I hope everyone is doing well! I just wanted to thank y’all for all of the encouragement that I have received from my last blog. This one that I am sharing with you today has been a work in progress and I have been meaning to post it for a couple of months now. I’m hoping that this not only encourages you but maybe challenges you as well!
A couple of months ago, I read a book called The Faith Dare. It challenged me to fast from something that meant a lot to me for forty days. My preacher had just given a sermon on fasting as well so I knew that God was trying to tell me something. But what did I need to give up? Chocolate? TV? Coffee?
Although these are things that indeed need some serious re-prioritizing in my life there was one thing that I felt the Holy Spirit was telling me to give up. All forms of social media.
No Facebook. No pinning recipes on Pinterest that I may or may not ever use. No Instagram (gasp- no selfies!). Just the thought of it stressed me out. Like many of you can relate, it had become an idol to me and that wasn’t easy to admit.
Could I, a Millennial, who has grown up in an instant gratification era willingly give up all forms of social media for forty days? 960 hours? 57,600 seconds?
It definitely wasn’t easy and there were times that I thought I was missing out but when I accepted the challenge I found that maybe social media and all its glory isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.
Here are a few things that I learned when I gave up social media.
1. I found that I spent my time more wisely.
The first thing I noticed was that I didn’t waste time scrolling through my newsfeed and being distracted by what someone was having for breakfast or what silly picture someone had posted on Instagram. The dinosaur on Timehop wasn’t reminding me of what I posted five years ago. By waking up to my alarm and starting my day without those distractions I realized that I usually spent a good 15-20 minutes scrolling through my newsfeed and now I could make the choice to spend it in the Bible. Talk about starting your morning off right!
2. I was able to completely focus in my quiet time.
I didn’t have a million ring tones going off trying to steal my attention away. I even found it easier to leave my phone in another room without the fear of “missing out” on some relevant piece of information. It was by doing this that I was able to meditate on what I was reading and apply it to my day.
3. I started to enjoy everyday moments more.
This was one of the more surprising parts of the fast for me. It wasn’t until I stepped away from social media that I realized how much worth I was putting on my experiences based on other people’s opinions. Did I want to post a picture of my grande non-fat white chocolate mocha cappuccino while watching the sunrise on Instagram the moment I got it? You bet! However, by restraining from it, I realized that my cappuccino was gonna taste amazing no matter if I posted it or not.
I couldn’t help but think of the verse, “This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.” I wasn’t wasting time looking down on my phone. Instead, I spent more time looking up and realizing how big my God is.
4. I stopped caring what other people thought.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. We are always going to care to some extent what people think about us and you are absolutely right. What I mean here is that I learned that without posting something almost everyday I was able to analyze what things meant to me.
5.I started writing more.
Surprise, surprise! The blogger wrote more. Seriously though, I wrote down big thoughts and little thoughts and in the process this helped me to pray about what was going on in my life. For you this might mean playing music, going for a walk, or even just taking a well-deserved nap. What I’m trying to say here is that when I took the time I wasted on social media and applied it to my passion I felt better about myself and more productive.
6. I exercised more.
Now I realize that phones have great apps to help you stay healthy so this one might have just benefited me but stick with me here. When I had exercised before I automatically put my music on and checked all of my social media sites. But when I stepped away from that I realized how rewarding it was to just find a group of friends and have conversations without constantly checking our phones. When I walked with them there was no time for me to look down and check my texts and I was actually able to focus on what they were saying- no data charges applied.
By the way, I even went hiking and loved it. (Really hard not to post that pic!)
7. I appreciated the people in my life more.
Perhaps one of the most important things I learned from my social media break was that friends are more than just a number. Whether you have 5 friends or 5,000 friends on Facebook, it’s the effort that you put into those relationships that counts the most.
I learned to appreciate the different opinions and stories that each of my friends have to offer and it made me want to be a better friend as well.
8. I went to God with my problems first.
This was probably the last thing I learned but something that I will never forget. For so long, I had gotten used to the idea of posting a status, quote, or picture on social media before I ever talked it over with God. This could be something I was really excited about or even something tough that I was going through that really had no business being shared.
So what is one thing that is standing in the way of totally experiencing God?
Only you can answer that but if you honestly want to grow closer and ask God to reveal something to you, He will do it. It won’t be easy but I promise He will bless you in ways that you have never known.
By the way, I didn’t write this to dis social media. It can be a great thing but like with everything in this world, we have to constantly be on guard not to let it rule our lives. As children of God, we need to seek to be selfless. We have to fight anything that tries to take the place of God in our lives. Will we fail? Of course, that is the result of living in a fallen world. But this is where grace comes in! God understands our struggles but He promises to be there and walk with us if we continually seek Him. When we strive to live like Him we find that we start to look more like Him and less like the world.
I hope this has given you something to think about and just maybe challenge you to grow closer to God too!