I never thought this would be a post I’d write. Maybe you’re thinking the same thing right now. I’d love to leave Instagram, but I can’t. That was me two years ago when I watched my life coach kiss Insta goodbye. Or when I saw the organizing queen leave last year. Or when the self-care momma left last month.
Each time, I was intrigued. Each time, I learned about their reasons and felt a bit of excitement at the potential of doing it too.
The idea, though tempting, felt impossible.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been doing our Signature Challenge and the clarity I’m experiencing is…well, undeniably clear. That’s not a plug for the challenge, but a plug for God! 😉 I didn’t come to God with big questions like “should I leave Instagram?” It wasn’t even on my radar. But when Tyler and I were enjoying one of our fireside chats (which is basically just making intentionally time to chat after the girls go to bed) and the idea came up, I immediately thought Yes! I’m ready!
As I thought the actual logistics of how this would work, the possible income lost, the missed connections, the Lord kept confirming it. I have no idea if this is permanent. I’ll just keep following God’s lead, but I think it may be. This year, one of my big goals was to live more spirit-led and I am blown away by what that is looking like just a few weeks into the year! I feel excited to do something that, in the past, would have caused me anxiety or major FOMO or that I would have just said no to. Hands down, this is not a decision I could have made in my flesh. I’m so grateful the Lord is faithful to speak to us and lead us.
I wanted to share my reasons for leaving because as I read other people talk about it, it planted a seed for what’s happening right now. Maybe you’ve been thinking about it and wondering if it’s possible for you. Maybe it’s never crossed your mind. This is a personal decision and I feel pretty confident that it wasn’t my time to leave sooner and that God used me in the space for the time He wanted. But I’m super grateful for the trailblazers who made this feel not so impossible in our hyper-connected world.
Y’all know I’m big on not just sharing my stuff for the sake of just sharing about me. I hope this post will encourage you in some way even if the answer isn’t that you should leave a platform. If you feel led, prayerfully consider the question do I need to be on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook/etc?
Here we go! 11 reasons I’m leaving Instagram confidently:
1. The benefits of Instagram aren’t worth the cost of Instagram anymore for me.
I love the communication I get to enjoy, I love the inspiration I get to read, I love following along with the journeys of others through this little platform. I love the impact it has on us selling journals and getting your feedback. This is why it’s taken me so long to leave. There ARE big benefits from being in this space, but something recently clicked in my brain, actually something I read from Cal Newport two years ago. We can’t do something simply because it has a benefit. The benefit has to outweigh the cost. And the cost for me on this platform is high. You’ll see more below.
2. My news consumption was out of control and causing extra anxiety.
Guys, I can’t say no to the explorer feed. It suuuuuucks me in like a powerful vortex. I read from every news outlet just trying to get some semblance of balance. As a journalism grad, the age we live in is hard to witness. The fear-mongering. The bias. From any and all sides. I have not valued myself enough to step out of the madness and digest a modest consumption of news until now. I feel like I’m coming out of a trance as I finally stand up in more concrete ways against things I’ve let take up precious real estate in my brain so easily. I am subscribed to The Pour Over, so I’ll still be keeping up with the news, but being off Instagram, I’ll have less opportunity to overconsume.
3. There are way more positive feeds to follow than when I started.
When I started sharing about prayer almost 8 years ago, I did so because I wanted to be a positive voice on a social media platform. I wanted to point you to prayer and truth. Nearly a decade later, there are thousands of people offering that. My guess is, many of the people you follow are bringing you a nugget of truth that you could sit on for the day thinking about. I’d rather step back and not add to that noise and instead devote energy to more long-form content for you, like on the blog you’re reading here. To get an email notification whenever I publish a new blog post, sign up here.
4. I want to live a quieter life.
You will see an e-book on this soon. I still have lots of content I want to share, but I’m just ready to live without feeling like I should constantly be documenting something. I’m ready to share things with people who are reading more than one isolated post and making a judgment. My audience is honestly very kind, so I don’t deal with backlash much, but I know we’re only moving in a more critical direction as a world. People are canceling others left and right because of very little information they might know about someone, and the thought of having to toe the line and keep two sides of people who disagree with the other side happy feels futile. I want to speak thoughtfully but if I’m honest, I’ve spent an incredible amount of time overthinking my words because I know it’s easier to misconstrue than a friend sitting in my living room would take it.
5. It’s time to pivot.
We’ve been so dependent on social media as a business that we’re missing other opportunities. Limitations inspire creativity, and as we’ve talked as a team about how to “make up” for the influence social media has on our sales, we’ve come up with some ideas we never would have thought of. And from what I’m seeing, people are getting jaded by social media. So many are ready to move on. New privacy settings kicked off a new wave of people leaving, and maybe one day we’ll be forced to pivot away from social media altogether, and I love the idea of getting ahead of it instead of being completely derailed by it one day.
6. I want to devote more to my family.
There is an uncomfortably obvious correlation between my kids’ behavior and my cell phone use. The girls have been so pleasant the last few weeks as I’ve already been off my phone more. I’m less distracted. I’m not trying to fit in one more DM response while Vana asks for my attention. I’m not trying to get a picture while Vivi wants me to play a game. I think it’s really good for our kids to see us work. This is one reason I love taking the girls to the storage unit or have them be a part of the physical work or even picking the book cover (sharing soon!) but them seeing me on my phone is just kind of confusing. I also know our social media life can impact our marriages too and I haven’t always been intentional to protect that. I talked about it a bit here.
7. I hope to portray something different than the selfie life.
One of my biggest fears about raising teenage daughters is the struggle they may face with their phones. I pray they don’t find their value in likes but let’s be honest. I’m 36 and struggle with it. I also fear how a selfie life could convince them they are the center of the universe. Teaching kids how to love and serve others and ultimately that this earth isn’t all there is seems infinitely harder when there’s an underlying assumption that everyone wants to see your outfit, what you’re eating, or latest dance moves. I know this isn’t every teen. I’ve seen some good kids embrace the platform, but it feels like it’s such a hard-fought thing to escape the teen years without thinking the world revolves around us.
8. I want to live more fleshly.
Okay, this one sounds completely opposite of what God calls us to (Romans 8), but it’s the word that came out as I talked to Diana about this. I’ve been feeling this tug over the years to live right where I am. So novel, huh? I want to have people stop over for prayer time. I want to walk barefoot in my neighborhood and have conversations with moms at the park. And I want to leave my phone at home. I want to cook food when someone’s overwhelmed. I want to see people. I know this is hard right now, but it’s not impossible. I’ve said before that I think a huge source of our anxiety is knowing the problems and issues of hundreds or thousands of people. I could name a few specific irrational fears that I have from what I learned on Instagram. I’m excited to get to invest in the real-life issues of those around me because I’ve made room for it and am not maxed to emotional capacity from every traumatic story on the internet.
9. I’m just not very good at Instagram and to be “good” at it would require more than I’ve got.
I am not the poster child for success on Instagram. I may have a good bit of followers but my engagement and follower growth would make some Instagram strategists cry. I don’t do reels daily. I don’t hop on Instagram Live or stories as consistently as I “should”. I post very randomly, some weeks once or twice and some weeks more. My posts are probably too long. To really do Instagram well, is to do something that I absolutely can’t afford to do timewise. Maybe it’s my perfectionist mindset that makes me feel like if I can’t do it well then I should move on and focus on what I can do well. But if I really wanted to do Instagram well, I’d have to actually commit more than I’ve been doing and the cost would be too high.
10. I want to write longer-form content.
I have LOVED writing books! I love the idea of getting to nestle in, pray for the Lord to give me words, research the Word and books. I want to take the concepts I think about as Instagram posts and spend more time researching and letting things marinate. The plan is to create e-books based on some of the most common topics I tend to cover. Things I know we will be working on will be routines, margin, rest/Sabbath, hypochondria (I was blown away by how many wanted this but can’t wait to share!!), teaching kids to pray and more! And if you have any topics that you’d like me to consider, leave a comment! (I gather all suggested topics, pray about what to cover, and only cover things I feel equipped and led to write on.) If you want to know when those things launch, sign up here.
11. I want more margin.
I want space in my days. As I’ve stopped posting regularly at 6:30 AM, I’ve read more books. I’ve enjoyed the girls when they wake up early. I’ve been able to sleep in and still have a really nice quiet time. There are so many times through my days where I’ll pick up my phone to check something before I sit down to read or start cooking/cleaning and 30 minutes later, that intentional time has evaporated! I’m already seeing a huge difference and it’s leaving room to be open to the chaos of others. That’s been a goal of mine in the past and even last year, my word of the year was “Make Room” and it’s finally happening.
So what does this all mean for Val Marie Paper?
Will you delete @ValWoerner?
No. All content there will stay up but won’t be updated.
What will happen to your @ValMariePaper account?
Kara and Brandi will keep managing it! To be honest, one of my hesitations to get off the platform was because I didn’t want to benefit from less screen time at the burden of my team. We talked about it and both girls felt that because it was part of their job, they didn’t fall into the scroll like I always do when I hop on. I will be writing a little bit of content for it as well and sending content and photos to Kara and Brandi to share! We each sign our name at the end of posts so you’ll see me a little more over there just not physically posting it! 😉 If I do have anything to share personally in video form, it will be here!
Will you be writing elsewhere?
Yes!! Our monthly e-mail will be the prime way I share Instagram-ish posts. I share 5-10 tips, hacks or recs. Sign up here for that. But there will also be more blog posts and e-books and full-length books too! I still have content I want to share but, but it will just be more long-form, like I shared above.
What about the VMP Society group on Facebook?
You will likely see me around here a bit more! I am never tempted to have Facebook on my phone and I have a news feed eradicator so I don’t sit and scroll on Facebook. I’ll pop on to check notifications and that’s about it. The community aspect of Instagram is one of the hardest reasons to leave so I’m thankful to be able to connect with y’all in a healthy way. You can join here.
How can we connect directly with you?
I will be hopping on Instagram Live once a month-ish (under @ValMariePaper) to host a prayer time and Q&A time. This is where I’ll be able to read your comments directly and respond back. You can also always DM our team @ValMariePaper or email firstname.lastname@example.org and Brandi will pass on anything directly for me.