For the past few weeks, I’ve unplugged from social media (Twitter and Facebook) as a part of a fast that Seacoast was doing as a church body. This is the longest I’ve ever gone without connection to any kind of social media so it seemed that it would be a challenging task. But the outcome far outweighed the initial trouble. At first it was odd. Like an itch I couldn’t scratch. I reached for my phone to check Twitter or when I got on the computer my mouse went, by habit, up to the favorites list of my bookmarks. I found I spent much less time on the computer, because there wasn’t much to do on the internet without checking social media. Nevertheless, it was difficult.
But then a few days into it, I found my mind became quieter. The noise that usually fills my head was finally silenced. The impulsion to constantly see what people are up to was eliminated. And interestingly, the constant rain of the opinions and voices of others was replaced by my own thoughts and my own ideas. For the first time in a long time, I experienced silence. It can be eery at first. But it’s the kind of peaceful silence that gives God the chance to speak if we’re willing to quiet our own voice, which is another big block in the path to finding some serenity. A while back, I wrote a post on serenity and how it can be much more of a lifestyle than a season or small period of time. But taking some specific time to find that serenity is a big step in the right direction. That’s what I discovered this month.
A few other thoughts:
1. I am far too obsessed with the day to day lives of other people. Most of them are people I’ve never even met.
2. Once you get used to life without social media, you don’t miss it near as much as you’d think.
3. I had time to read even more than I do. Which was nice.
4. My quiet times seemed even more “quiet”.
5. Interestingly, I missed social media the most while watching sports.
6. I’m not giving up social media. I see no inherent problems with it, by my dependence and obsession with it was the problem.
7. I received even more confirmation about the decision to pursue my Masters degree.
There’s a reason Jesus woke up early to get away from his friends and followers in order to pray and spend time with the Father. He realized the value of silencing the sounds of people’s voices that continually surround you in the typical day. I learned a little bit about that during this fast, and I’m incredibly grateful. Like I said previously, I don’t have intentions to give up social media at this time but I could certainly see the spiritual value in doing so. But I know that Twitter and Facebook are great ways of connecting with people and that’s very important in ministry, discipleship and social life in general.
Give it a try for a day or a few and see what happens. You might be surprised at what you discover.