For the past month and a half or so I’ve been breaking in a new habit and discipline that I am working on developing within our Students: Monday Media Fast. Yesterday was the first day the students were supposed to join in and I am hopeful that they endeavored to accomplish the task with zeal and honesty befitting a Christian.
I thought I would explain the media fast and then just jot down a few thoughts that have moved in me this week
The rules and process to the media fast are simple.
First, we want to make this a life habit so we are going to start small and build. The first two weeks we will just fast from all forms of social media. The third week we will add texting and TV. The fifth week we will cut out all entertainment. This includes music, web-surfing, videos of any kind, and any form of media that invades our intellectual space.
Second: media is anything that vies for our attention in the form of electronic input.
Third: whenever tempted to pick up an electronic gadget, replace it with prayer or scripture reading.
Fourth: when we reach the step of no texting, there are exceptions to the fast. For instance: if your parents text you, you need to text them back. But if a friend texts you, you don’t.
Fifth: the goal of this fast is to replace our dependence on media and our engagement of media with an engagement and dependence on the LORD.
Things I’ve been privileged to see or hear because of and about this fast.
- Yesterday I sat on a bench and noticed the sounds all around me. A dry leaf blown along the concrete, a cat’s meow, the slow soft sound of the breeze through trees, the sound of tires on the pavement as the cars drove slowly by. But this is not the only thing I can hear better. I can genuinely say I hear my Lord with more clarity. I can sit and rest in conversation with Him with no interruption. I have gleaned insight from His Word that I once would have missed because I was too busy listening to music, or worried about what Instagram pics someone has.
- I no longer care about what is posted on twitter or facebook. I used to waste moments of time on the twitter-verse or face-world. It wasn’t as though I would sit on facebook all day or twitter all day. I would just occasionally pick my i-pad and check it. Fasting from this helped me to see that I was wasting valuable intellectual breathing time. Your brain needs time to process what it has been reading or studying. When you cloud your brain with the passive aggressive tendencies of social media, you are failing to allow yourself to think deeply.
- Screens can be detrimental to the soul. Screens allow us to turn off our emotive receptors. We deaden our ability to process emotive and intellectual stimulants by engaging screens rather than the world around us. I love to drink hot drinks and watch the birds come to the bird feeders. There is something majestic about a Cardinal or a Chickadee sliding through the air to the feeder and taking the seeds. Something amazing about the fact that a bird can simply defy a law of nature (gravity) simply by the design of its body. Further, there is great beauty in understanding that they don’t need me to feed them and yet are provided for by the LORD. Screens had taken this away from me, fasting restored it. When we disconnect from the media assault of this world, we are free to connect with the Almighty’s creation.
- Did you know God speaks more than any form of media. He is constantly talking! The trouble is that we aren’t listening. I have heard him teach me multiple times today alone! He speaks with such clarity and I was plugging my ears to it. Well, no more!
- I also learned that the media of this world wants me to think a certain way. The way it wants to shape me is contrary to the way God wants to shape me. Both want my undivided attention and affection. Only one is actually valuable.