Lessons Learned from a Facebook Fast

The Facebook logo is pictured at the Facebook headquarters in Menlo ParkAre you addicted for Facebook? Near the end of 2014 there were 1.3 billion Facebook users. That is 20% of the world that is on Facebook. Facebook users spend an average of 21 minutes on Facebook each day. I think most people know what that 21 minutes looks like. It is the teenager who is always on the smartphone. I am 51. I love Facebook for many reasons. Yet I have been on a three week Facebook fast. I choose to fast and pray in March. Facebook was my primary fast. First Ruidoso is fasting and praying for revival in our country and renewal in the Church. I will get back on Facebook this Saturday. So I thought I would share a few lessons learned from a Facebook fast.
What I missed while on a Facebook fast?

Connecting with family and friends.

I love Facebook for a few reasons. Most is the way I am able to keep up with people all over the world. If I saw them a week after being on Facebook, I would be able to talk like we still lived in the same community. I keep up with my sister, my aunt, my cousins, my friends. I celebrate with successes. I pray with people on their challenges. I engage in conversation. I missed relating online.

Having immediate access to information.

I am an information junkie. I love the news. I remember reading about Michael Jackson’s death live on Twitter. News breaks first online, not on TV. I prefer getting updated in the world on Twitter (or Facebook). Of course I follow many Christian and church leaders and organizations. I get access to great information through them. Love it. I have missed having this at my fingertips. Yes I was online, but it is not the same as having a hastag of information as the click of a link.

Communicating things in my life.

I like to take pictures and share them online. I live in a beautiful place. I am also a pastor/theologian. I am opinionated. Sometimes too opinionated. Yet I like contributing to the world. I like to drive discussion. I sometimes say the radical thing. I also get to share the normal things of my life, family and church. I missed that while on this Facebook fast.

What I did not miss while on a Facebook fast?

The cluttered mind. Facebook communicates too much. Just keeping up with the news feeder is insane. While we get a lot of information, that is not always good. The past few weeks have been a blessing to clear the mind. I have enjoyed not having my mind full of everything. I have thought more clearly. Prayed more frequently. Read more specifically.

The drama of life. My last interaction on Facebook a few weeks ago was horrible. It was one where the response was political and racial in content. It basically sent the message to me that it is acceptable to sacrifice racial unity for present political expediency and success. When I read that, I joined my wife on a Facebook fast. I did not miss the drama of life that comes from the, sometimes sewer of online community called Facebook. Sometimes things are posted that are just sick or sad. We all put up with it, but I did not miss it.

The incessant checking. People check their smart phones a lot. While stats show we are on Facebook 21 minutes a day, we look like we are online all the time. I did not miss the constant need to see what the world was doing. The world was fine without my input. God is able to be God without my status updates.

Next Steps

I want to stay off but won’t. I plan to get back on Facebook Saturday night. Yet I do plan to not check it as much. I have much more to do. I need the thinking margin. The clarity that I lose in the 21 minutes broken up into awkward times in my day is worth keeping.

I am going to schedule my life a little more intentionally. Social media is a great place to communicate. One person said, “failing to enter social media is similar to not going on the mission field of the lost.” I do not know who said it. Maybe it was me. Facebook is where 1.3 billion people live in some way. It’s a mission field.

I woke up today with a few things on my mind. Some things that have been on the plate for years. I believe God gave me assurance and confidence to move forward on a couple of key things. I got a lot done this morning at 4:30 am. The verse that drove my planning on one page of my journal, that brought me to the point of making crucial decisions, is Proverbs 16:3.

“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”

For your thinking: What is your own journey with Facebook? Do you need a fast from it? Maybe you could take a break for a day or three. Start on Easter evening. Just an idea. Is the clutter keeping you from clarity?