Today I begin a fast from Facebook. Why? For many reasons.
I was contemplating the approach of Lent and considering whether I wanted to sacrifice anything. I have been an uneven practitioner of Lent in the past. As I thought and prayed about it, it occurred to me to fast from Facebook.
As most people know, Facebook is a black hole when it comes to time. I knew that by giving up Facebook for a while, I would find time for the projects that are most important to me. I’m not talking about my family or my faith: I make time for those. I’m talking about my hobbies: the small habits that make my life meaningful, colorful, and joyful. I’m currently working on a massive cross stitch project. Now, cross stitch is a hobby for me. It has long been my own personal “coloring book.” But this year I want to enter my work in the State Fair, and to do that I’ll need to finish by August. My last project of this size took me over 4 years to complete! So spending time daily on my cross stitch is a necessity if I want to get it in the State Fair. Oh, and it has to be completed in a year to be entered: I can’t just wait until 2017 and enter it then if I don’t finish in time. Another hobby, which is also part of my life’s vocation: Writing. Using all my Facebook time to write will be a wonderful use of time! I’m in a delightful group, the 10 Minute Novelists, on Facebook, and for the second year in a row, they are hosting the 365K challenge. Participants have committed to tracking our word counts in order to develop a regular writing habit. Substituting writing for Facebook time will strengthen my participation in the 365K challenge. Oh, and don’t worry! I don’t have to be on Facebook to participate. The tracking is done via a Google spreadsheet, so I don’t even have to log in to track!
But aside from time, there is another reason. Currently, I get a lot of my news from Facebook. And that’s fine with me. I don’t like watching TV news and reading news is fairly boring. But I’ve noticed that Facebook likes to insert inflammatory items into my newsfeed. Memes and statements that irritate and anger and upset me. I don’t like seeing that, and so I’m taking a break.
I have a lot of righteous anger, and I’m a warrior at heart. But spending that anger and fighting spirit on Facebook is a waste. It’s unproductive, because it’s divorced from context, from relationship, and most importantly, from real impact in the world. I can debate gun control on Facebook, or I can devote myself to prayer and find a way to create community around me. As part of my Lent discipline, I want to channel my strong feelings into prayer and love, because only LOVE wins.
The more I thought about giving up Facebook for Lent, the more excited I got, until I decided to jump the gun and do it on February 1. I’m not big on waiting. And so here I am, writing instead of Facebooking.
If you came here from my Facebook page, great! Check in here for updates on my life. Also please follow me on Twitter. After all, I’m giving up Facebook, not all social media!