Sunday, April 10, 2011

Facebook Fasting and Being Still

A couple of weeks ago, Lent was just around the corner. Coming from a Reformed Protestant background, I had never been in the habit of truly observing the Lenten season. College marked the first time I encountered people "giving things up" for Lent and establishing a new spiritual discipline. The idea was always intriguing, but I never knew how to participate without "giving up" something arbitrarily.

This year, it wasn't so arbitrary. I sensed an urge to take some kind of break from technology.

"I think I'm going to give up TV shows," I said to my husband one night.
"Rachel, you don't really watch any TV shows."
Oh, yeah. Right.
Hmm.

The thought of forgoing Facebook started to jump around in my brain. "But I need that for work," I thought. "I need to stay in connection with students." Then I noticed my habit of keeping in contact with students via text messaging, and instead using Facebook for time-wasting and perusing people's photos.
Hmm.
Conviction.

My break from Facebook has been so revealing of certain unhealthy tendencies and so life-giving with discoveries. In fact, I'm not looking forward to getting back on Facebook (although, truthfully, I will - if only for the countless photos of my nephews).

When I go on vacation, one of my favorite things to do is to stay disconnected from technology. I like not having Wifi or wasting time on a computer or being glued to a phone. I like spending my time reading and journaling and praying and just being. The difference with only abstaining from Facebook and not all technology revealed to me how much I use technology as a diversion and distraction from being in the present moment. I find myself filling the minutes with reading blogs and finding information on baby things and e-mailing everyone and who-knows-what-else. If I'm not careful, I will let the busyness of technology distract me from the stillness of God.

The fact is that my soul longs for God's stillness--for His Spirit.
I long to wait upon the Lord, and technology distracts me from doing so.

God, please forgive me for filling hours up with technology--
for ignoring the peace that you so willingly give me.
Help me to be more attuned to Your Spirit--
to seek stillness and quiet over busyness and distraction--
to be in Your presence--
to choose simplicity of being.
Amen.


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4 comments:

  1. This is a huge problem of mine also, not so much with Facebook (which I find to be more of an annoyance), but with reading blogs/online news. I've read about applications that you can install to block some websites,etc. from being viewed on your computer during certain hours or linked to certain stipulations. I haven't tried any of them, but it's getting more and more tempting as I wake up and one of the first things I do for the day is check my email, rather than pray for the day ahead.

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  2. i miss the three months I spent without facebook last year. I really wish to do something like that again. I think it is good that you gave up facebook and I think it really helps people to care more of staying in contact with those who really really care about them, you know? I notice there are people who can just take you out of their lives and that's that. . they don't care really about you outside of facebook. It's a bit sad.

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  3. Anna - I hear you on that too! I found that the first couple of days I gave up FB, I just spent extra time on blogs and news sights. Even up until recently, my routine was to eat breakfast in front of my computer. I've decided to eat breakfast in silence (or with people if anyone is around) and then start with the Bible each day instead of jumping right into the internet.

    Victoria - I am SO not looking forward to going back on FB tomorrow or Monday. It's almost going to be like a job, answering all the messages I have waiting for me. The only reason I like FB so much is to 1) see pics from my family and friends; and 2) catch up with people I don't really get to see often. Ah well. I'm relishing the time away and hopefully I won't be on too much any more.

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  4. i miss the three months I spent without facebook last year. I really wish to do something like that again. I think it is good that you gave up facebook and I think it really helps people to care more of staying in contact with those who really really care about them, you know? I notice there are people who can just take you out of their lives and that's that. . they don't care really about you outside of facebook. It's a bit sad.

    ReplyDelete

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