5 Things I Realized While Fasting Facebook

April 7, 2010

I don’t really come from a liturgical background, so to speak. So I wasn’t raised with traditions such as Lent and the Epiphany and the like. We just handled the big ones like Christmas and Easter and Thanksgiving.  You know, the good Christian holidays that still involve excessive eating!  But I’ve always been intrigued by the ancient traditions of the church and the symbolism that exists in what they do.  So I thought, why not participate in Lent?!  So starting on Ash Wednesday I gave up going on Facebook for 40 days to Easter, and this is what I realized:

1. There’s more than 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter.

This one took me a couple days to actually come across, but there’s actually more so that you are supposed to take Sundays as “feast days” and break your fast.  It’s a beautiful way of reminding yourself as you go along that Jesus is already raised from the dead and we have freedom and newness in Him already.  And no, it’s not cheating!

2. It takes a while to stop thinking in 3rd person and status format.

Jonathan Brooker found it hard for longer than he’d like to admit to stop thinking for that split second that “oh this would be a great facebook status.”  He had to detox from constantly thinking of what was “on his mind.”  But he’s ok now… at least we think so…

3. A change of pace helps you to see Who’s always running with you.

I’d be lying if I said that removing myself from the world of Facebook for 40 days was easy.  But I didn’t really expect it to be quite as difficult as it was.  The first week or two were pretty easy, but then it just got downright challenging and annoying.  But it showed me how much time I was letting Facebook consume in my daily life and how little I was spending in prayer.  I began to work on hearing from God more than hearing about everyone’s day and current feelings about _______.

4. We live in a generation of entitlement who finds sacrifice just… well… weird.

“You’re giving up Facebook for 40 days?!!?  I bet you can’t do it.”  The confidence people had in me was overwhelming.  What I began to realize, though, is that it was somewhat well-founded.  We are all about getting more, having more, doing more, and becoming more.  So for us to think of sacrificing something, anything, is somewhat absurd and foreign to us.  It makes me wonder what more we could become if we were willing to get less, have less, and do less.  And isn’t sacrifice what the whole Easter story is about anyway?

5. Friends aren’t counted, they’re experienced.

No matter how many “friends” I had or have on Facebook, I was able to spend more time and better time with some people who are truly friends.  You can have 1,000+ friends on Facebook and still be an incredibly lonely person.  And you can actually not have a Facebook (there are 5 of them in the world, I think) and have some of the deepest, most real friendships.