fellow humans.

To return to the levels of peace and joy we so long to have, we must consider two essential questions:
  • Whom does God say I am? (Who I am)
  • Whom does God say he is? (Who made me who I am)

Paul wrote these words to the Philippians, “I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance, and need. I can do all things through HIM who strengthens me.”

Paul’s belief in whom God said he was and whom God said HE was, led to Paul finding contentment. It doesn’t mean we will never feel pain. It just changes pain’s meaning.

May we lean deeper into the truth of who we are in Christ. And may this lead to the peace that we so long to have.


Counselor in Biblical Life Ministry
Tagged with , ,