Lent, so far.

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Lent, so far.



Greetings, populants of the Internet!

I’m alive, and well. The end. See you again soon!

Just kidding, I’m not nearly succinct enough to end it there after what has been a THREE-WEEK fast from social media thus far! I half-heartedly intended to update this blog after week’s one and two, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I was still processing the things I was processing and any update would have been far more jumbled than what you’re about to receive.

Let’s recap:

What am I fasting from?

Facebook (except Messenger), Instagram, and alcohol save for one drink a week.

Have I stayed the course?

From social media, 100{43d0d1614ecc8ec385b3ea9940a88627e26eaf9be88a0641399e0be0c80ef276} I’ve asked my husband to post something here or there on Facebook, on his page or a page we are joint admins of, but I’ve not interacted with the FB or Instagram apps at all for three weeks.

There was one time two weeks ago when I had a hard cider at a hockey game and I’d had a drink a day or two before that, but other than that my alcohol consumption is one drink a week.

How have I stayed the course?

I removed the FB and Instagram apps from my phone, and blocked the FB website on my phone. There wasn’t a need to block Instagram becuse if you’ve ever tried to use Instagram in a web browser you’ll understand why. However, there have been times in the past when I’ve taken the FB app off of my phone but still accessed it through the browser, making the blocking necessary. Also, for the first week, I initiated the Self Control app on my MacBook and would block FB and Instagram on my computer for 24 hours at a time. I haven’t needed to do that since the first week, and haven’t even accidentally navigated to either site when I’m on my laptop.

For alcohol–it’s just been a decision. As I’m not an alcohlic, there wasn’t much standing in my way besides a decision. That doesn’t mean I haven’t really wanted a drink outside of the boudnaries (more on all of that later–perhaps another post entirely) but simply deciding on one drink a week has been enough of a stop-gap for me.

Those are all the practical, tangible ways in which I’ve helped set myself up for success in these areas, but that’s not really what Lent is about. Lent is about setting aside those things which have become idols in my life and/or stumbling blocks on the path to my relationship with God. This could look a hundred different ways from time I’m spending on any of these activities that takes direct time away from prayer, medidation, and service in God’s Kingdom, to how my attitude is during and after these activities, and how that sets me up spiritually. So, there has been a lot of prayer and reflection over the last few weeks, and I want to share some of the revelations in the area of social media. The alcohol will be a separate post because it’s truly a separate beast.


What I miss and don’t miss about Facebook.

  1. My acquaintences, of course! Those folks whose lives I’ve been intertwined with on the Internet for 1-10 years. Those people who I pray for, cheer for, and cry with. Those friends who live in other states and countries. Pals who don’t always have my phone number, but we correspond akin to penpals of the days of yore thanks to the miracle of Facebook. However, it’s also reminded me where the boundaries are in my friendships. In fact, most of the people who I’ve been regularly communicating with over the past three weeks are people who I communicated with regularly via phone, messenger, or text prior to Lent. It’s shown me that in the great big world of the Internet, yes we can share experiences and commiserate and celebrate with one another, but at the end of the day I have not had 1,500 text messages (roughly the number of friends I think I have on Facebook). So, that’s been something I’ve really been medidating on: nurturing the friendships that have been present and are continuing to grow despite my absence from social media. I do need to add that I’ve had to have my husband check our “Events” for me on FB because so many times I’ll get invited to something and will just use FB as my reminder for a real-life party without ever putting it on my real-life calendar!
  2. I miss sharing things about my own life. My kids are a riot, and do amazing things from time to time, and I’ve caught myself with my thumb hovering over a picture I’ve just taken, captioning it in my head before I realize what I’m doing. That said, it’s freeing not feeling compelled to share every little thing (some are really funny or cool though and I’ll share those at some point). This harkens back to point number 1, which is, the people who are deeply in my life and in my community who regularly interact with my family get these pictures and these moments. Letting anyone else into this part of my life feels like a big step, and one that I’ll be more cautious of taking when I re-enter Social Media World. Further, it’s begged me to think about why I share the things I share when I share them, and to be congnizant of the “hit” I get from the likes and the comments, etc.
  3. I miss the memes. The end. Please, send me memes via messenger. #MemesAreLife
  4. I miss and don’t miss the news. Guys, it took me a few days to realize I had no idea what the heck was going on anywhere in the world. I follow specific news outlets on FB (Washington Post, NYT, CNN, Boston Globe) and I just trusted that whatever I needed to see would drop down in my phone whenever I opened the app. So, this has shown me a few things. First of all, I need to go get the news. I don’t prefer to watch the news on TV because I struggle with the tone and the images that come at a time and speed I can’t control. I need to seek out local newspapers and go to CNN’s website, for instance. Also, by doing so, I get a full picture of the news, not just what certain algorithms deem I am most likely to find interesting and important. On the other hand, I’m not sucked into the panicked 24-hour news cycle. This is good and bad, because I find myself a few steps behind everyone in my walking around life. My husband broke the news to me about the mosque massacre in New Zeland. I hadn’t “checked in” with any news sites yet that day before he told me. I had no idea, and I’m happy I found out. But, with that finding out, I could not commiserate on FB. I messaged a couple of Muslim friends I have, then went to CNN and located vetted charity sites they shared, donated money, and then, I prayed. I prayed a LOT about this, guys. I prayed more than I ever prayed whenever writing, “thoughts and prayers,” on any status in my life. Because I was not wrapped up in reading every single article and participating in every single discussion that danced across my face, I was smack dab at the feet of God in the silence of my bedroom praying my heart out for this world and these people. This has proven to be one of the biggest spiritual breakthroughs of this Lent thus far. The conviction to connect with people via personal messages and donating money, and then to submit my energy to the only being who can fix this broken world.
  5. I do not miss jealousy and resentment. As best as I work to fight against them, it’s hard to manage when I allow several hundred or thousand images a day about people’s vacations, amazing marriages, weight loss, new cars, new clothes, etc. These things are all my problem, and not yours, but if I’m not careful–and I haven’t been–I start comparing my life to my newsfeed and not the life Jesus died for me to have. And, trust me, there’s a big gap between the two.
  6. I do not actually miss the collective experience. I thought I would miss this first and foremost, but I haven’t. In fact, I’ve run into more people in my daily life who don’t use FB at all, or who only use it for family connections or with specific, and adhered to, boundaries. I thought I’d miss “being in the know,” but it turns out that “in the know” on the Internet lasts about four seconds (generously), and then there’s a new thing. I’ve realized that I could hop on right now if I wanted to, which I don’t, and be as “caught up” as I need to be for this day. I also know that in three weeks time I’ve missed LOADS of drama that has NOTHING to do with me, and I’m just as happy having focused some of that time on my own life.

What I miss and don’t miss about Instagram.

This is really a one-paragraph statement. I use Instagram differently than I use FB. I follow more Bible leaders and teachers on there, and deeply miss their updates and the Instastories.deeply miss the Instastories of some of the people I follow, but some others (like Rachel Hollis or even some activists) haven’t really caused a longing in my heart. I mean, I used to spend an hour or more a day on the stories (often while cleaning or folding laundry), and now I’m listening to podcasts or watching old shows. I actualy miss Instagram more than Facebook because it’s a kinder, slower place. It’s more curated and neuanced and theres less room for drama (but not none. I follow more activists on Instagram than Facebook and those threads are sometimes cesspools where neuance goes to die).

I’ve learned I still have pockets in my day where I kill time.

Sometimes it’s unavoidable, like waiting in the pickup line, or any line, and I’m startled by how quickly I look for something to fill in the “waiting.” Who ever died from a casual wait in a line? I started playing Candy Crush for the first time ever, and spent an hour some days playing it, but in 5-10 minute increments throughout my day. Once I spotted this pattern, I’ve started deciding to be okay with the wait sometimes, or I read a non-school book. I love to read, and have done more of it since Lent started than I have in many, many months or even years.

I’m writing again.

🙂 You heard me. Just yesterday I was inside the heads of Kennedy and Jonah. And it was glorious. #JesusFreaks4


So, as you can see, a little less than halfway through Lent there are a lot of feelings and revelations that have bubbled to the surface. This weekend, perhaps, I’ll write about the alcohol piece, because I’m still sorting out and coming to terms with some of the things I’ve noticed about myself and others in that segement of the journey. What I can say, though, is Iast night I was craving BOTH a drink AND social media. I texted my husband about it just to get it out of my head and to share it with someone else. I’d been really working hard yesterday and focused for a long time at my work, and when the end of the day came I wanted to unwind in ALL THE WAYS! Instead, I watched an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and went to bed. Which left me feeling well enough to get up and go for a run this morning, something I’ve been doing for a week now that I also haven’t done in years.

To my friends on their own Lenten journeys, stay the course, submit to God, and bask in the blessings and revelations that come your way through this period of contemplation, repentance, and, finally, resurrection.


God bless.



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