Becky Higgins: “Following” Him—Discipleship on Social Media
Most of us are young enough to remember a world without social media and yet, for many of us, connecting with others online has become a part of our everyday lives. Church leaders have spoken of the power of social media. We’ve been encouraged to use it in sharing messages of light and truth, but our prophet has also issued specific invitations to take a break from it. Becky Higgins engages with over 80,000 people online as she builds a business centered on documenting life. On today's episode, she shares her thoughts on what being a disciple looks like in an online world and how we can signal that the most important person we follow is Christ.
I don't mean to make social media sound like such a spiritual thing but it is. ...It's between you and God. Be really intentional with who you're following for your reasons.
Don't Miss This Scripture Stickers that Becky Designed:
Becky Higgins' BYU Women's Conference Talk: "Becky Higgins Speaks at BYU Women's Conference May 2018"
Talks that were referenced:
- Elder David A. Bednar "To Sweep the Earth as with a Flood," August 2014, BYU Campus Education Week
- Elder David A. Bednar: "We Will Prove Them Herewith," October 2020 General Conference
- Elder Neil L. Andersen" "We Talk of Christ," October 2020 General Conference
- President Russell M. Nelson: "Let God Prevail," October 2020 General Conference
- Elder Neil L. Andersen: "Spiritually Defining Memories" April 2020 General Conference
See article by BBC for more info about Dunbar's number: "Dunbar's number: Why we can only maintain 150 relationships," October 2019
Quote: "My beloved brothers and sisters, Christianity is comforting, but it is often not comfortable. The path to holiness and happiness here and hereafter is a long and sometimes rocky one. It takes time and tenacity to walk it" (Elder Jeffery R. Holland, "Waiting on the Lord," October 2020 General Conference).
Quote: "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience." - Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Article by Church News about President Nelson's invitation for a social media fast: "Experts weigh in on why you should accept President Nelson’s social media challenge and offer tips for success"
See here for Becky's Instagram post featuring Ben.
3:09- Evolution of personal social media use
4:23- Satan’s desire to divide
14:20- Documenting as a spiritual gift
18:15- Drawing People In
22:00- Balance Between Sharing Light and Bragging
24:40- Social Media Overwhelm
27:03- Following Account in Line With Your Goals
35:28- Unplugging and Fasting from Social Media
41:32- Acknowledging Who Wants Us to Compare
45:27- Faith Grows When We Share
48:29- What Does It Mean To Be All In the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Morgan Jones 0:00
In 2014, Elder David A. Bednar gave a talk that in retrospect may be even more significant than it felt at the moment. You likely remember it as the beginning of the "Share Goodness" hashtag. But you may not remember the specifics of what Elder Bednar said. So before we get into this week's interview, I want to revisit just a few things. First, he said, "The Lord is hastening his work. And it is no coincidence that these powerful communication innovations and inventions are occurring in the dispensation of the fullness of times. Social media channels are global tools that can personally and positively impact large numbers of individuals and families, and I believe the time has come for us as disciples of Christ to use these inspired tools appropriately and more effectively to testify of God the Eternal Father, His plan of happiness for His children and His Son, Jesus Christ, as the Savior of the world to proclaim the reality of the restoration of the gospel in the latter days and to accomplish the Lord's work." End quote. Elder Bednar invited us to sweep the earth as with a flood by sharing messages that are authentic, edifying and praiseworthy online. Six years later, how did that invitation change our social media use? Do you ever think about it even now? Today we are talking all about discipleship on social media.
A veteran in her work since 1996, Becky Higgins has been innovating and inspiring people in the space of documenting since she was a 19 year old college student who landed a job as the first creative editor of a popular scrapbooking magazine called Creating Keepsakes. In 2009. She started her own company so that she could follow her passion for offering solution-based products to people who felt the pains of being overwhelmed by pictures and memories. Becky saw and felt the problem, created a solution and brought Project Life to market. Becky's faith and family life have remained central in her life through the years and she finds a great deal of joy in the blend of entrepreneurship, family life, and being a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Her Instagram sharing, products, app, courses and podcasts all tie back to her mission, which is to cultivate a good life and record it.
This is All In an LDS Living podcast where we ask the question, what does it really mean to be all in the Gospel of Jesus Christ? I'm Morgan Jones. And I am so honored today to have my friend Becky Higgins on the line with me Becky, welcome.
Becky Higgins 2:51
Thank you so much, Morgan, way more of an honor than you can even realize. I love you, and I love All In – so much goodness happening with your podcast.
Morgan Jones 3:00
Oh, well, I feel very similarly about you. And I'm grateful for this chance to talk about something that I think is so important. So on today's episode, we're going to reference a lot a talk that you gave Becky at BYU Women's Conference in 2018. But I want to ask you, before we get to that, obviously, a lot has happened in our world from 2018 to now 2020. And so I'm wondering, has your perspective of social media changed from 2018? To now or not?
Becky Higgins 3:35
You know, I don't think that my perspective, so much has changed as it has evolved. And I think that that would be the case for all of us, right? We're constantly evolving beings. And so when it comes to social media, specifically in – in light of everything that's been going upside down and backwards, and inside out with this year, I just feel like my perspective continues to evolve. I feel like I'm more aware that in light of hastening the work and gathering scattered Israel, social media is absolutely instrumental for more of God's children to be reached. So that's just an ever-evolving thought. And that's where I feel like my perspective has been enhanced just in the last year or two.
Morgan Jones 4:24
Yeah, I think that it's so interesting. You know, we just had General Conference and you and I both work in fields where we're conscious of what's happening on social media. And I found it really interesting to watch how even the Church – the Church's social media, they were, they were using new strategies this time around. And I think it is something that we have to be strategic about. And one of the reasons that we have to be so strategic – and you mentioned this in your talk at women's conference – is that you said Satan's tactics are always changing. How do you think that they have changed the past year or two?
Becky Higgins 5:01
Great question, I don't know that I can put my finger on specifically, what tactics have changed so much, because I can never get myself inside of his head.
Morgan Jones 5:14
And nor should you want to.
Becky Higgins 5:16
Right, right. No, thank goodness. However, I do feel that what the adversary is doing so well is that he's creating more divide. And it's always been there. We've always known that that's one of his tactics, but it feels incredibly amplified right now. And it feels like for example, people are more intense with their anger, because of the events of 2020, right? And so social media, which of course, is a tool for good and for evil, and we all know this – it's like social media 101 right there in a nutshell – we are seeing the good shine brighter and the bad go darker. And that divide gets bigger and bigger and bigger. And that's what I feel like is a tactic that Satan has been using for the ages since social media has been around, but that is just amplified right now.
Morgan Jones 6:11
Yeah, I was actually just rereading last night Elder Bednar's talk from conference where he talked about when Elder Holland came to visit BYU Idaho –
Becky Higgins 6:23
Morgan Jones 6:24
And he said that things are going to become more and more polarized over time, and he said, you know, "That statement has proved to be prophetic." And absolutely, it has. Everything feels so polarizing, right now. So today, in our conversation, we're going to talk a lot about social media and establishing ourselves as disciples in a world that social media – whether we like it or not – is a big part of our world. In general conference, Elder Neil L. Anderson said, "We care more about being his followers than being liked by our own followers." And that was one of my favorite quotes from conference. How do you think, Becky, that we best establish ourselves as disciples of Jesus Christ in the world that we live in, and on social media?
Becky Higgins 7:12
I loved that talk as well. I'm so glad you brought that up. And actually, you bringing that up and the question associated with it reminds me of another talk from this conference. And it was President Nelson, I believe, on Sunday morning, when he brought up the word "myopic." If we are near sighted and how we use social media, right – I'm gonna just take the word and put it into what we're talking about here – if we're near sighted about how we're using social media, we will care so much more about how many likes we're getting, how many followers we have, and even whether certain people are noticing us, and we're more likely to vent, right? And be careless in our comments and engagement, I think we'll probably be more aimless and our scrolling. And we'll just focus on only what's right in front of us in that moment. So to me – as I think about President Nelson bringing up that idea of being myopic – what's more valuable, and what will be so much more rewarding in the long run, right? Rather than being near sighted is, it's not any kind of instant gratification, but rather the long-term vision that we have for the role that social media plays in our life. And I wonder what social media might look like for each of us if we took a moment to ask ourselves, if we're being near sighted in our actions, or if there's something much more meaningful for us, as we keep a bigger perspective. And for me, kind of on a more practical sense, that looks like asking myself, with every comment that I leave, every time I double tap, every search I make every post I publish, "Is what I'm doing join me closer to the Savior? Am I sharing the light of Christ through my kindness or articulation of well thought out insights? Am I helping to build connection or strengthen my own faith or that of someone else?" I think, I think there's purpose in asking ourselves questions like this so that we are not myopic. And, you know, going to your question when it comes to following the Savior, and developing as disciples in a social media world, it's just – it's not only possible, but it's a privilege. And it causes me to think back years ago, before I was as open and sharing my faith, I really held back and I held back because I have fear, right? And I think most people can relate to that who don't share their faith on social media. You have fears, right? Lots of different fears. But I have – once I've let go of those fears, and I've just shared from a place of love, my life has gotten so much better. And I hate to give social media so much credit. But guys, it's a it's a tool, right? And so it can help us or it can hurt us. And I've just seen so much help with the openness of sharing my faith on social media.
Morgan Jones 10:24
Yeah, I just had a conversation this morning with a friend and we were talking about –she asked me a question, she said, "Do you think of yourself as an influencer?" And I was like, "Well, first of all, I said, 'Do you want the long answer the short answer?'" And she said I want the long one. And I said, "I think that we are all influencers. We all have influence. And some people have a bigger reach, but we're all influencing people around us all the time. And I think that we need to think of ourselves that way – even if I do hate the word ‘influencer.’” And I think that it is, it's so important for us to be conscious of what we're influencing. And, and so anyway, I love what you said.
Becky Higgins 11:15
I totally agree. Yeah, I could not agree with you more, if we're not aware of the influence that we have on other people, then I'm not sure that we can totally align ourselves with what the Lord needs us to do. Because as parents, as leaders, as people in the community, as neighbors, as coworkers, as bosses, and employees, as people in the checkout line at the grocery store, we all do have that influence – that's social media side, right? – But on social media, you could have 10 people follow you, or 10 million, and you are 100%, influencing those who are following you.
Morgan Jones 11:57
Yeah. And they're choosing to follow you, right? And so that's, that's a conscious thing. And we'll talk more about that, that choice of who we choose to follow. But I think it's so important to be conscious of the fact that people are making that decision to follow you, so then when you have that influence, what are you choosing to do with it? And I think to me, the most important thing that I could ever do in my life, is to try to help people become followers of Jesus Christ rather than followers of me.
Becky Higgins 12:31
Morgan Jones 12:32
And so if I can do that then I feel like I'm on the right track. But I think that that can be a difficult thing to navigate.
Becky Higgins 12:40
It is. It is tricky. I mean, it's hard to – it feels like such a big responsibility. But like I was saying earlier, the thing that keeps coming to my mind is, it's such a privilege, like what a privilege that we have, in this day and age that we get to be alive during a time when technology allows us to reach each other, to build connection. And that's a very real thing that can happen. I've witnessed it over and over and over through social media. It's so much more than what happens through a screen. Lives are being touched, hearts are being changed. You mentioned General Conference and watching what the Church you know, and the media is doing through the sharing even during conference. And that's the thing I kept thinking about, like, how cool is that? That even if someone wasn't tuning in, or isn't watching General Conference, because they didn't, you know, they didn't tune in, they didn't make it a priority, or maybe they're not of our faith. And so they just didn't, you know, whatever. They can literally tap in scroll and swipe and see all of these words from prophets, apostles and leaders who are chosen to speak on behalf of the Lord right now. That's amazing. And it feels even more amazing. As I read through the Book of Mormon, as we are studying that again right now, and I think about the people back then who went through so much effort to scribe and to write and how did they deliver those messages? I can't even wrap my head around how that looked. And yet here we are. And it's just right at our fingertips.
Morgan Jones 14:12
Click of a button.
Becky Higgins 14:13
Morgan Jones 14:14
Yeah. So Becky, this is something – all of this that we've been talking about is something that is really important to you. Your whole business is built around the idea of documenting the things that matter most. Has that always been something that has been important to you? Or was there a kind of catalyst moment in your interest in that topic?
Becky Higgins 14:36
For me, in a weird way, and I could tell you stories, endless stories about this from my childhood and young adulthood, but in a nutshell, yes, this has always been my passion. I feel like it's not even the thing that I chose. It's like documenting has chased me down. And I put that in another way, it's a spiritual gift. And I know that and I've come to recognize that and you combine what I know as a spiritual gift of documenting and knowing how to talk about it and help people with it. But I've combined that with my willingness and my openness to use this gift in ways that are aligned with Heavenly Father's will for his children, and that combination has led to this becoming my life's work. So I've recently felt some struggle in what I was doing, within the scope of my work, how I was doing it, how my efforts of documenting were going to best serve people. And I prayed a lot about it. And I always am praying about the work that I do, because I believe that Heavenly Father definitely cares about all these details in our life. But I just wanted to mention that because yes, while this has always been my passion, it is a constant effort to make myself available for how I feel guided by the Spirit and how I'm doing the work. And recently, the struggle that I had led me to my knees. Lots of prayer. And actually, when I say knees, I mean I often pray while I'm hiking, not physically on my knees, most of the time, it's while I'm hiking, it's while I'm driving, I just am constantly praying, talking to Heavenly Father, and all of that openness, and that willingness, and that availability that I put myself positioned myself into, led me to creating something that's called "My Modern Story." It's an Instagram account. It's a free online course – like zero barrier kind of thing where I really genuinely feel like this is what Heavenly Father wants his children doing is, is writing their experiences. Neil L. Anderson just talked to us about that in April 2020 conference. I think it was the Saturday morning where his talk was called, "Spiritually Defining Memories." You probably remember that one.
Morgan Jones 16:45
Yeah. I love that one.
Becky Higgins 16:45
Oh it's so good. And it's so important. Anyway, yes, I could speak passionately about documenting for days. But I am confident that it is important to the Lord, especially because of the ways that it is brought up over and over in the scriptures, because of the ways that documenting helps us connect better to ourselves, to other people and to God.
Morgan Jones 17:11
Yeah, I love that you brought up that it is one of your spiritual gifts. I think that this is something that we've talked about on this podcast previously, Eva Witesman had an excellent episode about that. And it's something that I've thought a lot about, because I think that our spiritual gifts come in many shapes and sizes. Before we started this recording for listeners, Becky, and I were talking about her son who is really technologically savvy, and I was telling her that when I was little, I spent a lot of time on the internet. And I think my parents were like, “Get off the internet, get her away from the computer.” And now looking back, I can see, I think that that was a spiritual gift of mine. It's actually interesting. My patriarchal blessing says, "You will be blessed to live during a time when there's more technology than ever before." And I think that there are things that we have these natural inclinations toward, and it's amazing when we lean into those things and see how the Lord can use them. And I think that we all have them.
Becky Higgins 18:16
Morgan Jones 18:17
Becky, one thing with this topic of social media, I think this is one way that our generation is documenting things like never before we're writing, sharing pictures, and certainly this has the ability to be a missionary tool, a family history tool. Why do you think that people are drawn to certain posts on social media? And what are effective ways you've found to share the gospel on your social media?
Becky Higgins 18:48
In my experience, I think that people are drawn when they feel something. And many times they don't know what they're feeling. But when they feel a connection, they're pulled in. And for me what that looks like in terms of effective ways to share the gospel on social media, it has to – again, this is just speaking from personal experience, I'm not suggesting that it has to be this way for others – but it has to be 100% led by the Spirit for me. It has to be authentic. I don't share things of a spiritual nature in a pre-planned or contrived way. I don't, I don't plan ahead like, "Okay, this week, I'm going to have two posts that tie into the spirit somehow. I'm going to touch on this aspect of my testimony and this piece of my faith." I just don't think that way. And I think for some that if you – I don't know how people do it – but if people do do that, I think you got to do what works for you. If it spreads like the love of Christ, it doesn't matter how it's done, right? But it has to be from a sincere and genuine place. And the other thing is I am 100% honest in how I feel. And I think that people get that about me. Many of my followers have literally been following along in my journey for a quarter of a century. A long, long time I've been doing this work. And they stick around because they trust me. So if people can trust me in what I'm trying to guide them along and documenting, then when I do share about my faith, which is actually pretty often lately, because I just can't not. Morgan, I just can't not share what brings me so much joy. But if they trust me on what I'm sharing about the space I exist in, in terms of documenting, then they're way more likely to trust what I'm saying of a spiritual nature, because they feel my sincerity.
Morgan Jones 20:41
Yeah, I think that you touch on something so important. And it's kind of this, I feel like this phrase is a little bit trite, but you know, the saying, "People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care." And I think it's kind of true, you have to build this relationship with people. And in many cases, we're talking about people that we know personally. In your case, we're talking about people that in many cases have just followed along with you for years, but they feel like they know you, and they've built this relationship over time and they sense because you've continued to post these things that matter to you, because you think that they'll help people in their lives or draw light into their lives, that's an act of showing that you care about them. And so I think that there's that, that basis that we kind of – you can't just jump on social media and all the sudden start sharing all this stuff, you have to build that base foundation of trust and caring.
Becky Higgins 21:41
Well, to be clear, you can do it that way. But it's just not going to be very effective.
Morgan Jones 21:47
Becky Higgins 21:47
And so, I am so glad that we're really solidifying that we both agree on that. That you really – in order to feel like you can be effective in reaching people with things of a more spiritual nature that are closer to your heart, it is – it really does circle back to being based in a place of trust that you've already been developing with them. And that's true for real life as it is on social media.
Morgan Jones 22:08
Yeah, absolutely. So one, one big question that I have – and this is something that I think people – it is a hard balance to strike, this idea of sharing light, and all of the goodness that we have in our lives as a result of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which extends to a lot of different aspects of our lives. How do we share that light without seeming braggadocious?
Becky Higgins 22:38
I love the word.
Morgan Jones 22:39
That's the first time I've ever used that word in my entire life.
Becky Higgins 22:43
You guys heard it here first. Morgan, that was brilliant. So how do we share light without being braggadocious? Is that what you said? braggadocious?
Morgan Jones 22:53
I think that's a word. Is that not a word? I'm pretty sure it is. I should google it. I'm not gonna google it right now. It'll affect our sound. Go on Becky.
Becky Higgins 23:00
I love that. As a girl who knows how to use the internet, right? No, it is a tricky balance. I think you're totally right. Honestly, I think that Satan will use any sneaky tactics to prevent us from sharing our stories and our faith. So it doesn't seem obvious on the surface, but think about it. Anything that keeps us from sharing. If it's holding us back, even when we know it's a good thing to share, then that sounds like fear to me. So we have to make decisions based in love. If you have something to share that you know you feel compelled to share. And then you notice you kind of feel that fear creep in like fear of what others will think, fear of losing followers, fear of coming across as, as braggy, which by the way, these are all feelings, all fears that I've had for sure, yeah. Then let's circle back to the word myopic. Are we being near-sighted with our thoughts? Or are we remembering that by small and simple things are great things come to pass. Sharing the light that we have, that we want to share. A little here and a little there. Just as social media is set up to be, right? Just picture, just a little here a little there. That's very much a part of the small and simple things that the Lord needs us to do.
Morgan Jones 24:23
Yeah, I think that's spot on. Becky, in the talk at women's conference, you gave some really, really great suggestions for managing time on social media and I want to touch on just a few of these because some of them are things that I've thought of before. Other ones, though I had not thought of and so for example, one you said, "Cleaning up your social media and unfollowing accounts that are no longer a positive thing in your life." I want to say really quick, I just want to bear my testimony of this. A few weeks – a few months ago, I started to feel really, really, really overwhelmed by social media. And I was talking to a friend on the phone, and she mentioned something that she had read in a book by Malcolm Gladwell. And it is this idea of Dunbar's number. Do you know about this, Becky?
Becky Higgins 25:18
Morgan Jones 25:19
Okay, so so Dunbar's number is this concept that was created by a researcher in England. And he said that really, we're intended in our lives, that we have the capacity to connect with 150 people. And I was like, "What! Like, this is crazy." Anyway, long story short is: I ended up unfollowing, almost every account on my Instagram and just kind of starting fresh. And then I've little by little kind of started to expand that again. But it was so liberating for me and like an absolute game changer, because I think I was starting to feel a little bit suffocated. And so this idea of cleaning up your social media – and I wish that I had watched your women's conference talk sooner because I hadn't really thought of it as being a regular thing. So why do you believe that this is so important?
Becky Higgins 26:17
First of all, I hope that our listeners are hearing what you just shared, and really taking to heart the experience that you had, because you just testified to the burden that was lifted, right? And not everybody feels overwhelmed. But I would say most people, most of us on social media do go through periods of feeling overwhelmed, and maybe some people are overwhelmed all the time and don't even acknowledge it. They just kind of like use it as a crutch. They use it as a buffer. They just keep going back, and going back, and going back. We know that there's an addiction element that can be there if we're not careful. So to answer your question, the reason why I feel it's so important – and by the way, by the way, I'm totally due to do this again, right? It is a regular and ongoing thing. And so just you asking me right now reminds me, you know, I am due to do that again. And it isn't about – that's an interesting concept that you brought up with the 150. To me, it isn't about how many people am I following? And is that too many? And where does that cross the line? It's more of like, what's the feeling that I'm getting from each account that I'm following? The very nature of social media causes us to follow various people and brands and accounts over time. That's a great way to explore various influences that we invite in to our lives, right? You mentioned that earlier, like we invite these accounts into our lives. But it doesn't take much to have our social media garden overtaken by a lot of weeds. Now, I'm not suggesting that the accounts that you're following are weeds, but I am suggesting that you may be following accounts that are not necessarily serving you and helping you in your journey during this season. So maybe for a time, it's good to follow a ton of accounts for various reasons. But there are times and seasons. And I think a good regular assessment of looking through the accounts you're following and asking yourself, "Why am I following this account? Why? Like what, what is the reason? What am I – how am I benefiting? How is this actually helping me to draw closer to my goals?" I think that's helpful, and it's healthy.
Morgan Jones 28:20
Yeah. And that's one thing that you talked about in that talk, you talked about eliminating accounts that go against your goals. And I love the examples that you gave because you talked about, you know, "If you are trying to lose weight, following a bunch of food accounts, probably not your best move." And I think that that's so – that's such a good point. And there are different goals that we have, you know. If we are trying to strengthen our testimony, like we're going to follow a certain number of accounts, if we're seeking to get in better shape, we're going to follow certain accounts and being conscious of what that is. I think also, it's so important to recognize that sometimes the accounts that we're following change over time.
Becky Higgins 29:04
Morgan Jones 29:04
And so when we revisit that, we may be like, "Oh, well, at one time, it made sense for me to follow this account. But either I or the account that I was following have changed in some sense."
Becky Higgins 29:16
Yep. Yep. Case in point, my family, we just built a home last year. So in those couple of years of designing and building a home, you better believe I was following inspiring accounts that gave us design ideas and inspiration for how to establish the aesthetics of our home. It was so helpful. In fact, I thought over and over how do people do this before Instagram? Like how did people do this without this like easy access to like so much inspiration? And as soon as we moved in and furnished and kind of just like got set up and we have our own style, so it's not like we were relying on these things, but I loved it for inspiration, right? That's what we're here for. We're here to inspire each other. So I was very willingly and excitedly following specific accounts that really brought that inspiration into my life. Well, here we are a year and a half in, I don't need those accounts anymore. They don't serve me anymore. They're great accounts. They're fine. But that time and season passed, and so I no longer need that. Another example I want to give that's kind of different than the ones that you and I just both shared is I've been following someone for quite a while, who is considered a leader in her creative space. And certainly, she's super smart and creative and offers great ideas. But given the events of 2020, she started really ramping up in a lot of her opinions and political views that were very based in anger, and had nothing to do with which side she was on, or what she was expressing it was how she was doing it. And so this is a classic example of asking myself, "Why am I following this account anymore? Is it serving me? Is it helping me?" And the answer was, "No, it doesn't. It makes me feel not good inside. It feels like the spirit just isn't in my heart. And and it doesn't have to do with her, it has to do with me, I don't need that. I don't want that." And so it has nothing to do with, you know, disagreeing with people or not liking people. It's not that it's more of just asking yourself going really deep inside and saying, "What is this account doing for me right now that helps align my actions with my goals? And what are my goals?" And by the way, you do have to ask yourself that question, "What are your goals with social media? What is your purpose? Why are you there? Are you there to consume? Are you there to share? Are you there to do all of it? Are you there to connect? Are you there to grow? Are you there to strengthen your faith? Are you there to find anger and hate and divisiveness?" You will find what you're looking for. Day in and day out. I can't say that enough. If you're looking for it, you will find it.
Morgan Jones 31:48
Yeah, one of my favorite phrases of late has been, "You get what you're looking for." Whatever that is. If you're looking for a reason to stay in the Church, you'll find it. If you're looking for a reason to leave, you'll find it. And I think it's true of everything. But I love, love, love that intentionality that you just touched on. And recognizing that we have to actually think about social media. And I think it's kind of a mindless thing for a lot of us. It's something that we do when we don't know what else to do when we get in the elevator with somebody and we're like, "I don't want to have to talk to this person. Open my phone, scroll." That's, that's my go-to. But I think to your point, I think that recognizing, thinking about what is, what is the purpose of my social media use and I want to touch on something really quick. And this may just be my opinion. But there's been a lot of talk this year about what you should be following on social media. And people have said, you know, "You need to follow these accounts for this reason." And I just want to say I think that you follow who you follow, because it's who you want to follow. And don't let anybody else tell you who you should be following. I think it goes back to those goals, because our goals may be different than someone else's goals. And I also think that it's important to note that I don't think people get offended when you are not following them on social media. I don't and I don't think that we should, if we do feel offended.
Becky Higgins 33:18
Well, and if they are offended, does it have anything to do with us? No, like, it just shouldn't even affect us. Right?
Morgan Jones 33:24
Becky Higgins 33:25
Yeah, and I can't agree with you more, Morgan. I, I just, you know, any of us on social media have felt the effects of that. And I, I had a similar experience that you're describing, which is, I felt really uncomfortable when I started being told who I should and shouldn't be following, because that did seem to ramp up this year. And I'm a big fan of discomfort. Let me be clear, there are certain experiences in life that need to be uncomfortable. Who was it that told us in conference, Elder Holland, right? Who told us that Christianity is sometimes very uncomfortable, right? I might be butchering his words, but that's the feeling I got from him, from his message. But so my point is, I'm a big fan of being uncomfortable for the right reasons. But what felt uncomfortable that was different to me that was kind of away from the spirit is I felt like it was somebody else's agenda to try to influence me – there again, Satan's tactics – on going against what I have always tried to do, which is be in tune with the spirit in the accounts I follow. And I don't I don't mean to make social media sound like such a spiritual thing. But it is, it is, right? I mean, everything in our life really is a spiritual thing when you think about it. We are spiritual beings having a mortal experience, not the other way around. And so I'm glad that you brought that up because it isn't up to anyone but yourself. And it's between you and God. Like be really intentional with who you're following for your reasons, not because someone else is bossing you around. You're the boss of you, man.
Morgan Jones 35:03
Yeah, exactly. And agency, right? Is God's plan. And he wants us to have that, that choice. And so if you do want to follow certain accounts, for certain reasons, follow them. If not, don't follow him.
Becky Higgins 35:18
Yeah. Seems pretty simple, right?
Morgan Jones 35:20
It does! But it's amazing how much it can get mixed up in this crazy world that we live in. I interviewed Dr. Jill Manning a couple years ago in an article for the church news about the benefits of accepting president Nelson's invitation to participate in a social media fast. And this is another thing that you talked about in your women's conference address. And Dr. Manning said this, she said, "There's a lot of digital stress in today's world and our young people, our youth, are more inundated with digital stress than generations before them. It's unprecedented. And it's 24/7. And I know there are a lot of youths, perhaps even adults, that don't identify that as stress because they turn to it to de-stress. But we know that's a benefit. To take a break from the mental load and all that's coming to you in those mediums is really beneficial to the brain and spirit." How do you think, Becky, that social media is perhaps more stressful than we realize? And how have you seen it add stress to your life? And why do you think it's important sometimes to take a break from it?
Becky Higgins 36:29
I love this so much. I love all of it. If it's okay with you, can I share just a very quick personal anecdote about President Nelson's invitation? And then I will totally answer your questions. When that happened. It was, it was two years ago, I can't ever forget, it was two years ago, right? October 2018. Because when that invitation came, and I felt the stirring in my heart, and I knew that that's what I was supposed to do. Incidentally, it happened to be that I would be taking that social media fast, exactly during when we were launching our podcast. And I co-host a podcast called Cultivate a Good Life with my dear friend, Becky Proudfit, and we were ramping up to launch and as you know, Morgan, with any launch of any kind podcast or not, social media is a really, really important part of that because that's where you can gain the traction and get people's attention and let them know it's live, it's launched. And it didn't matter. To me, it felt so overwhelmingly clear that being, being obedient to our prophets request to take a break from social media – and for me, that meant kind of during that specific time – meant that the sacrifice was totally worth it. When I say sacrifice I know that's relative, but for me, in the business world, that was a sacrifice. I was launching a podcast! It was a big deal. And just to wrap up that anecdote, I didn't mean to be winded about it. But I, I still to this day, two years into the podcast, feel the abundant blessings that come from being willing to put the Lord before my own personal interest. Because the podcast is soaring and reaching so many people, millions of people around the world and I just don't know that I would have experienced it the same had I just fallen into my own wills and desires and just said, "Ah, I know, I know he wants us to take a break. But that's, that doesn't apply to me because I've got this big launch coming up." You know what I mean? Anyway.
Morgan Jones 38:21
Yeah, well, and I will give you props – and people listening may not be aware of this but – that very first, like, two week stint of a podcast is crucial.
Becky Higgins 38:32
It is crucial.
Morgan Jones 38:32
And so, that is, that is a sacrifice. And so props to you.
Becky Higgins 38:38
No, thank you. That's not, not why I brought it up, but I just – I just love those experiences. You know, when Elder Anderson tells us to write about our spiritual memories, that is a spiritual memory for me. It is such a pivotal moment of just, just knowing where to prioritize, and we will be blessed. Now going back to the questions that you asked I, first of all, I'm a huge fan of and advocate of taking intentional breaks from social media. I never do this with the – I do it regularly, just to put that out there, okay – it's never with the intent to walk away from social media altogether. So I want to be clear about that. If I, one day, let's say I felt very specifically guided to walk away from social media, and I knew through the Spirit that that was exactly what I needed to do and when I needed to do it, I would do it. No matter what. I would do it and I, and I know what happens when we follow through with promptings and when we don't, right? We all have stories about when we actually like heed that counsel that we're receiving and when we don't. And I will heed that counsel if I ever receive it, for right now, I'm supposed to be on social media. But I think that breaks are so helpful. Now going back to that interview that you're talking about, I think that social media is more stressful than we realize because even though most of it is silent, audibly silent, it can actually add up to be one of the most noisy experiences in our life. And that's why it's harder to recognize. So think about how many accounts you follow, for example, that's a lot of different voices, a lot of different agendas, if you will, entering into our heads and our hearts on a regular basis. And when President Nelson in this recent conference, I think it was in his final talk, he reminded us that the Lord wants us to feel optimistic and look forward to the future. Well, if that's the case, and I do believe that that's true, and yet, if we're feeling very opposite feelings when we're on social media, then that's absolutely what's adding to our stress. And he also invited us to be sure that we're giving priority to the voice of the Lord over any other influence. That really struck me. I know that, I already know that, but when he said that, the truthfulness filled me head to toe. I love influence of other people, I do. I choose it, I invite it in. Morgan, you influence me, right? Friends influence each other, family, people on social media, but above anything else, if we're not giving priority to the voice of the Lord over the other influences, then I think we've got it all wrong.
Morgan Jones 41:24
Yeah, I think you just hit the nail on the head. So I'm gonna move on from that, because I think you said it best. You also – in that talk at women's conference – you shared a lot of tips about how to stop comparing on social media. And I think if there is one thing that is super harmful and detrimental about social media, it is this idea of comparison. Of constantly looking at somebody else's house and somebody else's family and somebody else's car. And thinking, "Oh, if only I had that." Or we're feeling pretty good about our lives and then we look on social media, and we start to not feel as good about our body, or you know, it just it never ends. Can you share a few of the things Becky, and you can pick, the key things that you found that help us avoid that comparison game on social media.
Becky Higgins 42:20
Sure, um, you know, for me – this might sound really bizarre but – when it comes to comparison, or any other negative feeling fear, like anything that comes not from God, there's something incredibly empowering about remembering where it does come from. So I hate to say I think about Satan, but I do. Because I want to be aware of his agenda, I want to be aware of his tactics. And I know that, that the spirit of comparison is not of God. It's – we know it's from the adversary, we know this. And so that's one thing that can be a very practical thing is when, when you feel that sense of comparison to someone else's looks, clothes, house, marriage, job, ability to speak, whatever. As soon as you notice that you're feeling that comparison, acknowledge where it is coming from. We have to keep in mind that we're each individual for a reason. That is from God. We are each very uniquely, divinely put here on this earth when we are put here for very specific reasons. No one knows everything, but everyone knows something, right? So you have to remember that you know things that are valuable and helpful to yourself, to your family, to others, if you're on social media, you know, to those that you influence there. And we're not supposed to know and understand things the way that other people do. We're not supposed to be talented in the same ways. So I guess that's what I would narrow it down to is, number one, be aware of Satan's tactics. Comparison comes from him. That's gross, right? Like Run, run, run far away. And secondly, remember that God needs you to be who you are, without the thought of how you measure up against anyone else. Our eyes should be single to the glory of God and being more like our Savior and building the kingdom. With this in mind, there's no time to waste and comparing ourselves is a waste of time.
Morgan Jones 44:21
Yeah, and I think, I think Becky that is so true, not just on social media, but in every aspect of life. I think sometimes – one example I came into a calling one time after a girl who had been very very organized and I am many things but organization, not my strong suit, and I came into the calling and I thought, "Okay, I need to be just like this girl –"
Becky Higgins 44:49
Fill in the blank.
Morgan Jones 44:50
Yeah, and and then it took a little while but one day I thought, "No, I'm not supposed to be just like her." If I was supposed to just like her, Heavenly Father would have kept her in the calling." And so there's a time and season for all things. And there's a time and place for each of us and our unique spiritual gifts and talents. And I just think, what a blessing to be who we are, and to be alive at this time and to have all of these tools and ability, the ability to connect with so many people, but I think being mindful of that is so, so important. Becky, before we get to our last question, I just wanted to ask you one last thing, and that is, what is it meant to you to be able to share these things that matter most with other people?
Becky Higgins 45:40
It's meant so much. I have grown stronger in my own faith by verbalizing my faith. It happens. That is exactly what happens when we share, speak up, write, document, post on social media, whatever sharing looks like whether it's in writing or in written form, or anything, it solidifies what is true to you. So on a personal level, it has meant so much to me because my faith has literally grown because of my willingness to open my mouth. Sure, it can have an impact on other people, but for me personally – from a very selfish standpoint – it has changed my life for the better. Now the other, the other thing I would say to is just a little, a little experience I had yesterday. I was hiking, I love to hike, and I was hiking alone, very safe, lots of people on the trail, I knew I was totally safe hiking alone. Had to throw out that disclaimer, because some people are like, "How do you hike alone?" A totally safe – lots of people – popular trail. But I ran into another solo hiker, we were headed in the same direction. And he's 20 years younger than me. His name's Ben. Super, I mean, hair down to the middle of his back, just moved to you know, the area, to Arizona, from South Dakota struck up a conversation, why am I bringing this up? Because Ben and I had an opportunity – I was so inspired after General Conference to be more open minded, and to be a better listener, to really see people to hear people to see their hearts to see their potential – and my heart felt cracked wide open to this stranger I had never met that I'll probably never see again, his name is Ben. And Ben shared some things with me, um including how overlooked he was, back at, in his old life. And how, as he spoke, like his wisdom, he was just coming from, from such a loving and sincere place. And I thought this is so good. This can't just be for me. I want to share Ben on my social media. And I know this sounds crazy to most people. But this isn't crazy for Becky. This is not crazy for me. So I said, "Ben, would you be willing to – Can I video you sharing that?" And he did not even hesitate, Morgan, he let me just film this sixty second little sermon of his, I posted it. And my point of bringing this up is because Ben, who once felt overlooked is now shared on this 44 year old’s account with 10's of thousands of people who are cheering him on, who see him, who hear him. And I can't help but think that by that one small action that Ben might feel a little more seen and known by God. And if we can help other people draw closer to Him, then I think we're doing the right thing.
Morgan Jones 48:25
That's such a great example. I love that so much. Becky, my last question for you is what does it mean to you to be all in the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Becky Higgins 48:37
Man, my answer would be different a week ago, and it'll be different next week. It's always changing. In this moment I feel like to be all in means that every day, in some small way that I show up with a willingness and an openness to live a life that is aligned with God's will. And in my life that has looked like one day it might be – being patient. A little extra patient during infertility issues. Another day, it might look like being forgiving that day when I felt deeply hurt and offended. And another day it meant saying yes to being a Relief Society president the week after I started a business with three little kids and then carrying out that calling on a ward and stake level for 10 years while running a business. And on another day, it might be choosing to pray instead of listening to music in the car, or like taking time to get to know Ben yesterday and helping him to feel seen and heard. No matter what every day, day in and day out, I feel like it is our opportunity and our privilege to cultivate intentional space so that we can truly hear Him. And that is what it means right now to me to be all in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Morgan Jones 49:53
Thank you so much Becky. It has been a delight as usual to talk with you and I just am so appreciative of your time.
Becky Higgins 49:59
Thank you so much, Morgan.
Morgan Jones 50:04
A huge thank you to Becky Higgins for joining us on this week's episode. Becky has teamed up this year with Don't Miss This to create scripture stickers to complement your study of the Doctrine and Covenants. They are available on deseretbook.com now, so be sure to check those out. You can just search Becky Higgins and they'll come right up. Big thanks to Derek Campbell for helping us with this episode. And thank you so much – as always – for listening. Hope you all have a great week.