I mentioned in a previous post that I am greatly restricting social media for the lent season.
It’s been great.
It’s been difficult.
I’ve learned a few things and I still have a month to go.
(Photo by Tim Bennett on Unsplash)
Twitter is the easiest social media to ditch.
My primary reason for using Twitter is to learn things and to keep up to date on what is happening in the world. Since there are other ways to do this, it hasn’t been too difficult.
I can get my news in other places.
What I’m missing is reading/hearing the ongoing commentary from people I respect (or don’t respect- ha). That non-stop commentary is good and bad for my soul. I care too much what every one thinks.
For now, I don’t have any idea what my favorite authors, speakers, politicians and thought leaders think about things. I don’t have any idea what my least favorite authors, speakers, thoughts leaders, politicians think about things.
It’s been good for my soul. It feels a bit like when your kids are away at the grandparent’s house for a few days. Everything is spooky quiet and you aren’t exactly sure what to do with the quiet and extra time. It takes a minute to use the time productively and not just sit there and wait for them to come home.
That’s how I feel about the freed-up brain space.
I had a thought, recently, that we may be more discipled by our favorite news sources than God’s word. Someone smarter than I am planted that thought I have not been able to shake it.
Facebook is the hardest social media to avoid.
Of course, this is absolutely by design. Facebook is designed to be addictive. It’s designed to be the place where people share their personal news, to gather people together, set up events, and to share what we’re thinking.
So, being off Facebook entirely for more than a month means missing out on lots of unimportant things, but it also means missing some vital things. That’s why I didn’t cut it off entirely. While my use of Twitter is for my benefit, my use of Facebook isn’t just for me.
I’m in a group where I get updates on new babies and needs at Nathan’s workplace.
I’m in two different writing groups on FB. We share each other’s work and encourage each other.
Initially, I thought I would just check in with those groups. but I didn’t stick with that because there were other important things I was missing by just doing that. I know it sounds like a cop-out, but I don’t regret easing up my restrictions a bit.
Two friends experienced some great losses during the last week or so and I wouldn’t have known about it if I hadn’t been on Facebook.
It’s tricky to get this right, but I’m reminding myself that the important thing is the spirit of the law and not the letter of the law. It honestly takes more discipline to only use Facebook in a way that is most necessary and beneficial than it does to not use it at all.
Instagram makes me happy and that’s good and bad.
I haven’t made any rules about Instagram for this season. It hasn’t been the time and soul sucking abyss that Twitter and Facebook were. It doesn’t leave me feeling anxious. Because people use it in a completely different way, it’s been more positive for me than negative.
Here’s the problem I’ve found, though.
My addiction to Twitter and Facebook easily switch to making me camp out on Instagram more often than I was before. My brain wants something to fixate on and in the absence of the other input, that’s where it’s getting it’s “hit”.
If I want to experience the full benefit of this time away from social media, I can’t replace it with more time on another form of social media. My hope was to give up something and replace it with something more redeeming.
I’ve learned that’s not going to happen unless I have a specific plan. It turns out it takes discipline to make the best choices. Darn it.
Are you doing anything special to observe Lent this year? Drop me a note here.
P.S. I’m doing something new this year. I’m writing special content that I’m sending out once a month just for my email list. Last month I wrote some honest reflections on why we left our last church and this month I’m writing about how God uses the in-between places. If you sign up, you’ll get access to my past articles too. If you’re interested, you can sign up here: