“What is this, 20 questions?” Why, yes. Yes it is.
20 questions might seem like a lot.
When I decided to take a Winter Break from social media (sayonara, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), I had a lot fewer questions than 20 about how I would approach this endeavor in the era of online worlds, businesses, and communities. However, once I began, I WISHED I’d had a longer list.
I know some of my friends are playing (and praying) with the idea of “fasting” from social media. Here’s the thing:
There are things that I wish I had known in advance of pulling the plug. So I made you a list, and it’s printable. You may have noticed: I like lists.
An aside: With the start of Lent just a few days away, it is definitely a great time to make space in your life by taking a break from some thing that has been recently distracting you from wholeheartedly loving Jesus and living for him in your everyday way. Lent is a great time to do a quit because so many others around you may also be doing so. You get the group vibe, which really helps.
To me, observing Lent is about getting my head and heart clear in the days leading up to Easter. Depending on what is stirring up my world when Lent arrives, I have given up things and I have declined to give up things. God still loves me.
Whether or not you observe Lent, believers come at this a LOT of different ways. I’m not here saying there is a right way. But, if you’re curious about fasts and Lent:
- My friend Lea Turner (whose blog I❤️) inspired me to try an extended social media break, and her post, Dare to Do the Next Best Thing, is a cool drink of water.
- This post by Ann Voskamp is beautiful on the subject of Lent.
- I found this video by Jess Connolly and friends, and Amen Paper Company really helpful this week. In a hangout-style conversation among friends, these ladies talk about how they came up with their ideas about Lent. No matter where you stand, it’s a fantastic conversation, and I’m all about Amen Paper Company, anyway. Good people.
All that said, stepping away from social media for a period of time is a little more complicated than giving up ice cream. The good news is it is a lot LESS complicated than giving up the go-to vices that spring to mind. There are lots of pesky habits that get in the way of who we really want to be, aren’t there?
So. The List.
20 Questions You May Want To Ask Before You Give Up Social Media (For Lent)
Why not print this list so you can write on it?
- When is Lent? (I’ll give you this one) Lent is March 1 through April 12 this year. Traditionally it’s the six weeks/40 days leading up to Easter.
- What are 5 reasons (personal to me) why I would like to give up social media for a while?
- What do I get out of periodic fasts from other things that I have tried?
- Have I ever given up social media for any chunk of time before? (May I suggest trying it for one day before you try it for 40?)
- Who in my life will I need to tell?
- Why social media and not something else? There’s a lot of things to take a break from that would be beneficial – sugar, soda, Netflix, texting and driving. Are my reasons strong for giving up social media?
- Do I know someone who may have tried this and has tips for how to do it?
- Is this a good time to be away, or is this the right season for an absence? (If you are getting married during this 40 day period, or having a baby or going on a vacation during Lent, it would be problematic to be absent from social media.)
- What’s my experience with quitting things? What was the last thing I gave up for a while or forever?
- Do I know other people who are going to do it too so I can get that group vibe on my side? Do I know anyone quitting anything?
- Can my spouse or members of my family promise to tell me about important events or announcements I’ll probably miss?
- When I’ve quit things before, what was my strategy? Would that work this time?
- Will I post an exit explanation or not?
- What will be the boundaries? No Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter but yes Pinterest? Why?
- Can anyone post on my behalf to clients or groups that are expecting things from me?
- Does this feel too legalistic and/or am I trying to win some prize with God? (hint: he loves you just as much now as he will after you fast. You know this!)
- What will I do when I’m having a really hard day? Will I build in benchmarks and celebrate them quietly somehow?
- Will I delete apps from my phone for the period of the fast?
- Will I keep a list of the things that I’m learning?
- Is there something I can take on while I’m giving this up? Can I use the time to do a specific Bible study or substitute a new habit for this habit? (You could read one of my 31 day series’! Grab a friend and go through Cultivate Courageous -that will get you through 31 days – take breaks and it’ll take you through all 40!)
Every one of us is so special and different from anyone else, so your list of answers will be entirely singular to your life. Let go of comparison.
I’ve answered these questions for myself and it is helping me through the social media break I’m currently choosing to take. Because I’m in the middle of my 21 day Winter Break (which I posted about on my Instagram), you won’t find this post on social media unless you share it. Will you share it? If you find it helpful, other people will too. When my fast is over, I’ll be back to share how it went.
My strongest recommendation is that you know your answers to #2, #7 and #12. Keep your list of WHYs handy and re-read them often. Buddy up, and have a game plan! Let me know if I can help.
If you’re in a fog about whether or not you would like to intentionally let go of something in your life to focus unhindered on loving Jesus with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul, and all your strength, I am praying that you will. It does not have to be social media, and it doesn’t have to be during Lent.
Because of his life, death, and resurrection we are free from legalistic rule-follower-ship, so giving up things for Lent is not necessary to your walk with Jesus. But because of him, we are also free to love and good works. We are free to practice disciplines as they create for us a life of worship.
Happy social media fasting! And, yes, happiness will always be an option.