I Gave Up Social Media for Lent

…And I didn’t die! The world didn’t end! My life, as I know it, continues!

Forty-five days of no Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat. Forty-five days to pray in place of those things. Forty-five days away from status updates, retweets, likes, view counts, and posts. Has it been hard? Yes. Has it been freeing? Yes. Have I prayed the same amount of time I would have spent online? If I’m honest? No.

So what have I done? I’ve spent more time taking pictures for my own memories instead of a tally of thumbs up. I’ve read a lot of books. I’ve watched movies with my family without distractions. I’ve talked with my husband about theology. I’ve paid attention to Hudson’s baseball games. I’ve played and chatted with Harrison while he took his baths. I’ve prayed for my neighbors when I thought about missing something online. I’ve loved people better in real life. Maybe it’s because I didn’t know what they had for lunch and we could have actual conversations about their days. Maybe it’s because it’s easier to love someone when you aren’t annoyed with his or her grammar.

The break was both good and difficult. I know I have missed birthdays, pregnancy announcements, birth announcements, clear scan announcements, inside jokes, hilarious videos, wedding pictures, friend requests, and more. My fear of missing out had to take a back seat. People in my life made sure I was kept up to date. A lot of stories began with “Did you see… Oh wait! You’re off Facebook, let me tell you…” I had actual conversations, y’all! I truly think I’ve been more grateful in the moment. I’ve compared less. I haven’t sought validation from a thousand people I may or may not know on a real basis. I haven’t sold a single book on Amazon since January. But, the beat goes on.

Last year, our church fasted from various things for Lent, and we saw amazing things happen. This year, I can’t say I’ve seen the fruits of our labor in such a clear way, but I fully believe we’ve planted seeds for the harvest. Regardless of results, the discipline of sacrificing is not wasted. We’ve sacrificed with purpose, and we’ve replaced, at least a little, with God.

So what do I do now? Do I continue to check social media like it’s my job? Do I go back to draining my phone battery by 8pm each day? I hope not. I intend to be more intentional with my online time. I don’t need to check each outlet incessantly. I don’t need to post everything I do. My online presence will take a backseat to my real life presence.

I know it’s not the norm to step away from social media. It may be weird or boring to some, but maybe it’s okay to be boring. Romans 12:2 tells us, “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God” (CSB). In other words, Christians aren’t supposed to look like everyone else.

Galatians 1:10 is an excellent reminder to base our actions on what pleases God versus what pleases men. “For am I now trying to persuade people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ” (CSB). You just can’t do both.

Some final food for thought:

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out. If we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. (1 Timothy 6:6-8 CSB)

So let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord. (2 Corinthians 10:17 CSB)

I really do love connecting on social media, but I have to look at it as an outlet, not my power source. I’ve learned over the last forty-five days that my time can be better spent, but I can also use some of my time wisely on social media. There are a lot of benefits to being on these apps/websites, but as in everything, it’s my heart behind it that matters. As the Bible tells us, “Humans do not see what the Lord sees, for humans see what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7 CSB). I hope to use these outlets with a pure heart, basing my identity on who God says I am, instead of basing it on a number and using my time for true connection, rather than mindless scrolling.

By the way, if you need me, I’ll be checking my 247 notifications and eating Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs.

 

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