That Time I l Left Social Media for a Week // Jocelyn

How would I do this practically? What started out as an idea to dedicate specific hours during certain days of the week as my time to disconnect pretty quickly turned into a desire to take this seriously. One week. Cold turkey. So that’s what I did. Last Tuesday evening, I officially signed out of all accounts and completely went off the radar.

A week later, I won’t say I now have the absolute greatest pieces of wisdom and advice on this. A week really is not as long as we may think/feel like it is {seriously guys, anyone can do this!} But I did learn a handful of things.

My initial thoughts? Right as I first signed out of everything, I would say I felt a bit more.. free? I found myself thinking “wow, I don’t even have to check anything right now!” while simultaneously telling myself, “you never had to in the first place, ya dummy.”

Throughout the rest of the week, I will say I had to deal with some slight FOMO, especially when others would say “did you see what so-and-so poste-” and then quickly realize, “ohhh right, you’re not on social media right now..” #awk. So it was a bit odd to want to have intentional conversations with others, but yet not be able to participate if it was related to something happening online.

I love the creative aspect of social media, but time away from it forced me into finding other creative outlets – and moments for that were actually provided! I got to read, write, paint, and even transform my & my roomie’s faces into 70-year-old versions of ourselves for Halloween.

I also realized that I had to learn to deal with silence. {It isn’t really something I prefer. I’m the person in the car who asks if we can turn the radio on/up because it’s just a bit too quiet.} Instead of coming home for lunch or in the evening and watching a couple youtube videos (or 10), I sat in silence and read a book. And guess what? It wasn’t that bad.

That brings me to another big thing. I read. A lot. At times I couldn’t help but think “hm, so this is what people had to do for entertainment back in the day…” (And all of the non-millennials let out a unified groan.) But for real though, I do genuinely enjoy reading, but it was insightful to realize just how much I would reflexively go to tap on an app without a second thought, and have to consciously choose to read instead.

Sometimes it’s good to be left alone with our own thoughts. Maybe we use social media to avoid that. Maybe that “maybe” is more of a definite. We seem to have to be entertained and stimulated in some form at all times. I’ve realized that sometimes I just don’t feel like putting the mental or emotional energy into diving into my own brain. Admittedly, social media enters the picture as an easy way out of that.

 
“Unfortunately, the outbreak of technology and social media has not simplified life, but rather complicated it to the point of fatigue. It is becoming harder and harder to remain focused on any level of cognitive thinking for longer than a few minutes … In this culture we are finding it harder and harder to spend any appreciable time meditating on who God is or developing a greater depth of understanding and appreciation of God.”

– Glenn Jago, Deeply Rooted Magazine

Being away from social media allowed me to be more introspective, way more introspective than I would have been had I spent time watching videos and double-tapping instas.

It also coincidentally seemed like every book/magazine I dove into had something to say specifically related to this fasting experience, as if the Lord used these wise, Jesus-loving authors to help me evaluate my life during this week-long dare that I challenged myself to. What a gift.

So have I concluded that social media is this evil thing that is stealing my time? Of course not. Social media isn’t evil. I wouldn’t even say it’s bad. It’s a great tool for staying connected and expressing creativity, and it can be used for fantastic things! But is it the bestway to spend my time? Ehhhh, no, not always. Another great magazine I found myself drowned in talked about the difference between good and better things:

 

“Did you know there are good things, and then there are better things? I didn’t always know this. I knew there were good things, and there were bad things. I knew that there were things that the Bible called sinful. And to spend my time gossiping or being lazy or something like that is not only a waste of time but displeasing to the Lord. We all know this. But then there are things that are just good. They are not sinful or even questionable. Often times, the good things are necessary and important, and they’re things like having a clean house, doing the laundry, tackling home improvement projects, being in a book club, or even taking a break and watching TV. There is nothing condemnable about them, but there is nothing eternalabout them either. The things that are eternal are the things that are best. And there are three categories for things that will last for the rest of time: God, God’s Word, and the souls of people.”

– Abbie Schaller, Tapestry Magazine

My life has been given to me to utilize it in (hopefully) the best way. With social media, how much of me is being utilized? My thumbs, for sure. So that’s covered. But what about the rest? Technology savvy or not, anyone can post an instagram or send a snap or post a status. What about the specific ways that God has gifted me? The things that make me distinct from everyone else. How are those things being used and cultivated?

I don’t find my worth in social media & instagram likes. But is it an addiction for me? I’m not sure, because I think if that were the case, this fast would have been a whole lot harder than it was, and it turned out to be easier than I thought it would be. But I do turn to it anytime I have a moment to waste, or even when I don’t. Is it a type of drug for me?

In her book Present Over Perfect – yes, the fourth piece of writing I’ve drowned myself in this week – Shauna Niequist says, “You can make a drug – a way to anesthetize yourself – out of anything: working out, binge-watching TV, working, having sex, shopping, volunteering, cleaning, dieting. Any of those things can keep you from feeling pain for a while – that’s what drugs do. And, used like a drug, over time, shopping or TV or work or whatever will make you less and less able to connect to the things that matter, like your own heart and the people you love. That’s another thing drugs do: they isolate you.”

Maybe social media isn’t even a problem for you. Or maybe you would say it’s a problem and you couldn’t fathom signing out of your accounts for a single day. Whatever it is, what is your good but temporary thing? How are you spending time? Even free time?

If you find yourself being similar to me in this area, or you want to do this for yourself just to see what would come from it, I encourage and even challenge you to do it! Maybe it’s just for a day, maybe for a week, or maybe you want to get real crazy and go off the radar for a month. Come up with a time frame, and just commit to it.

If it helps, bring others around you in this! Maybe a friend or two can do the same thing. Even if they don’t, though, I’d encourage telling a few close friends what you’ve decided – and giving them permission to call you out if you don’t stay committed!

Again, social media isn’t sinful. I’m still a huge fan! And you’ll still see me on just about every platform. But my perspective is different. Sometimes you have to step back from the good-but-temporary for an amount of time to allow yourself to see where your perspective should be. Other times it does mean stepping back altogether. It’s a case-by-case thing, and taking at least a little time to step back can allow you to discern where you’re at.

Since I’d love to keep this perspective fresh in my mind as much as possible, there are a few practical things I have implemented since my week-long fast. Feel free to ask about them!

If you’re thinking through something like this for yourself, let this last quote encourage you, and perhaps even help you decide:

“The perishable, temporary, good things will burn away. All those dishes I cleaned? Burned. All those hours I watched Downton Abbey? Gone. All the time I spent cultivating the perfect yard, the perfect house, the perfect body? Yep, burned and gone forever. BUT all those small moments spent on eternal things? Rewarded. Those moments I spent worshipping God with my mouth, with my prayers, and with my work? Rewarded. The hours spent reading Scripture and in Bible study with other women? Praise. The chapters from the Jesus Story Book Bible I read and reread and read again to my boys at bedtime? Glory. The times I stopped to snuggle or cherish or meet a need for my boys? Rewarded. The risks taken to broach spiritual topics with my neighbors? Rewarded.”

– Abbie Schaller, Tapestry Magazine

I would personally love to hear about anything you’d like to challenge yourself to do, and what came from it if you decide to do so!

Praise God for moments of silence, for moments of reflection, and His ability to refresh or completely change our perspectives when we make ourselves susceptible. More reasons to sing His grace.

Soul Rest//Steph

Some days I feel like I’m playing a game of “Are you smarter than a 2 year old?” And the 2 year old is winning.

After a long week battling it out over nap time I find myself tired, pregnant, emotional, and feeling a bit drained. Life doesn’t stop because my son isn’t napping. Let me back up and say when you are a mom, and you often work from home, and you need to nap yourself because your body is tired from growing another human… nap time is PRECIOUS. It’s everything. You hold on for dear life. So when my toddler climbed out of his crib for the first time the other day I thought to myself, “Oh no! Game changer. This is bad!” We were both so tired and we both shed lots of tears that day (and most days this week). I just lost control of 1:30-4:30 pm. In the big picture, it’s just nap time. But today? Today it doesn’t feel that way.
It’s 3:49 AM as I type this because I cannot sleep. I had this stressful dream that I was trying to keep a bat in the basement but it had other plans. The bat wanted to fly around catching creatures and I was determined to keep it contained downstairs. I woke up realizing Benaiah is the bat and he just does not want to stay in his crib. He wants to color and watch Daniel Tiger and organize his blocks. The connection in my dream was pretty obvious when I shut the basement door and the bat suddenly yelled, “I wanna snuggle mama!” Which is what Benaiah does when I try to put him down for a nap. He’s pretty smart for a 2 year old.. which is a big reason why I’m losing this game of “Are you smarter than a 2 year old?”
So I was trying to fall back asleep. Anxious. Irritated to lose even more sleep while he was peacefully lying in his crib storing up energy for our battle later this afternoon. And then Jesus.
ed80e7ca26e83058609ed391fce9c573
Jesus reminds me I don’t have to do it alone. When I’m drained he’s not surprised or disappointed that I can’t. He invites me to sit closer, He draws me closer. He says You can’t do it alone but you don’t have to. He offers me strength and rest.
At that point I started thinking about rice chex (I am pregnant after all). So when I can’t sleep I eventually get hungry and crave rice chex. I check my email over a bowl of cereal… Day 6 of 40 days of prayer and fasting for Cru staff (confession: I’m not fasting). I have a verse from Cru delivered to my inbox. I’ve read it 100 times before but tonight is different.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in hear
t, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” 
Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)
My heart races.
Rest for your souls.
Rest for my soul.
 
And the tears fall. Jesus knows that’s what I need and He allowed it to reach my inbox at just the right time. It’s not just that my body is tired. My soul needs rest and the Bible tells us exactly where to get it. Jesus is the answer. He understands. He offers. He waits. He loves. He invites.
 
We can’t pour into others without resting in Jesus first. You might not be wrestling a toddler (yet) but you probably have a different “bat” in your life. Is there an area where you feel like you can’t keep up? You’re striving. You’re tired. You’re over it. You can’t win this battle on your own. Rest in Jesus. Tell Him. Tell Him when you doubt He’s even real and you’re not sure He still sees you. Tell Him what’s going on and ask for rest for your soul. It will come.
Because you are fully seen and you are fully loved.

Praying in the Dark // Steph

I’m a multi-tasker by nature. I have several things on my to-do list floating through my head at any given moment. These days I try to multi-task while caring for (or chasing) a very busy almost-one-year-old boy which is major multi-tasking in itself. One thing I like about having a full calendar is it makes me feel more important. How’s that for honesty? Before moving to Norfolk I worked with Cru in D.C. where a friend told me if a person showed up on time to a meeting it showed that they weren’t as busy and therefore less important than people who arrived late. (I wish that was my reason for being late all the time).

I tend to pack in too many activities without thinking things through all the time. That is why it was such a shock one Saturday morning when I had a painful scratch on my cornea and the Dr. told me to “just sit in the dark for 8-10 hours and let it heal.” What!? I can’t remember the last time I sat still for 8-10 minutes let alone hours! Of course as a mom I needed a nap (I think when you’re a mom you just always need a nap) but that could only take up a couple of those long hours. So there I was in a dark room after a wonderful nap feeling rested probably for the first time since I had a baby last June. I couldn’t read or watch TV due to my scratched cornea so I just… rested. I was able to listen to the Bible on my phone and catch up on a sermon I missed at church. Then what happened next was pretty cool. My heart had room to worship and pray. It was so much better than feeling busy and important. When people and situations came to mind I would pray for them. It’s amazing how you stop worrying about someone when you turn the situation over to God.

I guess the point I’m getting at is being busy isn’t necessarily a bad thing in itself but some of us are “too busy” to pray and rest. I would encourage you to examine your life and ask yourself if you are too busy. Are there activities that can be cut out? People that have been left out? Who/what in life is most important to you? Does your calendar reflect that? Mine does not always and it’s OK to be a work in progress. God used my scratched cornea to show me the blessings of rest, prayer, & worship. My hope for you is that you learn it in a less painful way 🙂

“Prayer does not fit us for the greater work, prayer is the greater work.” -Oswald Chambers

 “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”  -Martin Luther

 “Until you are convinced that prayer is the best use of your time, you will not find time for prayer.” -Unknown