So…. I did that thing!
Just over 21 days fasting from social media and it really wasn’t that painful after all. In fact, it turns out to have been the best thing I’ve done for myself in a long while. I needed it. Another truth is that it turns out that I missed fasting! Anyone who knows me knows that January 1 is my favorite holiday. There’s something about the newness of a season… breaking out a new calendar… setting new goals for the year. All of that is awesome to me! Even better when you bring the year in with a fast.
(It’s a bonus when you can fast with your faith family, family or even the person you care about the most.)
Why did I do this? and what did I learn?
Well, first, I really wanted to get my mind and spirit focused to really and truly making this year the best I’ve had in a long time. I love the catchphrases and clever motivational quips. I do. What I love more is making ACTUAL progress towards my most important goals! Frankly, I felt like I was drifting towards the end of last year. I had gone for some big objectives and failed to accomplish a few of them. Honestly I was feeling a little down and off-track. I needed to get with God, center myself and get my focus together. I had to. I had no choice. I am not willing to let go of my dreams because discipline is hard.
So, anyway…. I decided I would push away from most foods, alcohol, coffee and social media for most of 21 days. For the last several days, I went liquids only. On the social media part, I didn’t allow any logging in, checking in or posting to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or even Pinterest (since those are the sites I actually use). All along the way, I dedicated myself to prayer and devotion and study. It’s not just about pushing away from food but refreshing and restoring your spirit and soul. I was fortunate that my girlfriend, Lauri, jumped in with me with both feet. While it was difficult (coffee was the hardest), her support and participation made it easier for sure. I’m grateful for it.
What did I learn?
- I can control what goes into my mouth. I really can. I tell my body what to do… my body doesn’t control me! Of course, I lost some weight but I’m most proud of the fact that I kept losing AFTER the fast because my willpower had been strengthened. I’m still powering forward taking control of my health in an important way. I’m glad for this time of fasting to strengthen my soul and resolve.
- I can and must control what comes into my spirit. I need a lot less negativity, bad news, political commentary and general griping in my life anyway! Backing away from social media makes it clear how much most of it is harmful to your mood and just overall discouraging. I used to think I was paying attention to a few sites to “keep up with the culture” or something like that. It turns out I didn’t need almost any of it. Nothing happened that I needed to know and if anything really major had happened, EVERYONE would have told me anyway.
- I have a lot more time in my life than I thought I did. There’s really no reason I can’t accomplish just about anything I set my mind to. How much time do you and I spend just randomly scrolling? Hint: more than you think! According to Time.com, “those between the ages of 18 and 24 look at their phones most often, with an average of 74 checks per day. Americans in the 25-34 age bracket look at their devices 50 times per day, and those between 35 and 44 do so 35 times each day.” Wondering where you’re going to find the time to read more, write or spend time with your loved ones? There’s a ton of it right there!
- I needed the sleep. Most everyone knows that most electronic screens give off blue light, which can trick the body into thinking it is midday when, in reality, it is evening and, thereby, interrupt your sleeping patterns. Basically, exposure to blue light causes the body to produce less melatonin – a hormone you need to sleep deeply. I slept like a baby during my fast and, man, did I need it! I came out of it feeling less stress in my body and more clarity in my mind.
- My spiritual ear became sharper as I spent more time on my knees. I’ll confess there was a time I felt more confident in my ability to hear the Holy Spirit than I have been lately. My ears had grown dull. Spending time both in the Word and in purposeful and planned prayer is exactly what I needed in my life.
Here’s the thing: I think everyone should try it even if only for a day or a week. Lauri and I have both agreed that we need to bring this spiritual discipline back into our walks periodically. There was nothing but good for us and I know the Lord will honor our prayers (and yours) as His people approach Him.
A bonus? More courage. It’s amazing how building your muscles in one area makes you stronger in others. I had more resolve to make tough decisions and follow through on them like I’ve not in a while.
Another bonus? Going through this season together is something Lauri and I will always remember.
Mark Anthony McCray helps you live God’s best and blessed life for YOU! Forward this to a friend if you found it helpful. All material © Copyright, Mark Anthony McCray unless otherwise noted!
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