Fasting…Kind of

I am fasting…

…from social media…

…kind of.

I’m going on 24 hours now but let me assure you that I am still staying inline with Matthew 6:17 as my head is anointed and my face is washed. I’m not whining about it or walking around like I’m suffering from withdrawal. I do feel, though, like I am cheating a little since this is being automatically posted to Facebook and Twitter, but I am justifying it by not actually opening the apps or logging in online.

But pastor, WordPress is a social media platform, isn’t it?

Well, yes, but…it’s not Facebook or Twitter and I’m not checking WordPress and perusing it from time to time. That’s why I said “kind of“.

So, if you are “staying inline” with Matthew 6:17, why then are you writing about it?

You’re asking a lot of questions (or I’m talking to myself too much), either way, here’s why I am posting this:

My life seems quieter now.

I read a devotion recently that talked about listening to the voice of God. The author said that many people have inside voices and outside voices. He then went on to say that God doesn’t speak to us with those voices but rather with a still, small, quiet whisper. Why would God do that if He wants to talk to us so we will listen. Well, when someone whispers to you what do you naturally do?

Exactly!

You draw closer to them so you can hear. See my point?

Facebook, Twitter and platforms like those are loud; all using their “outside voices” to get your attention. So excuse me, I’m going to go and listen.

The Pastor -|—

The Facebook Experiment (part 2) ~ Observations

It’s Monday morning and I just checked my Facebook account for the first time since 3 PM, Friday, Feb 27. It’s been a good weekend being away and reflecting. No twitching being off Facebook. No falling off the wagon. No cheating and justifying my cheating. Just a good weekend where I learned a lot.

But first…

Why the experiment?
I read an article earlier on Friday called: Facebook Obsession and the Anguish of Boredom. And a line in that article caught my attention: “When life gets boring, we increasingly turn to the surprises (and diversions) of our newsfeeds, not to prayer.”

And so I began to think, “Does that happen to me? Do I turn to Facebook instead of God in prayer? When I get bored, do I seek other things to fulfill me other than God? Is Facebook my source of validation or is God”

This concerned me so hence the experiment to do some soul searching. So I logged off Facebook and turned off my mobile notifications on my phone and tablet; only posting faith related material from other platforms such as this blog and Bible verses from my YouVersion app. I did continue to maintain my church’s Facebook page; but only through my mobile app as to not be tempted to log on and check my newsfeed.

Then ~ whenever I would get the urge to check my Facebook account I would stop and pray instead. And so I did. All weekend this went on; as I jotted down some observations.

Observations:
(1) Early on, whenever I sat down on the couch I instinctively reached for my phone to check my newsfeed (but I never cheated).

(2) Early on, whenever I got on my computer I instinctively pulled up another tab in my Chrome browser for my Facebook account (once again, I never cheated).

(3) Early on, I prayed a lot because I was thinking about how many notifications I had waiting for me. I almost felt guilty for not checking in.

(4) Later on, I still prayed a lot, but not because I was bored or thinking about Facebook but because I wanted to. This experiment served as a reminder to “Pray without ceasing”. What a pleasant outcome.

(5) Later on, I realized that didn’t think about my newsfeed as much as I thought I would but I still prayed. I was pleasantly surprised.

(6) I missed the people I correspond with on Facebook but not Facebook itself.

So now what?

This experiment has prompted me to make some changes to my Facebook habits. My hope and prayer is that they are long term changes:
(1) Instead of going to Facebook to “waste time” I am going to peruse my newsfeed looking for prayer requests (ones explicitly stated or not).

(2) I am going to keep my notifications turned off on my phone and tablet (expect for messenger). I want to control when I check Facebook and not let a notification tell me when to check. Technology and social media have good qualities but who controls who?

(3) I am only going to check Facebook when I have an identifiable purpose; not checking to see how many people have “liked” something.

(4) No more mindless perusing of my newsfeed. Pray instead; continuing the “experiment”.

And so we’ll see how this goes; this continuation of “the experiment”. This has indeed opened my eyes to how social media can have a huge impact on your life. Like I said earlier, social media is not bad but like anything else, it’s how you use it. And if you’re using Facebook to receive validation from people you barely know; remember that God has already “validated” you through Jesus Christ.

So…

~ Seek God
~ Peruse God’s promises
~ Update your status with God through prayer
~ Know that God has already clicked your “like” button
~ And remember to “log in” and check you “Godbook” (Bible) often.

Thank you, God, for a great weekend and for opening my eyes to new habits. May you be glorified. Amen.

The Pastor -|—

The Facebook Experiment

I just read an interesting article about Facebook addiction and it spoke to me.

[Pause to pray]

I am not sure the depths on the addiction for me but I do know that I spend a lot of time on it. Often, I justify my time there by saying that it is ministry related. And for the most part it is, but there are mindless moments when I am pouring over my news feed when I could be doing something more constructive;

Like praying, perhaps (actually, that’s what this article suggested)

So I am doing an experiment this weekend. As of 3 PM central time, I have logged off Facebook and turned off my mobile notifications. I will be posting Bible/devotion related material through other platforms (i.e. This blog post and scripture from my YouVersion app), but that is it. When I get the urge to check Facebook, I am going to pray instead. And then on Monday I am going to evaluate the weekend.

[So far there has been lots of prayer and I am only 20 minutes in]

Now don’t get me wrong here, I am not condemning people for using Facebook…

[Pause to pray]

…and I am not suggesting that everyone cancel their accounts and boycott Facebook, but rather I am want to explore how social media may be drawing my attention away from God. I am curious on how much time I actually think about Facebook and how much I care about what others care about what I write and post. I DO care…

[Pause to pray]

…but I don’t want Facebook to consume my life. I want God to consume my life. I want my attention on the one who has saved me through Jesus. I want to draw closer to Him. I want to be in communion with Him. I want to care more about what God thinks of me. So hence the experiment.

I am not sure what will come out of this weekend. Maybe my priorities will be changed drastically. Maybe I will notice a huge difference in my relationship with God. Maybe my Facebook habits and posts will change. Maybe I will crack and check Facebook…

[Pause to pray]

…Maybe nothing will change. I am not sure what will happen but I got a feeling there WILL be lots of praying. So I will report back with a blog post on Monday. I will be taking notes throughout the weekend and praying about this Facebook relationship.

[Pause to pray]

But whatever happens, may God be praised and receive the glory.

Father God, draw me closer to you and help me see greater depths of your love for me. Amen.

The Pastor -|—