Now that the season of Lent, for those of us who are Christians, which precedes the celebration of Jesus' Resurrection, is officially over I have rejoined the grid and logged back into all of my social media platforms. Besides very rare "cheating," I remained unplugged for a little over a month. Each year this is one of the things I fast from during this period.
The purpose of any fast is to eliminate something from your daily life that may distract from development of your relationship with The Lord. It is also an opportunity to focus on what you need to do in order to grow in this relationship. As an aside, it can also be used as a way to focus on the things that you need to get done, which more than likely comes with time restrictions. Nevertheless, while fasting, you are not eliminating one thing to replace it with just anything else. The fast is to eliminate that one thing or multiple things in order to spend more time and energy in prayer, study of scripture, serving others, and a host of other uplifting spiritual practices/disciplines.
I choose social media every year during this period, and even throughout the entirety of the year, to fast from because it can literally be an addiction. I am rarely on a desktop while perusing through my social media feeds, so this act has a double effect. That double effect is that, I am lifting up and going through my phone less as well. This does not work so perfectly, but I am able to see a difference. We are so caught up with our phones and subsequently the applications (apps) that they allow us to access with the press of a button. This can become a repetitive cycle (which the developers of our "smartphones" and social media platforms intended) that is spiritual decaying.
There have been seasons of my life, even as someone who regularly studies the Bible and is called to preach before GOD's people, where I have literally woken up in the morning and reached for my phone. I didn't wake up and pray thanking GOD for another day. I didn't wake up and reach for my phone to access my Bible application. I woke up and reached for my phone and often opened my social media applications. I am ashamed to admit that, but I am also thankful that I have the awareness, or that the Holy Spirit gives me the awareness, to understand where I have gone astray. I am able to say to myself, Enough is enough."
I use my social media platforms to connect with my family and friends, especially considering how far I live from the vast majority of them, to promote awareness and dialogue, and for spiritual uplift. It can be difficult to resist the urge to log in for any one of these reasons, which are important and legitimate. Inevitably, however, I can rarely just log in for one purpose and then immediately log back out. This is not a struggle for everyone, but for those who find themselves identifying with what I have written, this is for you.
We have to be able to recognize when enough is enough. Social media is a powerful tool that can be manipulated and directed in ways that have incredible impact in society and culture as a whole. It can empower and provide platforms that people would not be able to develop otherwise. Voices are heard and pendulums are shifted through these digital worlds. Social media can also be time consuming, addicting, and altogether distracting. In the same way that these applications drain my phone battery (even though I have tremendous battery life), they also drain me of so much that could be greatly used elsewhere. Often times, in order for me to recharge, I must log off or completely unplug (in the form of deletion). My spiritual life is the better for it.