I remember it so clearly. I was sitting in the living room, checking my Facebook, when I looked up and saw my five-year-old and my husband staring at me. I couldn’t figure out what the looks were for, but I felt like I had missed something. And that’s when my son said, “Mom, will you play a game with me?” I had no idea that he had been asking me for the last two minutes, and I had missed it. I didn’t even hear him.
It’s embarrassing to admit, but I dare say I am addicted to social media. I have always loved the connection I can have with new and old friends, find creative recipes, get my adult conversation fix for the day… but it was getting out of hand. I was checking all my social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat) a good 20 times a day. 20 TIMES A DAY. Something had to change.
Even though at the time I wasn’t willing to admit it, the Holy Spirit had been pricking at my heart for weeks, if not months, to correct this problem. I had even seen it in friends, allowing this “outlet” to take over, to control their lives. But I kept telling myself, “I’ve got this! It’s just social media. I can control this. I can be the one in charge of this behavior.” But it wasn’t the case. Something had to be done.
During the last week of February, my husband and I were going on a cruise vacation, where I would have no wi-fi access (or at least none I was willing to pay through the roof for!). So I figured it was an opportune time to start a fast. No social media from the start of vacation until April 1st. I have to admit, I was terrified. I feel ridiculous even stating that. But I was. What I had considered my “fix” had actually become my “avoidance.” Instead of dealing with the stresses of motherhood, ministry, life in general, I just allowed myself to scroll through pages upon pages of stuff I honestly didn’t even care about. And I was now choosing to let it go. I knew it was the right thing to do, for a season, to get my focus back on track. My husband, my children, and most importantly, my Savior, were way more important than someone’s latest repost of some article that I wasn’t even sure would pass with snopes.com.
So, here I am. Done with my fast. And let’s just say my perspective of myself, as a person, has changed. I probably learned too much on this fast. HA! Just another thing to stress this mama out, right? But for real, I learned how I hurt my family, but also how I hurt my relationship with God.
Because I wasn’t on my phone constantly, I realized just often my 5 year old likes to play games. I learned that my 7 year old likes it when I sit with her during her piano practice. I learned that my 3 year old likes to pretend to fight bad guys, and he wants ME on his team! I learned that I had missed the boat on so many opportunities where God was leading me to have a conversation with someone about faith, or to pay for their lunch, or to check in with the family down the street. My priorities had shifted without me even knowing it.
Tonight I read the story of Samson with my daughter, before bed. I had pointed out to her that Samson had no idea that the Spirit of God had left him when the Philistines had cut his hair. And it hit me, that I was too close to reality with that in my own life. I had allowed other things to wedge between me and my Savior.
This last month, as I struggled through the reality of what I had allowed myself to become, I also drew so much closer to those whom I loved most. My husband and I have had such deep conversations lately, I laugh with my kids more, and God has begun something exciting! I am learning more about His character, His love for me, the grace He extends to me, and I am learning that I so badly desire to be more like Him. I want my life to reflect His own. I want to love others like He loves me. I want to extend grace to others (especially my kids!) like He extends to me. And I am planning to do that from here on out. While it won’t change overnight, I am choosing to set aside those things that are least important, and put before me those things that are most important.