Is Social Media Worth It?

By Courtney Whitaker

Social media. It is something that we are all familiar with and most of us use in our daily life; so much so, that it can often become as natural for us as breathing.
However, are there points when it can be unhealthy?

According to, “The average person spends more than five years of their life on social media.” Furthermore, according to, the average consumer spends two hours and fifteen minutes on social media daily. This is a lot of time spent using social media websites and apps, but what is the effect of it all?

From my findings, it seems that there are a mix of positive and negative outcomes attributed to the use of social media. According to one study in Washington Post, social media, overall, makes most teenagers feel better about themselves, not worse. This article states, “Very few teens say that using social media has a negative effect on how they feel about themselves; many more say it has a positive effect. Twenty-five percent say social media makes them feel less lonely (compared with 3 percent who say more); 18 percent say it makes them feel better about themselves (compared with 4 percent who say worse); and 16 percent say it makes them feel less depressed (compared with 3 percent who say more).” On the flip side, according to, there are also some downsides. According to this article, “young people who spend more than two hours a day on social media are more likely to report poor mental health, including psychological distress” (symptoms of anxiety and depression). It has also been linked to insomnia and in some cases, poor body image. This brings us to the question; is social media good or bad? Does it produce more positive effects or negative? Does it cause more harm or good?

Personally, I believe it is all about balance. For those of us who are writers or bloggers, social media is almost a must. It is expected that we will use social media to create a platform so that people can find and have easy access to our writing. Furthermore, many businesses use social media as a way of advertising their product, and many individuals use it to keep up with the activities of their family and friends who they may not see all of the time.

I have a friend who lives in South Carolina who just announced her pregnancy through Instagram. If I hadn’t seen that update, it may have taken way longer to find out about it. I have countless friends who have posted about their wedding announcements, relationship statuses, and accomplishments to their social media pages. These things help me to feel connected to them, even though I don’t have the chance to see them often.

On the contrary, I have also had to make a conscious effort about monitoring my social media intake. Too much time on social media can make me feel anxious, and fall into the trap of comparing the everydayness of my life to the highlight reel of the lives of others. It can make me feel discontent and at times, more disconnected from the world around me, defeating the very purpose that social media was created to fulfill. It can also turn into a massive distraction from the tasks that I need to complete throughout the course of my day, such as homework and writing.
To conclude, social media, like most other things, is a matter of moderation; much like Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Ecclesiastes 3;1-8 KJV

Just as with other forms of entertainment, such as television, movies, and recreational activities, social media is something that is best consumed in balance; allowing ourselves the chance to consume social media, but never allowing social media to consume us.

The Bible: King James Version


Discovering I’m HSP

For as long as I can remember, I have always considered myself to be somewhat of an ambivert.

When I first took the Myers Briggs back in middle school, I came out as an INFJ. A few years later, when I took it in high school, I came out as an ENFJ, and have consistently come out as an ENFJ ever since. However, I have always possessed traits of both an introvert and an extrovert. I am energized by being in a large crowd, yet need to retreat to solitude soon thereafter. I enjoy both outings with friends and nights alone with a good book. I process my thoughts and feelings internally, and later express them externally. About half of my friends think I’m an extrovert, and the other half think I’m an introvert. However, recently, I’ve discovered a term that might be the answer to my dilemma: Highly Sensitive Person (Or, HSP).

According to various articles that I have read thus far on this topic, a highly sensitive person is a person who feels things more intensely, and is more sensitive to external stimuli (lights, loud noises, smells, etc.). They are also highly intuitive and can be either introverts or extroverts. According to an article in Psychology Today*, 30% of HSPs are extroverts. HSPs who are extroverts, as it turns out, display many of the same traits as introverts, and may need time alone after being around a lot of people for an extended period of time. HSPs are also more likely to have been highly imaginative as children, and tend to avoid extremely graphic or violent movies and TV shows. All of these traits, if I really take the time to think about it, describe me to a T.

After I discovered this term, sort of by accident as I was researching introvert/extrovert/ambivert stuff online, I began thinking back to various points in my life that suddenly made more sense. For years, I have been more affected by the loud noises and thumps of the bass at concerts than those around me, and when placed in a room with a lot of bright lights for an extended period of time, I start to get a mild headache.

Furthermore, I am extremely intuitive and can often pick up on subtleties in people’s expressions and emotions that others might miss. I soak up every ounce of my environment until eventually, I need time to retreat, and process it all. I’m not necessarily more ‘sensitive’ or outwardly emotional than the average person, but I take in life a lot more intensely, which can cause me to display traits slightly different than the average person. Movies, music, and books, for instance, affect me a lot. Way more than most people that I know. I can literally remember a particular scene in a book years later, and just hearing a line in a song that relates to me on a personal level can stir up more emotions than I know what to do with. I experience life fully, in the good, the bad, and the ugly. On one hand, it can be a positive—enriching my writing and my ability to connect with the reader on an emotional level. On the other hand, it can be a little overwhelming, especially when I am faced with a new situation that I don’t know how to handle. Being HSP means that you live life in a full range of emotions—whether or not you chose to vocalize them to those around you.

So, what does all of this mean exactly? How does being HSP make me different than any other human being that walks the face of this planet? The truth is, it doesn’t. Being HSP is simply one way of existing in this world as a human being, and part of the unique way that God created me, when He formed me in my mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13-14). Being a Highly Sensitive Person is no different than being an introvert, or someone who likes cleaning. It is no different than getting a certain number on the Enneagram test or a certain combination of letters on the Myers Briggs. It is simply one strand of my being; a small portion of my existence in my sphere of influence and in the world at large. Though sensitivity is often devalued in the modern world, I am learning to see it as something valuable, and something that connects us to those around us. Without sensitivity, we wouldn’t be able to flourish in community with other human beings, or create the art that is so much a part of the world we live in today. Without sensitivity, we wouldn’t be able to relate to another’s emotions, or understand how another person is feeling. Thus, I am learning to not only accept that I may be HSP, but appreciate it, and appreciate the way that God has created me for His purpose in my life. We are each created artfully, with unique DNA and personality patterns that color the spaces of who we are. We are each like a snowflake, different and the same, each adding something beautiful to the story of our life and the story of humanity at large.

We are each fearfully and wonderfully made.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.” – Psalm 139:14-15 (NIV).


The Narratives that Shape Us

Before I begin, I would like to start off by thanking Alyssa for asking me to contribute to her blog, Over The Invisible Wall. We met a couple of months back through an entry that she posted to her personal website, and have talked about various topics since.

We do not have the same views on everything, but we did find a lot of common ground through our discussions and through choosing to hear what the other person had to say.

Since then, she has asked me to write about one of the subjects that we talked about in a guest post, and I have done my best consolidate my emails into one (hopefully) coherent blog post. Thank you again Alyssa for giving me the chance to write a guest post for your awesome blog!

* * * *

Our narratives are shaped by the lives of those who have gone before us.

Every experience and every piece of information that we take in has a direct impact on how we see ourselves, our lives, and the world around us. We are shaped by stories, and the narratives that we are given by our families, communities, and society at large—for better or for worse. And these stories play directly into how we see each and every person that we come in contact with, every single day.

For instance, if I told you that I’m a twenty-year-old Christian blogger, writer, youth leader, and college student, you’d probably already have some assumptions about me—filling in the blanks for things that I haven’t yet told you.

She probably likes Hillsong, you might assume (in which case, you’d be right).

She was probably a bookworm in high school (this is also true).

She’s probably reads C.S. Lewis (this one is definitely true).

However, if I told you other facts about myself, you might be surprised.

You might be surprised to find that I oppose the death penalty on moral and ethical grounds and cast my first vote to an independent candidate in the 2016 election. You might be surprised to find that I’m a big advocate of gender equality in the home, church, and workplace—and do not subscribe to patriarchy or strict gender roles. You might find it super surprising that I enjoy psychology—and have taken every personality test from the Myers Briggs to the Enneagram (type 2 ENFJ y’all!).

These facts may not coincide with the picture that you have already carefully constructed in your head. Whether you intended to or not, you’ve already prescribed a narrative for me for based on just a few simple facts—without even knowing me at all.

And we do this all the time, right? Name off any number of occupations or descriptors and we can immediately create a picture of that person in our minds: Teacher. Doctor. Librarian. Photographer. Dentist. Lawyer. Fashion Designer.

All of these people are subject to stereotypes and potentially false narratives. All because we’re conditioned from a young age to think of people in an extremely simplified and one-dimensional way. And in some cases, this can be more than problematic. It can be detrimental.


Specifically, to those who are LGBTQ in our churches, our schools, and our society.

Growing up in a mostly Christian context, I’ve heard basically every stereotype about gay people that you can think of. They’re promiscuous. They hate God. They live wild “lifestyles.” You name it, I’ve heard it. Multiple times.

However, the older I got, and the more I started trying to construct my own narrative of the world, the more I started to hear other things about gay people as well. You can’t help who you love. It’s not something you can change. It’s not a choice. And slowly I began to question my previous assumptions and the narratives that I’d heard about gay people for so long.

“What if they’re wrong?” I wondered. “What if it’s really not a choice?”

After all, wouldn’t someone who was actually gay know more about this than me—or the countless other voices around me who were speaking so authoritatively on this subject? And if it wasn’t a choice, then where did that leave me, as a Bible-believing Christian?

After all, if it wasn’t a choice, than it had major ramifications for both my assumptions and the lives of real, living, breathing people made in God’s image. It meant that there could even be Christians out there who were gay—Christians who grew up going to church and youth group, just like me. And if there were gay Christians out there, then where on earth did that leave them?


Eventually, after a lot of questioning and shifting back and forth between viewpoints, I finally got up the nerve to ask these kinds of questions, and not so much to my surprise, I was right. People didn’t choose to be gay and there were gay Christians out there. But, the picture also wasn’t as bleak as I once thought.

Over the course of my research, my reading, and my questions, I discovered some pretty interesting things—both about God, and about the lives of various, real people.

One, that all of those passages in the Bible that people always use to condemn people who are gay don’t speak about sexual orientation. Nowhere. Not once in the Bible does it ever speak of someone who has a gay orientation. Every verse that describes ‘being gay’ as a sin refers only to lust and sexual acts outside of a Biblically defined marriage ( sleeping around and lust is also considered a sin in Christianity for those of us who are straight).

Second, I learned that there were are a lot more gay Christians out there than one might think—and many of them, though facing struggles at various points in their lives, are genuinely happy. They’re pursuing celibacy and pouring into loving and healthy friendships. They’re in a mixed orientation marriage with the one person of the opposite sex that they’re attracted to. They’re teaching at colleges, leading churches, involved in mission work, and speaking for those who can’t speak. They’re redefining what ‘gay people’ look like to the Christian world and the broader world. And most of them simply want to be understood.


Through reading these articles, and listening to these voices, and hearing the stories of real people, I’ve grown to see how vital it is that those of us who are Christian get this right. There’s a very real chance that we already know someone who’s gay—whether it be a co-worker, a friend, a student, or the guy who sits next to us in church. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to add pain to someone who has likely already endured far too many sleepless nights thinking about this. I want to be a light and speak life into the lives of other people and the only way I can do that is by listening—both to those who share my convictions and to those who don’t.

As humans we will someday be remembered for how we chose to live our lives. I don’t know about you, but I want to be known for my love. In 1 Corinthians 13:2 (NIV), it says, “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”


Regardless of who you are or what you believe, I want to challenge you to love boldly. To listen to the stories around you and try to understand people right where they are. We do not have to add to the division that already permeates this world so forcefully. We can choose to listen, rather than shout. We can choose love over hate.

We can choose to create the culture that we want to live in.


We can choose to be a voice that impacts a generation.


We can choose to be a light—and make this world just a little bit better and more compassionate than it was before.


Courtney Whitaker is a writer, a reader, and a lover of all things cats, warm tea, and Hallmark. She is currently a youth leader at her church and pursuing a double major at Liberty University in Education and Theology. In the future, she would like to teach and write books geared towards teens and young adults. You can find more of her writing on, where she posts weekly about all things faith and life.

How to Develop Entrepreneurship

We all want to succeed.

This desire for success drives us to focus on completing the right courses or choosing the most successful major, grasping for some way to secure the future. But in the end, those things don’t make much of a difference. Instead of trying to do just the right things that will lead to success, invest in skills and mindsets.

And the top skill you can invest in is entrepreneurship.

The thought of entrepreneurship sounds intimidating. Maybe you’ve never built a business of your own. How can you possibly pursue entrepreneurship? Relax. You don’t have to be Elon Musk to be an entrepreneur.

It’s not all about owning a business. It’s not about making money. It’s not even about influencing the free market with your ideas. I’m talking about entrepreneurship in the deeper sense of the word.

Entrepreneurship is a mindset. Building businesses and putting big ideas into action are physical manifestations of the mindset of an entrepreneur, but the principle goes much deeper.

So, when I say entrepreneurship is one of the best ways to help you succeed, I’m referring to the mindset of entrepreneurship, which reaches far deeper than the act of building a business.

Here are the top mindsets any entrepreneur needs to develop:



  • Entrepreneurs aren’t afraid to break the mold.


“But this is how we’ve done it for years” is not a statement you’ll hear out of entrepreneurs. The top businesses thrive because their founders don’t care about what convention dictates.

Entrepreneurs recognize that “what society dictates” is a distraction so they focus on the goals ahead of them and don’t let others’ opinions get in the way of those goals.



  • Entrepreneurs see the big picture.


The best businesses have been built by people that took a step back from an issue and solved it from the inside out.

Facing the challenges of a business and facing the challenges of life are very similar. Many people tend to fixate on one viewpoint.  In contrast, entrepreneurs don’t get stuck looking at their problems from a single angle. They thrive on seeing things from bigger perspectives!



  • Entrepreneurs don’t settle; they create solutions to problems.


While others put a band-aid on an existing problem, entrepreneurs find a new way to fix it.

You can have these characteristics whether you have built a business or not. In fact, entrepreneurial employees are some of the most valuable assets to a company. And entrepreneurial parents — well, they’re a force to be reckoned with!

So what if you don’t have a small business of your own? So what if you haven’t invented the next big tech advancement? You still have the ability to cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit within yourself. You’re much more qualified than you think!

Here are small ways that you can cultivate entrepreneurship in yourself (no matter where you are in your career).



  • Build projects around your big ideas.


Want to be a public speaker? Start a podcast and test your skills. Learning a new skill? Document it with videos or blog posts.

Or, go all out like Alec Steele. He dropped out of high school to pursue blacksmithing. He sells smithing courses online now and gets millions of views on his daily Youtube videos.


  1. Engage your critical thinking muscles.

Take the time to grapple with big ideas. Make thinking outside the box a norm.

Read about people who have done cool stuff. Listen to Ted Talks.

Ask for book recommendations and write reviews about them. Talk to people. Learn to ask questions and to extract quality ideas from each conversation you enter.

In short, never skip an opportunity to think big!


  1. Maximize on soft skills while you’re young.

In today’s world, it’s not only the hard/technical skills that set you apart. It’s the intangible skills like dealing well with stress, time management, writing well, or speaking concisely.

These are things that can be built now, even if you’re a nanny or a fast food worker. Keep your focus on the skills that will transfer no matter where you go.

Whether you’re planning to start a business later on in life or not, the mindset of entrepreneurship will be invaluable to your career. Entrepreneurs have always been the innovators of this world. Develop entrepreneurship in yourself, and you’ll innovate the world around you whether you own a multimillion dollar franchise or not!

Image credit:

Lolita Allgyer is a Marketing Associate at Praxis. She is passionate about self-education, and about empowering other young people to carve their own paths in life. Her life philosophy is to live each moment to the fullest. If you can’t find her, she’s most likely outside on some new adventure. She blogs at

Can a Bully Reform?

Picture this:

You’re in the supermarket deliberating if the prices for eggplant are worth it or not, when a stranger approaches you. You’re naturally wary and your mind races through all the possible outcomes of this encounter. The stranger calls you by name; by now, you try to place a name on this other person but your mind comes to a blank.

They also apologize, even daring to hug you at the end.  In the midst of all this, all you want to do is push this person off and run for your life. But you don’t. You politely wait until the hug is over and quite blatantly ask for their name. The person is hesitant but after a few moment’s pause, complies. He says his name is Ian and suddenly the memories come flooding back to your mind.

Ian was the name of the semi-popular boy in high school that bullied you for four years straight. He mocked you everyday for dressing poor and called you every name in the book. He made fun of your appearance because you wore braces at one point. The calmness you had faded; anger sparked and all you wanted to do was bop Ian with the eggplant. You didn’t buy his nice act for one minute because if it was one thing you knew, it was that bullies didn’t change for the better.


Would that have been you? Would you have accepted Ian’s changed behavior or would you have held onto the past, refusing to acknowledge his good work?

Many of us encounter bullies, be that at our school, the workplace or even our own homes. Bullies aren’t something everyone wants to talk about, especially when it comes to them changing.

Before we get into that, let’s define a bully: a bully is a person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.

Teasing someone about their appearance is bullying. Forcing someone to do your homework is bullying. Making fun of someone online is bullying.

It’s often hard for us to accept that change is possible with everyone, even our worst enemy. We don’t think they’re capable under all that cold exterior, when in reality it happens more than we think it does. Society tends to say change isn’t possible, the church says it is. Which is more reliable?

My pastor has often said that hurt people hurt people.

He’s right — when we’re hurting, we tend to want to lash out at those who are happy or have it better than us. It’s a common variable. It’s especially prominent when it comes to revenging those who have hurt us. We want them to feel the pain, we want them to suffer. Scoffing at Ian’s apology or giving him the cold shoulder and watching his face drop with disappointment would be satisfying to that part of us that still feels hurt but most definitely not the best way to handle such a situation.

Does this change your perspective a little? Take that leap if you encounter one, give them a smile and most of all, realize that they’re trying.


Erica is Potterhead who enjoys writing, doing tricks on her skateboard and is a huge lover of Batman. She’s about to start her second year of college in hopes of becoming a surgeon in the future.

Parenting: Featuring my Upbringing

“Don’t you guys fight at all?” a young friend asked me as she watched my siblings interact at a youth retreat.

I paused for a moment to think.

“Come to think about it, no,” I replied.

Every time I give that answer, people look at me like I just told them I have superhuman powers.
Culture has gotten to the point where everyone believes that it’s normal for families to be at odds with each other constantly. I wasn’t raised like that.

It goes back to parenting. I owe my perspective and confidence to my parents, who modeled what relationship was supposed to be. Here are some ways they raised us that differ from “normal” parenting.

1. I never heard my parents raise their voices out of anger or frustration.
I don’t understand why anyone thinks they are going to prove a point by yelling. Here’s the thing: humans are selfish. They tend to think of each situation from their own perspective. This perspective will only be strengthened if others throw opposing opinions loudly in their faces.

Children are individuals. I think parents forget this often. They try to mold their kids into a certain behavior pattern that hopefully holds up as they grow into adulthood.And when the child shows his individuality by contesting a parent’s wish, mom or dad freaks out, trying to frantically put the nice behavior pattern back together. Yelling tends to be preferred approach.

Parents are to be guides, not slave masters. They have in their hands the life of an individual. Using forceful tone to prove a point only hinders.
(There was one exception to the yelling in my life. If there was an emergency, then was the time my parents used the powers of their voices. This way, we learned to act quickly and without question in the face of danger. We knew instinctively that there was a reason for the tone our parents took on. Even then, it was only one quick word, then they would reduce to normal levels to talk us through emergency procedure.)

2. My parents always heard my opinion.
This goes back to the individuality concept. Many times kids don’t want to do what their parents ask because they don’t understand the reasoning behind the request. My parents didn’t just tell us to do things because they said so. Instead, we talked about the situation that caused them to come to their decision.

When dad and mom were wrong, they admitted it. If my ideas were worth putting into action, they reconsidered their position. If my opinion was faulty, I was never the worse for speaking my mind and hearing the whole process of reasoning.

The result? I trusted my parents enough to do things just because they said so. I knew that they had solid reasoning behind their decisions, and I based my actions off that knowledge.
You can’t build a relationship by shutting down the voice of your child. Instead, focus on setting precedent by hearing his or her ideas and expressing your position genuinely.

3. Honesty was always the first priority.
We knew that we had an alibi if we would only tell the truth. My parents always heard us out. We didn’t get punished for making mistakes, but we weren’t spared if we lied about our actions.

Mistakes are a part of life. My parents taught me to realize that facing those mistakes head-on is the best key to personal growth.

Honesty also helped my relationships grow stronger. If we had quarrels as children, we knew that if we were honest, we would be given the chance to fix our wrongs and move on. This birthed healthy relationship mindsets in our hearts.

Now, we are simply honest with each other about our thoughts, feelings, and ideas. This keeps our relationships open and solves any problems that might come up. We have hard conversations, but we leave with stronger connections than we came with.

Did my parents do everything right? Absolutely not. But I appreciate the mindsets they built in me and I apply many of the same principles they taught me to my interactions with children today.
And if and when I have kids, I will be sure to use these three tools daily.

Lolita Allgyer is a passionate self-educator that loves anything that challenges her thinking. She is currently a Marketing Associate for Praxis, an apprenticeship program that seeks to help young people propel their careers. She also manages a podcast called Educationeering, where she interviews critical thinkers and trailblazers about their views on education. She writes every day on her blog or other mediums like Quora. You can find her work at

Our Purpose and Goals

Hello! Welcome to Over the Invisible Wall. This blog was started because we wanted to create a place where we could share ideas and opinions within a community where respectful discussions and idea sharing can take place.

Why Did We Start The Blog?

In Summer 2017, I (Justine) realized that though I had strong opinions and beliefs, I did not have a viable means to share them with others and engage in discussion about various topics. This thought led me to envision a blog where I and others could have a safe place to voice our thoughts and be heard. In this little corner of the interweb, I wanted to have a place where people could engage in respectful discussions and idea sharing. My original concept was to have a group of girls as regular contributors on a platform to share their ideas. However, as we refined our vision and mission statement, we realized that our vision was bigger than that. We expanded our concept to include both guys and girls. I wanted to bring together talented people of different backgrounds in order for them to share their own unique perspectives. It has been an incredible ride so far and I’m very grateful to all of my wonderful friends who have contributed in some way to this project. We have only just begun and I can’t wait to see where this blog will go.

One last note, I don’t expect everyone to agree on everything but I do want people to be respectful in how they engage with others.

How We Got Our Name:

After we brought a group of writers together for the project, we moved on to brainstorming for a name for the blog. We had a number of different concepts but after a while, we reached a consensus on the name Over the Invisible Wall: An Adventure in Soliloquies. “Over the Invisible Wall” has an implication of breaking barriers that weren’t supposed to be there in the first place and cooperating in spite of them. Interestingly “The Invisible Wall” is the name of a novel by Harry Bernstein. It is about a romance between a Christian and a Jew in a WWI-era English town that had Jews and Gentiles separated by just one cobblestone street right down the middle of the town.

The name of our blog is both a precedent and a reference to our faith.

Topics we will be covering include individual perspectives on sociocultural issues, current events, personal essays, and commentary on popular culture.

Our Mission Statement:

“We are writers and thinkers who aim to glorify God and create an atmosphere of respectful discussion and connection between people of different values and opinions. We welcome you to our blog and invite you to join in our mission to bridge the gap, learn from each other, and understand the issues that divide us.”