Each year, we have 21 days of fasting at Lilburn Alliance Church. It is a season of praying for significant breakthroughs in our lives. For Erica and I, we really felt strongly the challenge to remain off of social media for the duration of this fast. So, we have not been on Facebook or Instagram, and I haven’t been on Twitter (Erica doesn’t tweet, so that’s a misnomer for her).
I’m not taking away from the food-fast. This was a separate thing Erica & I did. For me, I knew that I would at times be consumed with the Facebook App and wanted to remove it.
In speaking about fasting from food, Pastor Fred Hartley mentioned that it wasn’t necessarily about what you weren’t eating, but about what you WERE eating during the fast. So, I took that into account as well.
Instead of hopping on the app (which we actually deleted from our phones so we weren’t easily tempted), we began reading God’s word more and going through some daily devotions. I try and read from four different devotions each day. Three are Beth Moore devotions that happened to be free and I downloaded them, and the 4th is from the YouVersion Bible App. No, I’m not holier-than-thou for reading them all. Besides… they aren’t that long. But it’s trying to get into the habit of reading God’s word more and meditating throughout the day. Most days it has worked. Others I’ve definitely slacked on.
First, I’ve learned that my phone has a considerably higher amount of battery life remaining at the end of the day. For example, it’s 9:35am and I still have 99% charge. I know it would usually be in the low 80’s by now.
Second, while it was harder the first week, it’s interesting how you begin losing the same desire you had on the thing the longer you go without it. Don’t mistake me. I like Facebook for it’s positive features. I like seeing others’ lives and keeping up to date with what’s going on, and I like sharing pictures and what’s going on in our lives. The problem is… with so many Facebook Friends, it’s really hard to effectively do that and not have to live on Facebook. Inevitably, you’ll miss more than 80% of people’s stuff, and you’ll need to spend more and more time. Too much of a time waster.
I was challenged by a graduate student last week who, while talking about his own Facebook usage, said he logs on three or four times per week just to see what’s up, and that’s it. I used to open my app no less than 10 times per day and scroll down for a few minutes. Walking to the car. Waiting at the store. Commercials. Lunch break. All getting consumed more and more by the little blue box with the white ‘F.’ I was a Facebook-Addict.
When I get off this fast on Sunday, yes, I’ll use social media… but not the same way. I do not intend on installing the app on my phone, or accessing Facebook from my phone or tablet at all. My intent is to only access it from the computer, which I’m actually not on for non-work/productivity things much anyway.
I want to use my phone for non web-related/social-media stuff. I want to connect with God more. I want to connect with people more. I don’t want to be tied to my phone.
He really does. And no, it’s not that I haven’t heard Him speaking before this fast. The last 6 months have actually been a remarkable season of talking and listening from Him and seeing Him answer in tremendous ways. But the more you stop and pause, the more He gives… and I’m learning more and more that it truly is the best thing to spend your time doing… just connecting with God… whether through His word… prayer… journaling… silence.