I went on a bit of a sabbatical – a personal break from social media. I was feeling slightly overwhelmed with all the noise and in the past, when this occurred, I felt the need to fly away completely, which led to my deleting accounts and ultimately shutting off the service to my phone completely. This time, I decided to lean into the need for rest and inner quiet. Instead of running away from it all, I decided to do like most normal people do and simply log out and just take a little break.
It all started when I felt nudged by God to fast. You see, my husband and I have a lot going on and a lot coming into our lives right now – good things, but still. I felt like I couldn’t hear God through it all and while I continue I pray for guidance and I continue to hold to the idea that I will follow Him wherever He wants me to go, I felt like I couldn’t hear Him at all. All I kept feeling was the need to fast & pray.
So one day, I decided I’d fast and I don’t know about you, but food was my first thought. Okay, God, I’ll fast. So that day I didn’t eat and I prayed and I meditated and all the while I swear, I could feel the Holy Spirit saying, “No, girl. You missed the mark. This is not what you need.” I ended the day feeling like I had failed.
The next morning, the urge hit again and it dawned on me that I needed to fast from the thing that takes up more time in my day – social media. It’s the thing I turn to when I’m resting, when I want connection, when I want to share something from my day. I tried to keep it positive and even began sharing part of my daily gratitude practice there and started a Bible Chat group & all of that felt great, but the fact was, I spent too much time there & God was trying to speak to me and I was too busy with all the other connections that I couldn’t hear a thing he was trying to tell me: Cleave to me.
It wasn’t easy. For some reason, I feel obligated to post on social media. I have some strange sense that I’ll hurt feelings if I’m not interacting with others online each day. I don’t know exactly where this comes from, but it’s how I feel. With the Covid-19 stuff happening, I feel like the need for online connection increase for myself and others as well. Yet I felt like God wanted my attention. He didn’t want to share it with my social media pals. So, I let some of my folks know what I was doing and let them know I’d be back, and then I turned off push notifications, logged out, and deleted my apps.
I only took a four day break, but I think the difference in this break and a normal break from social media was my focus. I truly wanted to focus more on God and trying to live in a state of meditation and prayer. The interesting thing about it was during those four days, I heard and to be quite honest felt nothing. As I made bread and worked in my garden, and read my Bible, and listened to worship music, and did all the things, I felt more alone than I have in a very long time. Confused, I prayed even harder. I thought about Jesus in the wilderness for forty days and how after that – all that time and suffering, Satan tempted him. What a total jerk Satan is. I also thought about Job and how as he was suffering, He constantly talked to God, but felt like he had been forsaken by the Lord.
Yet he continued to pray and he continued to hold to his faith.
While I thought of these two situations in the Bible, I also criticized myself for comparing my loneliness and what felt to be distance from God with true, actual suffering of Jesus and Job. I know that what I experienced was not even in the realm of all that, but loneliness has a way of seeping into our lives, doesn’t it? It’s a very real human condition and it’s a powerful one. During my four days, I kept having terrible thoughts: God hasn’t really been talking to you. You’re not special. You’re just delusional. This is just another of your stupid obsessions and nothing more. Give yourself another month and you’ll move on to the next obsession.
If that doesn’t sound like Satan talk, I don’t know what does. Many times during my four days, I said to my negativity, “Get away from me, Satan. You have no power here. He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world.” It sounds cheesy, I know. I honestly don’t even know if I believe in Satan as a red dude with a pitchfork and fire and brimstone, but I do know the very real power of our thoughts. By saying that, I held those thoughts captive and I gave power back to God. I think that was the point.
Well, today, I ended my fast from social media and I read Proverbs 17 and it is all about how God tests hearts. I also looked back on the other verses I was given to read during that time, many from Romans that discuss tribulations and how our tribulations teach us patience and hope.
Romans Chapter 5: 3-8
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worth patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. God commander his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, christ died fro us.
Is that not beautiful? It dawned on me that God was testing me and while I had times when I felt alone and cried out to God, “What am I doing wrong?! Why are you not here with me?!” God was there and in His way, he was testing my heart to see if I’d stick with Him. I’m happy that I did stick with him.
And afterward, He shined a light on all that He was trying to tell me during those four days. From here, I have decided that once a week, I’m going to have a social media free day to really focus on Him, because my spirit needs it. Also, it was nice to get quiet and spend those days in constant active prayer and meditation.
God is good.
God keeps his promises.
God is always with us.