Social Media Fast
Earlier this year I fasted from social media for 21 days along with other staff and congregation members of NPNaz. As I get further and further away from this experience, I catch myself reverting back to some of my old habits that I committed to change in light of what I learned during this fast. I wrote the following thoughts immediately after the 21 days ended, and wanted to share them in case anyone else is in need of a reminder (or the encouragement to engage in your own social media fast).
*For those who do not engage with social media, I believe those words could easily be replaced with other things in our daily lives that can cause us to be unhealthy or distracted from God.
What I learned/was reminded of while being completely off social media for 21 days:
1. This was difficult for me, especially toward the beginning. I spend way too much time engaging with social media (I don’t post constantly, but I definitely scroll too much), and I would guess many others do as well. I want to be healthier, which involves creating boundaries (quick tip - I permanently took the FB app off my first home screen).
2. There are other options to occupy the little intervals of time that we find ourselves with during the day that we too quickly fill with social media (read a few pages of a book, text a friend that you’re thinking about them, sit in silence, talk to someone in the room with you…).
3. I have felt this way for a long time, but we have to be able to go through experiences that shape us without sharing them on social media. It still happened and was impactful no matter how many people know about it (or react to our presentation of it). It’s not wrong to share those things, but there’s a problem if someone feels incomplete without doing so.
4. We find it easy to point to more obvious, outward addictions as capable of making someone a shell of who they were created to be. I would argue that less obvious addictions to things like social media (or phone use in general) can do the same.
5. If something really important is going on that you need to know about, someone will tell you. We can't let that fear keep us from taking breaks from this tool (that can be both life-giving and life-sucking).
6. If you are a Christ follower, pray about your social media use. No, it’s not silly. We, the Church, represent Christ in all we say and do. Social media occupies our time and has the potential to glorify or misrepresent the God we serve - why would we not cover that realm and our engagement with it in prayer? So, let’s pray about it - how much time we spend engaging, the voices we follow (if our feeds look and sound exactly like us, we're probably doing it wrong), whether to hit reply or to move on. Finally, let’s pray for discernment about what to post. We must do the hard work of seeking when to publicly share good deeds that spread encouragement and light in the darkness, and when to not let our left hand know what our right is doing.