Dear Beloved reader,
I really felt inclined to write about the fast I am currently participating in. My church happens to take part in Lent which is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. This is forty days of fasting something, it could be anything and it represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry.It is a time of self-examination and reflection. Sundays in Lent are not counted thus you can break your fast because each Sunday represents a “mini-Easter” and is like a joyful anticipation of the Resurrection.
So in the spirit of being reflective during this time here’s my story.. So my church decided to fast social media and most people this is really only includes Facebook. Which if anyone knows me I spend a majority of my time looking up the daily feed on Instagram, snapchat, twitter and of course Facebook. Four major platforms of escape if your day is slow, or if you have a little down time, or you’re sitting during your lunch or you’re bored or on the toilet. Okay pretty much you don’t need an excuse to look at your social media platforms. It’s become a norm to be on your phone all day and to be detached from everyday life. I am not excluded from that definition. Social media isn’t a bad thing, but it would be blind and a tad bit naïve to not see the negative effect that it has made in society.
I think its human nature to want to play the comparison game, to feel appreciated and understood and acknowledged, to seek affirmation, to be unique, to build community. What social media does is make us feel like in our attempt to let people know a little bit of ourselves we are bringing change or impacting the world around us. I noticed on social media we spend more time talking…sharing…. “posting” and we spend less time listening to one another. I think it is our purpose to build community and learn from one another whether we agree with each other or not this is what God calls us to. He calls us to something deeper, more imbedded in our DNA which is Human connection. Those kinds of in-depth, getting to know a person’s heart conversations happen face to face. While social media can and has been used to build community, I think more often than not it isolates people and makes them feel less understood and less cared for. Without face to face connect we feel less accountable for our actions. With less face to face accountability things we express on social media like sorrow, depression or grief is handled in a very impersonation way.
In my own experience, I felt lonelier when I was connected and constantly checking my snapchat, insta and Facebook. I felt like a lesser person as I looked at other people’s more “exciting” lives. I felt less spiritually because I noticed I didn’t post as much scripture and introspective quotes. Instead I loved all kinds of funny video and constantly shared them. Which made me wondered how many people might take my social persona and assume I’m just shallow. I was always concerning myself at how I was being portrayed and whether or not people liked me. I wondered how many actual “friends” in my 300+ friends list could actually remember a memory spent with me and if they truly cared. I wondered, if I was ever going to be as impactful, inspiring or caring compared to friend number 240 who seems to be doing way cooler things that I was!
How completely self-involved I was. How utterly insecure and lost in my own thoughts that I was too blind to see that the only opinion that matter was that of Jesus. I was soo detached from people, while I thought I felt more connected than ever because I got to see a glimpse of their lives. And yet, I never bothered to personally reach out and get to partner in some of these peoples’ lives. The truth is I value friendship more than a lot of things in my life because I think in friendship God brings partnership to carry one another burdens and to walk through season of difficulty together. I have noticed that in my time away from social media I am able to be more intentional in spending real, quality time with the people that know the real version of me and who I in turn know them as well.
There’s this little corner of my living room that I call my Worship Corner, every day I come home and instead of getting distracted by my phone and wasting hours watching dumb cat videos. I come home, get into my cozy couch in the corner, pick up my guitar and worship Daddy God with what little I may feel I still have left in me. I’m not saying I’m a way more secure person because I don’t have social media to compare myself with others. Rather I am a lot more at peace with the person I am and knowing that I am a work in progress. That my life is something to be soo thankful for and that I am blessed without having to “SHOW” how blessed I am. I am more at peace with the Process that my life is in, rather than feeling the pressure to reach the end product. Getting away and unplugging from this “selfie”, “snapchat”, “live feed” world has showed me that it will never make me feel as secure and loved as spending time with Jesus Does.
Its Sunday, and I didn’t even think twice about caring to look into what was going on in the Social Media life. But …because I wanted to post my blog I felt like , sure I’ll participate in a “mini-easter” and rejoice in what God is showing me.While I am taking the time away from certain indulgences that can be coping mechanisms to feeling less lonely, sad, bored, etc..I’ve notice it makes that “thing” a lot less necessary in my life.
I have till Easter to really see how I feel about it, several Sundays till then to break Lent and celebrate Jesus. And chances are I’ll probably go back to using those social media platforms….but …I think I’ll need them far less then I use to. I think I’ll stop having to check in everyday and feel the need to overexpose my life to those 300 + people who ….may never care to know me, or maybe they are far too busy in their own daily posting to build real relationships. Maybe I won’t go back to using any of those social media devices again. Because to be quite honest. I enjoy feeling at peace with who I am far more than having to prove something to the world.