Social Media Fasting and 5 Ways to ‘Unplug’

Social Media

One day a week, the earth manages to keep revolving right along on its axis without me.

It’s a blow to my pride, perhaps, but surely that’s the point.

I began a once-weekly social media fast a little over a year ago. The constant connection, constant pull, constant noise, constant interaction of this always-online world was crushing my introverted writer’s heart.

So, once a week I shut it down and shut it out. It’s a way of fasting, going without so I can re-focus on God.  I have the time then to be still and rest in His presence, time to enjoy family and beauty.

And, I miss out on a crisis or two of Facebook drama.

But the world goes on.

I’m reminded that:

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:2-4 ESV).

He may have been talking to Israel about golden calves and bronzed images, but I know this means electronic gods, too.

This world has become so noisy and information-heavy.  How would we even know if God is speaking to us?  We’re far too busy and surrounded by noise to notice.

John Piper said, “One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that our lack of prayer was not from lack of time.”  He called social media the acceptable addiction of our modern society.

Facebook?  Twitter?  The Internet in general?  Texting?  We shrug these addictions off as simply the way of things in this modern world.

So I rebel against modern convention.

I unplug and walk away and let the world keep going right along without my heavy-handed involvement.

This month, I choose to be more purposeful about this social media fasting.  In my 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, I choose in March to ‘unplug.’

I’ll continue my social media fasting and intentionally fill that space with Him.  I will linger in His Word, enjoy His creation, rest with my family, read a good book, bake some bread, knit a scarf, play a game with my kids.

I will unplug from the noise and plug in to the essentials and what really matters.

On the warm days, I’ll pack my baby into the stroller and stride down the Main Street of our town.  Without a smart phone or texting plan, I will revel in the quiet.  I will think, pray and notice the beauty of the clouds, the flowers, the trees all over again.

Maybe this month you can join me in choosing to unplug at least one day a week? Here are some possibilities:

  1. Social media fast:  One day a week (or more), leave Facebook and Twitter and the world of social media alone.  Replace that time with something soul-filling.  Walk, pray, read, rest, play, build relationships face-to-face.
  2. Bible Before Computer: Put your Bible over your computer keyboard at night so that in the morning, you are reminded to read the Bible first before getting online.  You’ll be much more successful at this if you have to physically remove your Bible before typing on the computer!
  3. Put the Phone Down: Choose times to give the smart phone or texting a rest.  Maybe: No texting during meals.  No smart phone during Bible studies, in church or during your quiet time.  Set a goal and then stick to it.  People can wait an hour for you to text them back.
  4. Set a Timer: The Internet has a way of sucking us in and taking far more of our time than we intend (or maybe admit!).  Try setting a timer for how long you want to be online.  When the timer dings, you know to stop.
  5. Take a day off of television: Turn off the TV.  Choose a worship CD or Pandora radio station with worship music and enjoy some alone time or family time without the television.

Perhaps you’ll be surprised at how hard this really is and that’s a good discovery.  It means you’re rooting out that addiction and that idolatry and that’s painful.  It burns deep to deny our flesh.

But we’ll be drinking deep of what truly satisfies, the Living Water that our parched souls are panting after, instead of trying to quench our spirit thirst with brine.

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.
Psalm 63:1 NIV

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.
Psalm 42:1 NIV

To read more about this 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, you can follow the links below!  Won’t you join me this month as I ‘Unplug’?

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King