In this Lent Devotional for Women, I want to share something I read that I just haven’t been able to shake. I don’t know the exact wording, where I read it or how exactly it was presented but it was something about being a consumer verse a producer. And when I read I thought to myself, “I need to get off social media for a while.”
Let’s talk about fasting in this Lenten devotional. My explanation might need a road sign that warns, “Curves Ahead.” In this devotional, I will be using two quotes I found, one on Christian fasting from food and the other describing the differences between producers and consumers. Hold on.
“Fasting is a temporary renunciation of something that is in itself good, like food, in order to intensify our expression of need for something greater; namely, God and his work in our lives.” John Piper
“Producers are organisms that make their own food; they get energy from chemicals or the sun, and with the help of water, convert that energy into usable energy in the form of sugar, or food. The most common example of a producer is plants. Producers make their own food, while consumers obtain their food from eating other organisms.”
Fasting is a temporary renunciation of something that is in itself good.
Facebook can be, in and of itself a good. Think of the good, true and beautiful pictures, articles linked to, microblogs, friendships forged, and families interacting. I would not have met some of my online friends, my blog mentors, and my Mastermind Group if it were not for Facebook. I would have missed out on reading some heart-warming stories, life-affirming articles, and well-written essays meant to educate, encourage, and inform.
That being said, I have had to block “friends”, seen people turn on each other at the drop of a dime, misunderstandings get blown way out of proportion and cause irreparable damage. I’ve clicked one too many links and read things I had no business reading, lost my peace, scared myself silly, become even more curious, and have stories and pictures in my mind I cannot get rid of.
Fasting to intensify my need for something greater.
But fasting from Facebook, like food, can intensify our expression of need for something greater, namely God, and His work in our lives. So down to its simplest form, I want more God. I want to spend more time with Him, I want to be more aware of Him, and I want to notice His work in my life more.
Facebook distracts me from what I want. Facebook distracts me from God. While I’m busy looking at God or the lack of God in other’s lives scrolling through Facebook, I become unaware and even numb to the way He moves in and through my own life.
Producers make their own food (nourishment).
After a while, Facebook can become a crutch. If I need something to read, I scroll Facebook. If I need an uplifting story, I scroll Facebook. I search for pictures of people reading their Bibles, marking their Bibles, sharing their Bible study and the Scriptures that have spoken to them and encouraged them…while my Bible sits unopened in the other room.
I’m tired of hunting for my nourishment, I want to produce my own, in a sense. I’m not talking about taking the place of God by producing my own “God.” I want to take what I have–given by God–and convert it into a usable energy.
Facebook doesn’t nourish me enough or give me usable energy. Facebook actually tends to drain me. You too? Especially now? Especially in the last year? Especially in election years? Especially…Especially…
This is the text I sent my older daughter explaining my reasons for fasting from social media, “I read something recently about being a consumer rather than a producer. I consume lots of junk on FB. Sure, some things are Philippians 4:8 worthy: true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy. But lots of things are just junk. They’re like sugar, you know. Seem fine, can sustain (with info and connections) but really just dull your senses and taste for the good, healthy, true, and beautiful.”
I recently shared on Instagram (I know, ironic right? About one of my sons’ and his pure heart and sense of the good, true, and beautiful.
View this post on Instagram
This guy has such a pure sense of goodness, truth, and beauty. He’s had a bumpy last couple of weeks. There have been images and conversations that have bothered him and he hasn’t been afraid to say, “That’s scary looking…I don’t like those pictures…There’s something weird about that…That bothered something inside in me.” And although some of it didn’t appear to be bothersome to anyone else, or it wasn’t something I thought was too bad, I paid close attention to his perception in those instances. We are all born with an innate sense of the good, true, and beautiful. It’s only when we dull our senses, over-ride our “knower”, or are too afraid to stand up for the image and likeness of God in all of us, that the bothersome becomes the acceptable. I pray he always stays true to the truth, beauty, and goodness of God.
You’ve read about people going through withdrawal symptoms when they step away from Facebook or other social media. I think it’s because they’re hungry, they’re malnourished, they’re lethargic, and aren’t sure how to get back on their own feet, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Stepping away from social media suddenly turns into the hand that was feeding them being removed; they don’t know how to feed themselves. They are at a loss on how to find or create their own nourishment. They behaved like a starved person.
I was late to the Facebook game and opened an account strictly for The Littlest Way. If we’re talking in a strictly business sense, Facebook doesn’t drive that much traffic here. There isn’t more interaction on Facebook beyond a like or a share and really, that’s not what The Littlest Way is meant to be. Plus I much prefer Instagram.
The Littlest Way is meant to be a community, a way of life, and a holy ordinary place set apart from the rest of the noise. Facebook, eh…not so much.
Ok, we’re now just a little over the halfway point in Lent and are still a few weeks out from Easter. Maybe now is the time to make some adjustments in your Lenten plan?
Our goal from the beginning has been to love more and bigger. Today is a good time to ask ourselves, “What is keeping me from loving more and bigger?”
Let’s get rid of it, at least until Easter. Wink, Wink. By then it should be a habit and hopefully gone for good. But let’s focus on “Just for today.”
Sometimes it’s easier to “fast” from something than to give it up altogether. Give it a try as we head into the Third Sunday of Lent.