When I was in 7th grade, my entire church went on a fast. I was only thirteen, but I decided to take on the challenge. I’m going to be totally honest, I didn’t go into the fast in the right frame of mind. I didn’t go into it to grow closer to God and become a stronger Christian. I was a chubby middle-schooler! I went into it to lose some weight.
By 5 p.m., with only a carton of orange juice in my belly, I crashed. I was not the type to nap but that’s what I was doing when my mom got home from work. I was weak, shaky, and just totally out of it. My mom talked to me about it and mentioned giving something else up. I ended up giving up on the fast but it’s never been very far from my mind.
Media fasting is an idea that I heard about probably a year or so ago. I don’t remember where I first heard about it but it really appealed to me. I am so attached to technology. I check Twitter multiple times an hour. I love the blogging community so much that I feel an express need to catch up on blogs daily. And writing blogs is something that brings me so much joy and happiness. I love TV. While I don’t watch too many hours of TV a day, I still have a lot of shows I do watch. (And love.) And, honestly, who could deny loving Facebook drama? My attention is pulled in so many different directions. My focus shifts constantly. It cuts into my quiet time with God, my prayer life, and quality time with family.
I’ve been feeling so stagnant and dull in my life lately. While I’m taking on challenges, achieving some great things, and being totally honest with my feelings, I still feel like I’m not doing enough with my life. I feel like I could do so much more, but I’m so scared to take a leap of faith and do it.
So I took a week off from the media world. It wasn’t a true media fast since I still did watch TV (although no more than I usually did) and did spend some time on the computer. I stayed away from all social media and blogging. When I was on the computer, it was mostly for school.
At first, it was weird. When I woke up on Monday morning, I immediately reached for my phone to check what happened on Twitter while I was sleeping. And then I remembered. Media fast, media fast, media fast. And honestly, being off Twitter/Facebook/blogs/etc. wasn’t as awful as I first thought. I missed it at certain times but not as much as I thought it would. I felt so much more focused. There was a certain peace that came from being away from it all. I didn’t feel a need to check Twitter just in case I missed something important. I didn’t care what drama was going down on Facebook. And while I began to severely miss my blogging friends and reading about your lives, it felt good not to have a need to read every single word you wrote and analyzing whatever lame comment I happened to leave.
During my fast, I finally established some quiet time with God. I sat down and wrote out a five-year plan, as well as smaller yearly goals to accomplish. I figured out our finances and why we still seem to be struggling, even after downsizing. I worked out a lot. I napped a lot. I was calm, peaceful, and happy. (But not so happy that I didn’t miss YOU guys!)
I loved doing this. I loved it so much that I want to start doing monthly weekend fasts. And I want these to be true fasts where I completely step away from the Internet and TV. I want to use the time to be engrossed in the Word, praying, and strengthening my relationship with God.
Even if you don’t have the same goals as me, I still encourage taking a break from the Internet, even if it’s just for a few hours or a day. Just to get away from it all and refocus your attention. It doesn’t have to be about faith. In the end, this fast was good for me as an individual. I really feel like it brought me from stagnation to hope. I have goals for the future. I have plans on how to achieve those goals. (And I also have a hot new ‘do that’s getting some rave reviews!)