During a sermon he preached on the last Sunday in July, my pastor notified the congregation that we would be taking a social media fast during the month of August. Initially, I wasn’t sure if I would participate. I mean, I just started my blog about seven months ago. I’m in the process of building my following on Instagram, and I’m in the process of building traffic to my website via Facebook and Twitter.
My pastor indicated that people spend unnecessary hours of their day on social media rather than spending time with their families, loved ones, or most importantly with God. He went on to share that we spend time on various insignificant items throughout our day and whatever time is remaining, may or may not be dedicated to spending time with God. Often times, leaving a mere few minutes to rush through a quick prayer in the morning.
If we participated in this fast, it was imperative that we used the time not spent on social media to pray, read our Bibles, read Bible-based books as well as anything else we felt would allow us to commune with God.
Initially, I wasn’t sure whether or not I was going to participate. I knew that I absolutely needed to because nothing is more important to me than my relationship with God. And I totally agreed with what my pastor said. Why spend hours a day allowing social media to distract you rather than spending time glorifying the One who created you? At that time, I was in a weird space and felt like I needed to take a break from social media anyway. I was at the point where after I would post something, I would stop what I was doing every few minutes to check and see how many likes I got and from whom. And to make matters worse, I would be in my feelings if certain people didn’t like my posts. I know… ridiculous… And I was getting frustrated with the number of my followers not increasing. Allowing it to affect me and my peace way too much. As I have shared in the past, I am not about staying in a space that impacts my peace. My peace and having peace of mind is so important to me. I am determined to live a happy life. So again, I was sure that I needed to participate, I just wasn’t sure to what degree.
Initially, I prayed about it and shared with God how I knew that I was going to participate, but I wasn’t sure to what degree. I shared with Him that my concern was how I was going to continue to promote my blog without social media. That I was considering only posting to share my latest content. My only concern with that was whenever I open social media, a post will grab my attention and before I know it, I am scrolling through the feed. So I wasn’t sure how well that approach was going to work.
After praying about whether not I should take a break from social media, I spoke with my husband - my voice of reason. (My husband is one of the biggest jokesters I know, but he is also one of the smartest people I know. He has a way of making things sound so easy while I complicate them.) After I shared my concerns with my husband, he asked, “Don’t you think God is going to bless you for being obedient to the man of God who suggested this fast?” That’s when it clicked. I was going to do a full on, thirty-day fast from social media. And I was able to do it successfully. Here’s how:
Delete your social media apps:
I knew that the only way that I would not “forget” that I was on a social media fast was to delete the apps from my phone. That way, when I had a free moment, I wouldn’t just go to the app, open it up, and start scrolling out of habit.
Utilize your Bible app:
I decided that to ensure I was staying on course with the purpose of the fast, that I went to my Bible app and read one of the plans that resonated with me rather than going to social media. This was a great approach that helped me stay in my Word multiple times a day. It also helped me work on and improve some matters of my heart.
Share your plans with others:
I shared with those in my circle what my plans were in hopes that they would join me in the month long fast. That way, we could help keep each other accountable. While I wasn’t able to convince everyone to join me, some did share that they planned to scale back on their social media presence.
The result of my social media fast:
After the month ended, I wasn’t in a rush to hop back on social media. In fact, it took a few days before I even downloaded the apps again. I was in such a peaceful state that I did not want interrupted by some of the posts we see on social media. You know, like the posts we see that make us compare our lives to the lives of others.
My time away from social media helped me to fully experience life without stopping every few minutes to take pictures for Facebook or Instagram. It allowed me to fully enjoy the company of my loved ones. I even found myself picking up the phone to call more people to check on them rather than just catching up with them online. That was a big step for a millennial like myself. LOL.
Just as I expected, the fast gave me a great sense of peace. I was able to focus on the things that brought me love and joy and was able to give love and joy to those around me. I wasn’t distracted for hours at a time from important tasks that needed to be completed. I was more focused on God and how blessed I am. I was able to curl up and read some great books, which is one of my favorite things to do, but something I don’t get to do nearly as much now-a-days with my busy schedule.
Fasting from social media was really a rewarding experience that I do not regret one ounce. I’m sure I will do it again from time to time. I highly recommend it to others. I’m sure it will impact you differently, but the result will be the same. A sense of peace, accomplishment, and appreciation.
After reading my experience, do you think you would be able to survive a month without social media? Why or why not? Do you feel as though social media has negatively impacted your life in any way? I would love to hear from you.
Until next time!