It’s not until someone says, “Oh, did you see this on Facebook?” and I reply, “No, I gave up social media for Lent” that they say, “Ohhh that makes sense. I was wondering why you’ve been quiet.”
I’m the type of blogger who is hit with the elusive muse, pounds out a couple of blog posts for a consistent month, and then I just get tired. I get tired by a lot of different things – maybe because I have too many irons in the fire, or the harder truth – maybe because I’m just lazy.
Why I Gave Up an Online Presence
I gave up social media for Lent for 3 reasons:
1 ) I didn’t think I could. I was so addicted to Scrolling Syndrome that I didn’t actually believe I could make it through an entire work day without checking Facebook. I didn’t think I could sit through a Netflix binge without seeing what was up with Instagram
2 ) I needed to cleanse myself of opinions. I found myself bogged down with everyone’s thoughts and opinions. Anxiety started to take control of my heart and I started worrying about things 100% beyond my control. I questioned people. I questioned myself. I found myself increasingly disappointed with others and myself.
3 ) I couldn’t keep up. I started to see my Instagram following grow. I was hashtagging, curating a “theme” on my feed, and spending way too much time thinking of pictures, how to edit them, and how to caption them. When I first had Instagram, I would scroll for 10 minutes before I went to bed and called it a day. Now I found myself obsessively checking my notifications, planning posts, and forgetting to enjoy the moment without thinking, “How can I add this to my feed?.”
What I Expected
I expected to spend more time in my Bible, in quiet time, and journaling.
I expected my house to get cleaner.
I expected to feel lighter.
I expected to be more productive at work.
I expected to finally get our office organized and finally start on my creative writing portfolio.
I expected to read more.
What Actually Happened
I have been sleeping better because I wasn’t on my phone as much before I go to sleep, and if I was, I was reading my Bible app.
I didn’t spend as much quality quiet time as I thought I would because there were still many other distractions i.e. sleeping in, Netflix, Snapchat, books, Pinterest. . .the list could go on.
My house did not get much cleaner. I’m just not a good housekeeper.
Some days at work I wondered how I was going to fill my time because my to-do list seemed so short. But I found every day there was always something to do even when I didn’t think there was. It’s like the mountains of laundry that are never finished.
I did read more. I read a LOT. And I was able to enjoy it without feeling like I needed to check my phone.
I was surprised to find that I didn’t miss Instagram or Twitter one iota throughout my Lenten fast. In fact, I was relieved that I didn’t have the tug to scroll. I did miss Facebook almost every day, though. I felt out of the loop in the lives of people and in the world and I missed the important NY Times and NPR articles about food and anthropology and sociology. Never mind that I could have visited these sites on my own accord. . .
I thought all my anxiety would subside without the Internet world, but anxiety is sometimes inescapable. While it was better, I still experienced bouts of anxiety. It’s up to me to choose what I dwell on. It is up to me to pray through/meditate through those moments when I felt anxiety in the pit of my stomach.
I spent a lot of time introspecting on my online presence and the purpose behind it. I almost didn’t come back. But through the encouragement of my husband, I knew I needed to continue to write.
It’s been a day since I’ve added social media back into my life, and I already hate it. I got on Facebook several times yesterday just for a few minutes each. Did I need to? No. I was just bored.
So moving forward. . .
I know that I don’t need to be on social media when I’m bored. I can find other things to do.
I know that I need to find time to myself throughout the day where I’m not with my phone. The silence is so refreshing.
I know that I need to continue writing, both on the blog, and in my personal time. I am so thankful to have a place where I can share my thoughts. I forget how much I love the quiet of a morning with my cup of coffee, the sun pouring in, and the clackity-clack of my fingers dancing across the keyboard. Thank you for continuing on this journey with me.