Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Social Media Fast

I was listening to a podcast yesterday from Desiring God entitled "Sacred and Secular". One of the themes discussed was how Matt Reagan, a college minister, responds to students asking him "Is it okay if I do this or that?" Part of the discussion he has with them revolves around how much control that activity has in their lives. Is it something that makes you twitchy when you've been away from it for a while? Are you constantly thinking about when you can do it again? In short, does it control you or do you control it?

As I was reflecting on that, I was reminded of a discussion I'd read about fasting. It was said that fasting will show you what's REALLY important to you. As you try and cope with your hunger for food, other internal hungers can come to the fore. When we are stressed, more of our true inner nature is revealed.

Putting all of this together, I came to the realization that I was spending way too much time on various social media sites. I was stuck in a rut, where I'd be sitting in front of the computer, refreshing the page or just watching my timeline scroll by, waiting for the next interesting nugget to pop up on my screen. There are so many other things I could be doing instead, like writing this blog post. I haven't posted since the end of June, to commemorate my anniversary. There have been many things I've wanted to write about, but I've wasted my time and not put deed to intent.

So, yesterday around lunch I posted on both Facebook and Twitter that I was taking a break from social media for at least one week. I removed the tabs from my default home group in my browser and logged out of the applications on my various electronic devices. The time that I would have spent there I intend to spend reading, or writing, or studying or with my family.

I know others, like Rod Dreher, tried something similar. I believe it was last summer he and his wife implemented a "no electronics" policy with their kids. As I recall, it wasn't a total ban, but they dramatically limited the amount of time the kids spent with their noises 6" away from a 4" screen. He said that the difference in attitude and behavior was palpable. I'm hoping for a similar result through this effort.

Fasting from food is intended to have us focus more on God and our spiritual appetites, and less on our physical appetites. I think fasting from social media can be used in much the same way.

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26 (ESV)

1 comment:

  1. Great idea, and one of the reasons I'm down to only the blog, and selected reading.