For Lent I decided to give up something that I knew was taking up more space on my priorities list than it should be: I decided I would fast from Instagram.
I know this might sound kinda superficial and a pretty go-to when it comes to thinking of stuff to “give up”, but I could see the effects it was having on my habits, my perspective, and the way I was thinking and feeling about myself and my life. Isn’t it so hard to find that happy balance? I know Instagram or social medias for that matter, are not harmful in themselves but it was so easy for me to go down the slippery slope of letting it becoming consuming, and propping it up as a mini-idol in my life. I knew there had to be an intervention somehow.
It was surprisingly not as difficult as I thought it would be, considering that most if not all of my previous lenten endeavors had been major flops (I credit this to grace !!). I would be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to be able to re-download the app to my phone, but I am hoping and praying that this fast was not unfruitful and that I can grow personally from all that Lent taught me.
Here are 10 things that happened when I began to fast from Instagram:
- MORE TIME– Lol. This one might be a doozy, but honestly, I was surprised at how much time I had been wasting. My mornings were not as rushed because I wasn’t spending the first 30 mins in bed and then jumping out to scarf down a protein shake and run out the door.
- FOMO reduction – Ahhh, FOMO. Fear Of Missing Out. The dreaded epidemic of the 21st century. I did not realize how deep my FOMO ran. But slowly I began to realize that what was going to be meant for me, would be meant for me. I would have the experiences that I would have, and that it was going to be okay. My life’s fullness was not going to depend on the experiences that others were having, and that if they really wanted to share those with me, they would find a way to do that.
- Freedom – this might be the biggest blessing and takeaway. I was just given so much freedom through this fast. Freedom to enjoy every part of my day more fully. Freedom to be present. Freedom to begin to kick the habit of mindless scrolling. Freedom to be present to my surroundings.
- Boundaries – Although I wasn’t using Instagram, I would see my friends and family using it. Just by watching their own newsfeed, I was able to gain a fresh perspective on how I needed to more prudent on what I was going to decide to share once I did pick insta back up again. I just saw so many posts that made me think, “What kind of attention are you trying to attract by posting this?”
- Broken – The more I reflected, the more I realized how many people are pouring out their desires to be known, loved, and cared for on Instagram. Including myself. I was directing my desires to be wanted and projecting them in forms of stories and pictures. The more I grew in awareness of this, the more I was able to bring that desire to prayer and to my Father, to let Him tell me again and again how precious and loved I am in His sight. It was such an affirmation of my daughterhood and although I know that I have to choose to live in that identity every single day, I was brought into a profound awareness of it.
- Spirituality low– not everything was positive; I actually noticed my spirituality tanking a bit. I started to read less faith-based books and Scripture because I didn’t have that “accountability” or desire to feel that I wanted others to see what was giving light to my life. It was actually a good reality check that made me realize that faith has to be owned and lived personally, and that it is not fruitful unless it first bears in change in my own heart.
- Connections – I found myself so deeply invested in other peoples lives; people who would never know who I was — celebrities, strangers, etc instead of paying attention to the people right in front of me. I wasn’t eager to know how they were, what was really going on in their lives, or how their hearts were doing. I didn’t feel that I had to put forth the effort to really connect with people in my own life since I could fall back on the notion that I was “keeping up with them” because I saw their posts. Never did I bother to call or text them, or even ask to hangout in person with them because I felt that I already knew what I needed to know about em’. I had to be a loooot more intentional, which was a good challenge for me.
- Lonely? – cutting insta out definitely made me feel a lot more lonely in my daily life. It forced me to examine where I was finding my sense of worth, and to bring to mind the reality that I am still chosen, regardless of how many notifications I have on my phone. Identity is so easy to misplace.
- Removing The Mask – I didn’t have to worry about, “keeping up an image” or structuring my life to look a certain way, or to feel that I had to act or talk a certain way. The silence this period provided helped me to keep discovering what my personal mission statement is, how I want to live and lead my life, and who I am at my core.
- Test of Virtue – This fast helped me to discover and exercise the virtues of temperance and self-control (and I quickly realized I had them in veryyyyy little quantities AKA none at all.) These concepts are completely countercultural. We live in a world of instant gratification that does not value dying to self, and it is a lesson that I am still learning.
Striving, not perfect, because perfect does not exist.
All in all, I am hoping to come back with a fresh approach to navigating and managing life in the era of social media craze; to learn how to use Instagram in a way that brings life and meaning to my own life, but to never let it become a substitute for the real thing.
Happy Almost Easter!