This year, I kicked off the New Year with a 21 day fast!
Haha okayyyy so be honest, I had never really fasted before. And before I started, I didn’t really understand what a fast even was…the whole idea used to seem a little too challenging and religious for me. But you know what..this year, my big prayer (and resolution) was to hear from God more often and more clearly. For me, in order to do that, I knew I needed to turn off some of the extra noise in my life. I needed to make room and make space for something new to happen. So, I decided to take a break from social media, and just see what happened.
What I experienced:
- I actually read the Bible. For the last 21 days, every single night before bed, CT and I have read the bible together. So far, we haven’t missed a night. For us, this is huge. For years, while we were dating, we had tried several Bible reading plans and books…but we were never quite able to stick to em’. This year, we set the goal of reading the whole Bible. Something, the two of us have never done before. This new little nightly habit has been such a game changer. Each night we talk over what we read, and chapter by chapter, we have laughed at some of the characters..been shocked or confused by some of the events…and ultimately, we’ve been inspired and encouraged by God’s faithfulness and the lessons he teaches us in each chapter.
- I had more time. It’s amazing how much time you spend mindlessly scrolling or keeping track of things going on in the Insta-world. This kind of time doesn’t make me feel more relaxed or fulfilled. It just kind of keeps me occupied for the moment, but always coming back wanting more. It’s weird. I don’t know if I’m alone in that…but yeah, it made me realize it takes up time that I could be just relaxing or doing something that actually makes me happy like watching Mad Men, or listening to a cool podcast, or just being more present with friends.
- I didn’t care what other people are doing. I’ll be honest…living states away from some of my best friends in the world…I feel pressure to feel as connected to their lives as possible. And sometimes the best way I can do that is by keeping tabs on them via social media. I care about what my friends and family are up to…but sometimes I get distracted by keeping up with strangers I’ve never even met…and that’s when comparison or jealousy can creep in to even the most confident person. After this fast, I genuinely stopped caring what other people were up to on the daily. Don’t get me wrong – I love hearing about people’s lives…but I rather call em’ up on the phone or meet up with them in person to hear about it. And if I don’t know every detail about everyone’s lives or somehow I miss a beat…it doesn’t mean I’m a bad friend. It simply means I’m human. And I’m living my life here and connecting with the ones around me. I don’t have to know everything and be virtually connected to everyone. I rather be 100% authentically real-deal connected with the people right around me or the ones that are just a phone call/Facetime away.
- My brain felt so much clearer. This one is a little bit trickier to describe…but now my brain just feels less cluttered. I’m not overwhelmed or distracted by checking in on Instagram. Instead, I can just go home, put my phone away and just simply be. It’s such a nice feeling. And I feel like I’m able to truly rest more and sleep better.
- I realized how valuable and precious life is. Time is so so very precious. It’s the greatest gift God’s given us. And I really don’t want to waste my life on anything that doesn’t have value. Sharing something on Instagram or Facebook isn’t bad at all. And I will continue to do it just so it can be my little digital photo album/space that stores fun memories made, special moments, ect. However, I will not revolve my life or reduce my life to making my tiny little squares look perfect, matchy & aesthetically on-point…that just doesn’t matter and isn’t worth the sweat. My value is not in Instagram. And my life will never be able to be accurately depicted via tiny little squares. It just won’t. Nor would I ever want to reduce my life to trying to just look good on Instagram. That to me would be straight up sad..haha. I don’t know if I’m making any sense…but Instagram is just a small tiny itty bitty part of life. Do not make it bigger than it really is. Haha I’ve been so guilty of that at times…and now I laugh just thinking about what God would’ve said to me about how I spent all that time focusing on that. It’s kinda ridiculous, but it’s something that I feel like is super real in our culture right now. The “do it from the gram” mentality is kinda real for some people..But for me, I kind of gained a fresh new perspective on it. Now, I just kinda think of Instagram as a joke. It’s just for kicks and for sharing stuff. That’s it. Nothing more. Sometimes it’s good just to take a step back and look at things from a 30,000 foot view. As if you were seeing things from God’s perspective and watching your life from above. I wouldn’t wanna look back at my life and be like…what the heck I had my head down and on my phone for wayyyyy too much of my life…and the worst part is…I didn’t even realize I was doing that. Life is way too precious of a gift for us to accidentally waste our time. I think of some people who are spending their last days on hospital bed just praying and wishing for one thing: time. More time with their friends. More time with their family. More time for one last adventure. I don’t ever want to forget that.
- I will use Instagram much differently now. Now that the fast is complete…I honestly don’t want it to be over. And you know what..it doesn’t have to be. I’m gonna keep the habits I’ve learned going now. I’m not really gonna scroll through Instagram anymore. I’m going to post a picture if I want to, but then I’m gonna put my phone down and not care about what the heck happens after that. I’m gonna check on my best friends and get sneak peaks at their lives and their engagements and their babies…but then I’m gonna set my phone down and not get sucked in. I’ll use it here and there, but I’ll no longer feel the need to post or to check it, as if it were some duty or obligation.
- I am really hearing God speak more often and more clearly. And I know why…I finally am taking a little bit of time to listen. And I’ll tell you guys what. Trading in Instagram for a closer and more authentic relationship with God is LITERALLY the most no-brainer and life-giving trade ever. I know some people can totally pull off both, and if that’s you, more power to yaaaaa, but for me…I had to make space. I had to let something go…I had to replace something for another thing. I had to trade up and trade in. God took my time spent on social media and one-upped me for something much bigger and better. And my heart feels so full. And my mind feels so clear.
Hahaha! Okay! Ramble ovaaaaaa. If you want to try out a 21 fast, here is the book that helped me get started!