Last week I took a break from my social media activity. The main reason I did this is because I felt called to fast from something that I spent a lot of time with in order to focus my time better on hearing God’s voice as the church to which I am appointment sought/is seeking God’s will for the future of the congregation. I love Facebook and Twitter. I love interacting with people and being able to share my thoughts on this and that. However, if I’m being honest with myself, I needed this break for several reasons. While some might say that I lost a week of communicating with friends and family, I feel that I gained a whole lot more than I lost. In short, I don’t feel that I lost much of anything at all.
It was very refreshing.
I did get to spend some extra time in prayer, meditation and reading scripture. I took advantage of that as much as I could during this fast. I also found myself more engaged with the physical world around me. I wasn’t checking my phone constantly or worrying about missing something. You may have heard of something called “FOMO” which means “Fear of Missing Out.” If I’m being honest with myself, I have had that and I would check my phone way too much. I was reminded that the world is not going to collapse because I miss out on something (did I really miss out on anything important in the first place? I doubt it). I was even more communicative with my wife. In short I was quicker to be more interactive with the world that is actually around me, the world in which I find myself. I firmly believe the timing of this fast was not an accident. I was even on a break from my school work (which is done online). I believe God used this fast to remind me that a world exists, a world that He created, outside of the Internet. Of course, I realize and always have realized that there is a physical world. Perhaps it would be better to say that the reminder was that life happens off of Facebook and Twitter and that not everything has to be documented through those mediums in order to be valid experiences.
I have to make a comment about one aspect of my fast that I found particularly refreshing. I did not miss endless political rants, rumors, unsubstantiated junk and other assorted nonsense. I have to be honest: I find myself getting very fatigued from all of the political pundits found on social media. I realize that I occasionally post political items but I also tend to post either my own opinion and links from reputable sources. Everyone is entitled to their opinions but I find the constant stream of outright false information incredible. I am not picking on one party or another; all sides are guilty of this. I pondered politics somewhat during my break but no great revelation came to me. I am still of the opinion that both of the major parties are equal in many ways and are pretty much useless. I remain an independent with left or right leanings depending on the issue. I will not toe a party line, nor will I engage in a misinformation war. I did not miss posts of a political nature at all.
In short, I gained much more than I lost form my break. I gained a reminder that I can live offline as well as on. I found rest for my mind (I believe I slept better last week than I have in a while). I had a little less compassion fatigue and I was granted a much needed break from social media’s political aficionados. This made me think about how much time I am spending with social media and I will be making a lot of adjustments. I mean no offense in saying this but I also plan to make adjustments to the types of things I see online, at least that which I can control. If being exposed to certain things increases my anxiety and fatigue then I need to do something about that. In addition to hearing God’s voice about the future of my church I believe be granted me rest that I have been needing for a long time. This fast has given me a lot to think about and a lot of realization about adjustments I need to make and have been needing to make for a long time. I am thankful for all of this. I may do it again in the near future. I was refreshed.
And now: Some thoughts on other things.
At the risk of sounding hypocritical given my comments about politics, I would like to comment on the government shutdown that ended last week. This shutdown that did nothing but give most government employees a two week paid vacation backfired in the worst possible ways on those who orchestrated it. Two weeks for the political powers that be to do exactly what they have been doing since 2009: Putting Band-Aids on an open wound. Instead of dealing with overspending by liberals and conservatives alike we have been borrowing more and more money instead of paying down our bill. This is the equivalent of asking for one’s credit card limit to be increased every time they approach the previous limit. Because of this we have run up a bill for trillions of dollars and have increased that debt every month instead of making tough decisions. Imagine if a business or a household had no budget for four years. The result would be chaos and the time that the creditors came to collect would not be pretty. This is what I fear will happen with the United States if something is not done. The Republicans say that the Democrats only want to tax and spend and the Democrats make the same charges against the Republicans.
They’re both correct.
If one pays attention they can see that both parties print money like it’s going out of style. Only the things they spend this money on are typically different (although a lot of it is also the same). This is our fault because we are the ones who keep electing these officials over and over again. We need to demand accountability from our Congressmen and Senators. Difficulty decisions will have to be made and money will have to be cut. Reforms for government assistance programs must happen. What I mean by reform is eliminating people who are receiving these services and don’t need to be. The only way to do this is to start at the top of the list and work your way down, reviewing each and every case to determine if the person really needs the assistance. Yes, this will mean making people mad. So be it. No one said being an elected official was easy, nor should it be expected to be. If our elected officials refuse to work for these cuts and reforms they we should show them the door. I plan to remember the shenanigans of the last few weeks (and at other times) next year. I hope you do as well.
Now that I’ve gotten that off of my chest, I’m off to prepare for committee meetings tonight. May God bless you and keep you.