When I made my grand entrance back to Facebook the day after Ash Wednesday, it was not so grand as I had expected.
Only six notifications required my attention.
I found all my friends very much alive and well.
Wow, the world managed to do without me for forty-days. How ever did they do it? The painful truth of the matter is that the world adjusted to my absence. To my surprise, this didn’t injure my feelings.
It was quite freeing to spend days unplugged. I didn’t realize how badly I needed to take a break until I actually took one. Of course, I hardly wanted to admit that to anyone. The bad habit is a tad embarrassing to share about.
I realized within the first few days of my fast that my life was so wrapped around everybody else’s life that I began to neglect my own. I didn’t attempt to grow in my relationship with God. I became easily frustrated and constantly felt I never measured up. I began to compare and contrast my life to others. I found it difficult to achieve the happiness I so desired when I was convinced that somehow, I was missing out. I could not obtain the key to happiness. There is no key.
But this was not the case. I looked at a very small part of my friend’s stories.
The one word that is absolutely detrimental to anyone’s vocabulary is everyone. Everyone has a boyfriend, everyone is going on vacation. I’m convinced this single word is the source of so much of our ungratefulness. I’m sure there are others, but this one for sure is one to be wary of.
The biggest problem with Facebook is that users are able to choose what they post. A little bit of this, a little bit of that. It’s the perfect place to paint an unrealistic picture of an unrealistic life. Not too many people choose to post about the crappy parts.
One goal that I have created over the course of time is to break down that facade. I desire people to know the truth about me: my life is a beautiful mess. I’ve learned a lot through my messy life and as hard as it is at times, I wouldn’t want my life perfect.
More often than not we must fail before we succeed. And when we do succeed, it’s not always in the way we originally expected.
During my fast, I felt this sense of peace and joy that I had not experienced in a long time. A very long time. I believe it’s natural to feel somewhat obligated or inclined to stay in touch. We want to converse. We’re humans. It’s in our nature. It doesn’t matter how introverted or shy or “socially awkward” you are. At the same time-whether we are aware- we have an inward desire for a life which is more fulfilling. We chase after many different people, material objects and wander various trails to accomplish this feat. It is my understanding that very few people find what they *think* they are looking for.
Upon my return to Facebook, I realized several things almost immediately:
1) I didn’t miss Facebook, I missed my friends. Maybe this is unfair, but I didn’t tell anyone right away that I was fasting from Facebook for Lent. Nonetheless, I suppose one or two texts asking whether or not I’m alive.
2) Facebook brings to my attention insecurities I thought I had identified and taken care of.
3) Social media is good in moderation.
4) I need to spend more time on my real, tangible friendships.
Before I let you go…
Did you give up something for Lent? What did you fast from? Did you learn any lessons during your experience? Leave a comment if you are comfortable sharing!