Lessons I Learned While Fasting….Part One

I did it. 

Two weeks ago, after several weeks of nudging from God, I took a break from my laptop. While I still needed to answer emails from family and for my speaking and writing, I stopped reading blogs, writing this blog, surfing the Net and, most of all, checking my Facebook.

Yep..I went on a total Facebook fast.

I will be writing here this week about the lessons I learned. Today, I’ll start with the whole Facebook thing.

Man, can being on Facebook fritter your time away!!! It is the black hole of the Internet. Those of you who use (and abuse) it surely know what I mean. You hop on just to quickly update your status. You know, put down that Susy Smith is….making rice crispie treats….or contemplating world peace…..or something of the sort.

Below, on your news feed, pops up all kinds of info about people you are friends with. So you simply must scroll down to see what exciting things they are up to. One is headed off on an exciting family vacation and promises posted pictures along the way. Another gives her opinion on something happening in the news. Someone you went to high school with quips about her daughter’s prom. A lady from church talks about a get-together with friends happening at a local park. And dozens of other people also list their whereabouts and doings. Most of which are happy, exciting and very surfacey.

Five minutes ago, you were calm and content. Now your line of thinking goes something like this….” Must be nice to travel out west as a family. Wish we had that kind of money. No fair. And gee, I wonder what everyone else thinks about that controversial item in the news. And I’ll have to pop over and see those prom pictures to see if my high school friend’s daughter looks like her. And get-together. What get-together? We didn’t get invited. Left out, again…”

Now, instead of realizing that viewing all of this info has stirred your heart in the wrong direction, what do you do? Right!!! You hop on over to the profiles of some of these people. Which leads you down a long path of frittering and fretting.

Why, there is a picture of that vacationing family at a gorgeous hotel pool. And your friend and her daughter before prom. Her daughter looks just like her mom did in high school and it makes you smile. The fact, however, that the mom still looks like she did in high school does not. It makes you despise those extra 25 pounds you are carrying and emerging crow’s feet even more. You see all of the people commenting about the upcoming park party and you begin to question whatever you did to get yourself uninvited. After all, you are friends with all the people who commented that they are coming. Next, you hop over to read opinions about that news-worthy topic. Why you even leave your opinion too. 

Of course, on the pages of many of these people, you see other “friends” and their statuses. So what do you do? You hop over (or click over) to many of them to see what the world has been up to. It is fun. It is interesting. And, after all, it only takes a few minutes of your time, right?  

When done, and before logging off, you pop back home to your profile page and before shutting down, you glance back up at your own status. Underneath your name, the time is displayed telling everyone when you last updated your status. While you think you have only been “Facebooking” for a couple moments. You cringe when you see that the timestamp announces that your status was last updated 58 minutes ago.

What!!!! “I’ve been on here an hour!!!???” But it only seemed like a few minutes. Oh no….And I forgot to start supper. Now we’ll have to grab pizza again.”

As you get up, you step over the load of laundry that you should have folded and see that you still haven’t wiped the counters from lunch. Then you wander by your child who is watching SpongeBob Squarepants for the third time that day and feel a slight twinge of guilt. Maybe you could have just taken him to the park and had your own private party.

So what are the lessons I’ve learned from my Facebook fast? While Facebook can be a great tool to connect and share info. It can produce two very destructive emotions in me.

Discontentment and guilt.

I just told a lovely group of ladies this past weekend at Fox River Christian Church in Wisconsin a statement I have found to be true.

Comparisons kill contentment.

I just never applied it to my Facebook searches and random profile readings before.

And guilt comes after seeing how much time has been wasted, forever sucked away in the black hole that is Facebook.

I also have been convicted that while compared to a lot of people, I cut my Facebook sessions pretty short-(Some have told me they are on multiple times a day for more than an hour at a time…) What bothered me was my consistency.

I never missed a day.

Can’t always say that when it comes to praying for my family or memorizing scripture or trying to connect with my kids and not just meet their needs for food and clean towels and a ride to their ballgame, but spend unhurried, intentional time getting to know them and what is going on in their lives.

I have had a few people ask me if I missed Facebook while I was AWOL.  And I can honestly answer that I did.

For about one day.

Then, the calm, contentment and focus I felt far outweighed any “left out” feeling I experienced by not chit-chatting with my sweet Facebook friends.

I got more done around the house. I read more. Hung with my kids more. Baked more. And I focused my thoughts on God, not on all of the activities and musings of my 643 friends. As a result, my mind and heart were calmed like they haven’t been in quite a while.

My little fast has taught me that from now on, I will approach Facebook much differently. I will only check it only every other day or so, once a day at most, and only AFTER I have read my Bible, done my Bible study lesson for the day and spent quality time praying.

How about you fellow Facebookers? Are you up for the challenge? I dare you to take a Facebook fast.

You won’t regret it.

Now, tune back in as I tell you the lessons I learned from the other part of my fast—–from blog reading and Internet surfing….

Sweet Blessings,

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  • Thank you, thank you, thank you for wrapping words around my vague notions and wandering thoughts. This posting has given my concerns and convictions the grounding they needed to spring me to action. See you LATER everyone!! :)

  • “I never missed a day.” *ouch*

    I never miss several times a day!

    FB’s biggest draw for me is the “chat” feature. I have friends on there I never see because of distance, and to chat with them without paying the added phone bill, is so much fun. I do try to keep my visits to FB when the rest of my family is out, or reward myself after my housework for the day is complete and I’ve had my quiet time with the Lord. However, I still recognize that I spend too much time on my computer in general. I even take my laptop away on the weekends when we holiday….mainly because all my boys are sportsmen, and often that leaves me alone for a couple of hours…of course…I could be reading or doing other things.

    You’ve given me much to ponder…
    Joy

  • You summed it up well. I think reading blogs does it more to me than FB (the whole discontentment and guilt thing). I need to try going on a fast like that myself. Does it count if I do it while camping where there’s no internet?

  • Agree, agree, agree! The biggest asset I have on facebook is the ability to let extended family and far away friends peek into our lives and see pictures with one mass click rather than sending it all to each of them. That saves me a lot of time.

    However, everything you said is so true. I’d like to add one more thing to it. Sometimes facebook allows us to reconnect with people from our past. That can be a good thing, but sometimes old relationships just need to be over and done, a thing of the past staying in the past. I’m not sure it’s always wise and prudent to connect in the minute details of life with everyone we know past and present. This is especially true of old flames.

    We need boundaries in many different ways when it comes to social networking.

    Thanks so much for sharing your fast with us.