Sunday, January 31, 2016

40 days and 40 nights

On December 21 I began a fast. It was not your typical fast. I did not fast from food or drink, but I began a fast from social media. I am an avid user of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope and other social media outlets used for staying connected. I decided to delete all those apps from my phone and live without them for 40 days. I have tried these types of things in the past and have failed miserably. I would log in for a quick check or reinstall the app and that would defeat the purpose. I can honestly say that I did not login, reinstall or check any of the aforementioned platforms over this 40 day period. Today, January 31, ended the fast.

The purpose behind my fasting was spiritual. I wanted to be reminded to pray, meditate and read. Think about how many times you reach for your phone, iPad, tablet or computer to check Facebook. What if you prayed to God instead of opening Twitter? What if you meditated on who God is each time you reached for your phone? What if you read His Word instead of posting a picture of your food (or coffee)? As I thought of these possibilities, I realized how many times a day I was on social media.

I want to share with you a few things I learned from this social media fast. Most a very simple. Not many are super spiritual. Here are 7 things I learned:

  • I am less distracted. I am more attentive to my job, my kids, my health and my responsibilities. Previously, I would put checking my phone first. I would even say, "wait kids, I am posting a status." 
  • I have more time for other things. I have been reading from books more. I have been folding laundry more. I did not say I like all the things that I have more time for, but I do have time to do them.
  • I do not need to know what is happening every single second of the day. The world still moves on and I can find out about it by watching the news once a day.
  • I am actually talking to people. Social media keeps us informed on who had a baby, when they went on vacation and what restaurant they ate at lately. Without a constant check on Facebook, I have to actually ask people questions.
  • I am surprised when I hear news. With the constant access to news via videos and tweets there really is not element of surprise. For the past 40 days, I have been surprised when my wife has said, "Did you hear about..." and I say, "No I haven't."
  • It helped me grow in some spiritual disciplines. I purposefully would pray when I reached for my phone. I has helped me to get in a better habit of prayer. 
  • I may not go back. I logged in tonight to see my notifications, likes, retweets, etc and to post this. I actually did not enjoy trying to "catch up" on everything that I missed over the past 40 days. I currently have not reinstalled the apps on my phone.