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Three Christians share what happened when they gave up Facebook, Twitter and other social media for forty days in the run up to Easter
Dave Winter @WinterDave2
Okay, so I like to tweet… and post on Facebook, as well as put my photos on Instagram. Although I wouldn’t go as far as saying I’m an addict, I do pick up my phone a lot and find myself distracted throughout the day, checking to see what ‘people’ are saying. So when Lent came up, why wouldn’t I choose to leave social media behind? It would be far harder than chocolate for sure.
Once the habitual routine of reaching for my phone every 10 minutes had been broken (took about three days I reckon) I found the whole experience a very positive one. Not only did I have more time for conversation with people, including my wife, it also was noticed by my children, notably Harrison (5) who told me that I was “listening more with my eyes now”.
I also had to explain to my new workplace, which I joined in the new year, that I was unable to post work updates and adverts. It allowed the door to be opened to explain Lent, the importance of my faith and even say the ‘J’ word. Something they were happy to support me in.
40 days later, I have found myself back in the cyber world. But it’s definitely at a reduced capacity and I am more mindful of the time I spend on there.
Thinking of giving social media up next Lent? I’d recommend it to all of you. Sometimes you’ve got to move your eyes up from your phone screen to the horizon, as much as we look towards the skies, in order to experience the Lords presence in your life.
Steph Corris @Corris1991
I gave up social media for lent because I realised I was addicted to it, even that scroll first thing in the morning just turned into routine and not a healthy one. God prompted me to be more present in the moment and to stop comparing my life to social media feeds I was seeing so many times a day. I use social media for my youth ministry so those separate accounts stayed active.
Social media was good to me but not FOR me, I wanted to focus on my main man, Jesus. It was really difficult; I struggled, I resorted to a lot of Pinterest which I hadn't banned myself from, and although I had good intentions, those little pockets of time were not used for prayer or growing my relationship with God.
I did learn that I can live without social media and I don't have to post three times a day. I don't have to scroll for the sake of scrolling and I don't have to compare myself to those lives I see on social media daily. I am happy to be back on social media, but I know that I need to make sure it is not controlling me.
It didn't go exactly to plan but I learnt a lot and I became better at directly messaging individuals to find out what's going on in their lives, finding out both the good and the bad and being able to pray and encourage more specifically, in contrast to only seeing the 'highlights reel' that social media tends to show.
Victoria Tatton @Tatts2007
A few times a year I saw something that annoyed, angered or saddened me on Facebook and I deactivated my account for a few days, sometimes months. This Lent it was a conscious decision to give it up, take stock and evaluate precisely what Facebook brought to my life.
It turns out that, for me, it gave very little and took away far too much. I lost one of life’s most precious commodities to Facebook – time. Whilst always saying I didn’t have enough, I could always squeeze in an extra 20 minutes for Facebook to see what someone (who I hadn’t spoken to for months) had for lunch.
God showed me that I needed to prioritise and give my time to real, meaningful and encouraging conversation with the people actually present in my life. To look up from a screen and see what was happening around me. So Victoria and Facebook are no longer friends and there is a real sense of liberation about that.
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