Some people think really hard about what to fast from for Lent. I’m a Baptist, and we don’t “do” Lent, so my choice to give something up for it was an odd impulse decision. I’d had several long discussions with my sister about social media and my frustrations with it, and rather late in the evening on Ash Wednesday we both decided to fast from social media. My only social media is Facebook, and I don’t have it on my phone, so you might think this was no big deal for me. You’d be right. Lent for me was not about the fasting so much as focus, so giving up social media removed a primary distraction.
I wanted to focus on fellowship with other believers, not an online facsimile of it. I wanted to invite people into my home more often. I wanted to spend the time I usually spend on Facebook on things that make me a better Christian, better mom, and better wife. I wanted to read my bible more consistently. I wanted to get more sleep because the secret to holiness is adequate shut-eye when you’re a mom of three. I wanted to work on my novel.
I was unevenly successful. I spent entirely too much time watching backlist episodes of Good Mythical Morning and Blimey Cow on YouTube. I didn’t get any extra sleep, but my littlest is primarily responsible for that. I didn’t work on my novel much. I did, however, work on lots of blog posts and even finished several! I had a few fun days baking and cooking with friends while my children scribbled all over the back porch with sidewalk chalk. I even read a daily bible study for Lent. It was good to unplug.
But the fundamental thing I learned from saying goodbye to Facebook is this: don’t do it right before a big move without explaining what you’re doing. It makes people think you are mad at them and hiding in your house.
All of you who do not suffer from unbelievable social awkwardness are shaking your heads. You don’t know the half of it. Only I would choose a Lenten fast that accidentally confuses and insults people.