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Fasting from Social Media

Have you ever opened up your favorite social media platform with great anticipation and expectation of fulfillment, hoping to find wonder, meaning, and satisfaction only to find yourself ten minutes later full of despair, jealousy, anger, and frustration at the stupidity of the world? (or yourself?).

Yup, I know the feeling well.

It is the feeling of let down. It is the feeling of being bamboozled, hood-winked, and getting got.

And I don't know about you, but I think social media has been gettin us y'all. The strife, the conflict, the bitterness and distrust. All while the companies, and people behind them, are getting ridiculously rich.

I'm tempted to say that social media isn't intrinsically bad, but I don't think that is actually true. Of course, like most things, it depends on the user. But it has been scientifically shown through studies that increased social media usage is correlated to increase mental health problems. (For more on this see: The Social Dilemma, also check out their tips to a social media reboot).

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life." - Prov 13:12

This January, I and many in my local church, are encouraging one another to fast from all "non-essential/work related" social media (please don't ask what that means and where the boundary lines fall exactly, you can figure it out lol), in order to try to draw near to one another, God, and to perceive him more clearly together. Creating this space can help us to have greater clarity and focus, to be able to see what is true. It can help us not get so fixated on a mirage (or nightmare) that modern digital media often creates for us.

Of course, any time we cut and gouge out (Mat 5:29-30) something we have become dependent on, it is very difficult and painful. But this is why Jesus used such strong language, because he wants us to be enslaved to him alone, for his burden is light and his yoke is easy. We literally can't say that about anything else in life.

It is interesting that we think the internet, and social media in particular, tend to give us more access to information (forget the fact that much of it is fake) and thus is a good thing. But as DeYoung said, "We need to fast from the information feast, lest we gorge ourselves on trivialities."

Should you fast from social media?

The short answer is yes.

But if you need more markers to help you identify, simply try it for 3 days and see if it is the least bit difficult. If there is any difficulty, that should tell you enough about the fact that you could really benefit from the discipline of abstinence and simplicity.

In a world of increasing tech (that is not alway neutral), may we always be able to say with St. Paul, "I will not be mastered by anything." (1 Cor 6:12).


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