I’d take physical exhaustion over mental exhaustion any day of the week.
And that’s what social media produced in me – a mental and emotional burnout.
So I took the plunge and removed myself.
It wasn’t the first time I’d left social media, but I believe it’ll be the last.
I decided over a year and a half ago, at the end of February and beginning of the Lenten season, to start a fast and deactivated from Facebook on March 2, 2020.
I’d planned to go back once Lent was over, but when the time came I didn’t want to because I loved the peacefulness and that hasn’t changed almost twenty months later.
The first thing I became re-acquainted with after I left the daily grind was my brain.
“Hi brain, how have you been?”
“Pretty scattered, you?”
I started to remember where I actually read something, who said what, and who I’d already told something to.
No more, “Not sure who said this or where I read it, but it went something like this.”
I can now recall conversations.
I can go entirely into my projects and thoughts, without distraction or a nagging feeling there’s something I should be doing instead. No more of the magnetic pull to check and recheck my screens at all hours of the day.
I want more out of my relationships and my life, so I’m choosing less.
I love and adore people, which has been a big motivator to stay away from social media. It sounds contradictory, I know, but I’m enjoying much longer and more meaningful face to face gatherings and voice to voice dialogue with those I hold nearest and dearest; friends, family and neighbors.
It’s sometimes been said social media strengthens relationships, but I’ve felt from the beginning it cheapens them.
The first time, years ago, when a Facebook friend passed away and I witnessed the subsequent comments on that person’s wall, addressed to the family, I was horrified.
The messages were filled with love and sympathy, yes, things like, “So sorry for your loss,” and “You’re in our thoughts and prayers,” but the idea made me cringe and want to climb under the table.
I thought, Is this what our world is turning into? A quick typed-comment on the computer or phone is woefully inadequate, in my humble opinion, to most tragedies and milestones.
These sites can be used as tools if we’re far from each other but shouldn’t be used as replacements for being together and visiting one another, creating worthwhile intimacy.
Even if those visits only add up to mere hours per month or even per year, the relationship will be stronger than clicking away minutes/hours of our lives on each other’s posts.
It’s much richer and nourishing going to others (or calling), in good times and in bad. Something to consider, though – we weren’t created with the ability to be everything to everyone.
It’s impossible to have real friendships with hundreds of people. Trying to can be exhausting and defeating. It’s more fulfilling to have deep and genuine relationships with less, with those you can be there for, or they for you, in all the important ways.
We’ve been created to be person to person and heart to heart, not screen to screen.
In freedom from social media I’ve noticed the days seem longer, in the best of ways.
I have time to get things done, to accomplish what I’ve set out to do, and have windows of time for others.
In the past, I felt like there wasn’t enough time, so many things I wanted to accomplish, always falling into the category of “someday.”
But how many tomorrows are we promised?
Online culture can be alienating too and often puts us on opposite sides of an issue with others. We don’t have to be living like that, in a fight or flight state of mind. It can become an addiction to hope on the crazy train every morning, grabbing our phones before we do anything else, and scrolling, scrolling, scrolling for the latest update and news story. (Are these stories even true? Are they real? Who knows!)
Above all else – I want to live for an audience of one, not an audience of hundreds.
Social media is about building platforms, lifting and highlighting ourselves . . . but our lives have never been about us.
We don’t need to have followers: We just need to be following one – The Almighty One.
God knows a life of pointing to ourselves is an empty one and He wants much more for the minutes we’re granted.
We’re to love Him and love others, by close connection and undistracted attention with the ones we’re blessed with and not with a frenzied mind, so choke full of unnecessary information we miss out on what’s right in front of us.
If you, like me, yearn for the olden days and simpler times and have felt a desire to start your own fast, don’t be afraid or feel you’ll be missing out.
Until you give it a go you won’t know, and you’re apt to discover wonderful, new things about those living nearby and you can discover the immense value of your own worth as God’s child, exactly as you are, without seeking validation from likes, loves and views, or anywhere else, but from our Creator alone.
In the end, the manner in which we approach our lives; what we believe, what we say and what we do; is of most relevance and most consequential, not to the masses, but to one.
If our lives were a play and in that play we had a special role and purpose, having THE greatest one in our cheering section . . . is the only one we ever really need.
Colossians 3 : 23 – 24 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather that for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.
Galatians 1 : 10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.