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Posts Tagged ‘Social Media Fast’

When our air conditioner was broken, I started keeping the weather.com page up on my computer so I could monitor the morning temperatures to see when it was time to close up the house.  Our air conditioner decided that full-time work was cutting into its busy schedule of sitting in the dog’s yard, and downgraded itself to part-time.  It would work when it was cool outside, but around dinner time when the outside temperatures climbed above 100 (up to 108 degrees, some days), it was like, “Dude, I’m tired.  I’ll catch ya later.”  This led me to embrace my inner white trash and use binder clips to attach various swaths of fabric and tablecloths to all our west-facing windows – and we have a lot.  (Ironically, I wanted our house on this lot because of all the west-facing windows to display the beautiful Idaho sunsets.  Which are now covered with tablecloths.)  Our air conditioner strike also turned me into the window/heat police to our kids.

“Close that window shade!  Can’t you see the sun streaming in?!!”
“Eastern window shades stay closed in the morning, and south-facing window shades get closed in the afternoon!”

My poor little boy just sat in his dark room, squinting at his Legos, in fear that he would open the wrong shade and HEAVEN FORBID turn on a light.

“No lights!  Light bulbs create heat!  No computers after 10 a.m. because they turn the office into a furnace!”

In an effort to allow the kids some time on the computer, I watched the weather.com page like a hawk to see when the outside temperatures were cool enough to open the house and warm enough to begin my patrol.  We had about a 2-hour window when temperatures were below 77 degrees if I got up at 5:30 a.m. to open the house, take down my “curtains,” and set up the box fan by the back door (which sounds like a 747 is about to take off in my dining room).  Good times.

So what does this have to do with Facebook?  Nothing really, except that I wanted to vent about our slacker air conditioner, who we sent packing last Saturday and replaced with a programmable model that is probably smarter than I am.  Actually, this is the back story to explain why my Facebook fast has left a vacancy that now seems to be filled by weather.com.

You don’t realize how much a particular habit is part of your daily routine until you remove it.  Like last summer, when I moved our silverware to a different drawer, and experienced a month of “Argh!” from everyone as we instinctively opened the wrong drawer 3 times a day.  Facebook has become my early afternoon I’m-done-with-being-a-mom-and-just-want-to-escape-so-please-entertain-me-with-stupid-quotes-and-mildly-amusing-anecdotes, my mid-afternoon For-the-love-of-procrastination-won’t-somebody-please-post-something-ANYTHING break, my early evening Maybe-if-I’m-on-the-computer-my-husband-will-do-the-dishes break, and my pre-bedtime Let’s-see-if-there’s-anything-new-because-I-wouldn’t-want-to-miss-the-exciting-developments-at-11 p.m. ritual.  Take all that away and suddenly you find yourself staring at your email inbox, just waiting for something to appear.  Inbox is fickle, and not feeding your need for constant stimulus, so you remember your old friend weather.com.  With hourly weather changes, there’s always something new.  Whew!

Honestly, the first few days unplugged from the social media machine were the hardest because I was most aware of the absence of constant input.  I had no idea how many times a day I was checking Facebook until I stopped.  Interestingly, it didn’t bother me at all the week before when we were camping and totally unplugged because I was outside of my routine.  (Let me clarify that by “unplugged,” I mean we did not have internet.  We “camp” in my parents’ trailer with kitchen, electricity, TV, DVD player, iPads, laptop…)  But back in my regular routine, I realized how much of a distraction social media is.  If I don’t want to do something or think about something, I can just veg out on Facebook.  It’s an escape.

The first night of my fast, I went through major withdrawals during the excruciatingly painful hour I had to kill before bedtime when the kids were in bed, the husband was reading, and I was in no mood to read parenting magazines and feel like a big fat failure because there’s no way I’m making crafts out of recycled _________ (fill in the blank with whatever ridiculous $.50 item I’m supposed to yank out of the trash, then spend $20 on mod podge and other supplies so I can display this piece of garbage in my home).  In that excruciatingly loud silence, fears were allowed to bubble to the surface.  Fears I didn’t know were percolating while I was busy seeking input.  Tears spilled out and I confessed to God that I’m scared to death about some issues I’m facing this year.  I’d like to say there was an immediate rush of the Holy Spirit to calm my fears, but this night wasn’t about resolving issues, just confessing that they’re there and that I need to deal with them.  Sometimes you have to be broken down before you can be rebuilt, just like a grain (gluten free, of course) must be ground into flour before it can be baked into bread (or in my case, a gluten free bread-like substance – hence, the absence of bread recipes on this blog).

Honestly, I’m looking forward to the next several weeks of space created in my schedule by withdrawing from the endless cycle of input.  I need to quiet my thoughts, deal with some fears, and invite the Holy Spirit to speak.  If my focus is all on me, my life, my desires, and procrastinating through social media, I’m not going to hear God’s still, small voice.  This fast is about desiring less of me and more of God.  In order for him to increase, I must decrease – decrease in importance to myself, and decrease the noise coming into my life.  The only way I will be able to face the upcoming challenges of this year is if I intentionally focus on what God desires for my family.  (2 words: impending teenager.  Prayers appreciated.)

This was in my inbox yesterday.  (Thank you, email, for still sending me stuff.  You’re my new BFF.)

Everything is permissible – but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible – but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.

1 Corinthians 10:23-24

Facebook is not the anti-Christ.  There is a lot of good that can come from social media (and believe me, I told God all about it when he started hinting at letting go of it).  Facebook is permissible, but right now it’s stealing my focus and is neither beneficial nor constructive.  Instead of seeking my own good, I need to be seeking the good of others.  Like my daughter, who I actually did crafts with yesterday during my usual mid-afternoon procrastination break.  She’d been begging me to help her make a no-sew fleece throw pillow, and I managed to suppress the vomit in my mouth while helping her cut and tie the bazillion knots in her pink doggie pillow.  Maybe it’s time I focused on her in the afternoon.  Maybe it’s time I talked to God about my day before bed, instead of posting highlights and watching for nods of approval.  Maybe God has some big news to share with me, and he’s been waiting for me to shut up about myself and just listen to him.

Thank you, Lord, for desiring to be in relationship with me.  And thank you for weather.com.

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