My Fast from Social Media

For the entire month of July, I challenged myself to a social media fast. I knew that it would be beyond difficult for me, but I quickly realized it was more mental toughness than anything else.

Below are my weekly journals about the experience. As usual, some epiphanies took place and I love when I have ones that are life-changing. As you read, I am thankful for having this month to myself and arriving at some great conclusions. Enjoy! 

July 9, 2014

I am one week into my social media fast and feel so liberated already.  I really do not text all that much, so that has been the biggest adjustment thus far: there is no reason to pick up my phone.  My iPhone’s purpose is not being fulfilled, but it feels so good to not be so concerned about who is tweeting and instead enjoying what those around me are saying and doing.  However, when you are the only one of your friends fasting from social media, you quickly notice how much time your friends spend with their faces in their phones. I used to look like that—probably even worse!

A lot of my conversation is typically driven by what people are saying on Twitter or Facebook, so because of the fast that has drastically changed.  I have been reading more and that is really what I should be keeping up with: the stuff that actually matters. This is not saying that what my friends have to say is not important (because I value the opinions and jokes of my friends), but I should be more concerned about the bigger world around me rather than the immediate.

When I first thought about fasting from social media, I was not quite sure I would be able to function without it. That is sad. I mean, that thought really crossed my mind. That in and of itself means that it was TOO big a part of my life. I have not broken yet to check either Twitter or Facebook and I have to admit that I am quite proud of myself.  Let’s see how the rest of the time goes!

July 15, 2014

I just so happen to be reading the story of Esther in my Bible app. In the story, she goes on a fast to have God move on her behalf. The story was unfamiliar to me, so finding out that a significant part of the story was that she fasts was definitely one of those God ordained happenstances. This 10-day daily devotion on the story of Esther has really been encouragement to me while abstaining from social media.

Another thing that this fast has freed me up to do, is reach out to people that I genuinely care about because I cannot connect with them on the social media front and vice versa. It is interesting to see who I text/converse with often by looking at my most recent text messages. Texting is definitely more intimate than a public conversation anytime.

July 29, 2014

This past Sunday The Lord woke me up at 3:33 am and spoke about 4 pages full of notes to me about By Faith. He was talking about the importance of worship and prayer. It was absolutely awesome! I was beginning to think my fast was something I wanted and not a “me and God thing,” but the way He spoke was confirmation it was indeed a “me and God thing.” At the beginning of last week He also spoke to me about some personal things I was really seeking Him about on my way to work.

Some pretty cool things have happened while on this fast, but my social media fast has inspired some other people to fast from it as well. One friend told me yesterday he went on a five day social media fast. Another one is considering doing it for a week in August. This is what I LOVE to do: inspire people to think differently, change old habits and simply be a better person as a whole. It is one of my favorite things about being Elise. I have lots of passions, but at the core is inspiring people.  By them telling me that they either went on a fast or are even considering doing one too, was encouraging for me.

Now I’m just trying to figure out how I am not going to become as dependent on it again when it is technically time to break the fast this Thursday at midnight. I have enjoyed not feeling obligated to say something, “like” something or know exactly what everyone is doing or saying.  Yes, I have a heart for sharing with people what is on my mind, but there has been a freeing feeling that came with doing this fast. I realized how much I relied on something that I really do not need. Now that the pattern of behavior has changed, I think it is important to map out a game plan in order for it to change back.

To Fear or Not to Fear is No Longer A Question

 Only thing we have to fear is fear itself. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

At times our fears get the best of us. Our comfort zone is where it is,  for the lack of a better word, comfortable. One of the many acronyms I have heard for ‘fear’ is “False Evidence Appearing Real.” That phrase puts what I want to discuss into perspective. We all are afraid at times and it is hard to place ourselves into the “unknown,” but at times it is necessary. When we begin to let those trepidation hold us back from anything that would allow us to flourish, this is what could potentially be detrimental.

We should encourage failure. And what I mean by that very bold statement is that failure gets looked at as a bad thing. There is nothing wrong with failure.  We want our support system (family and friends) to think highly of us so no one wants to be associated with a ‘failure,’ right?  Well, fortunately my family and friends have stuck with me despite my many failures.  I am positive I am not the only one who has the pleasure of saying that about her family and friends (If you cannot, we have gotta sign you up for new family and friends). If anything, they should be the ones to encourage you to “try, try, again”.  It is what you do after coming up a little short that makes failure good because now you know what does not work.  Failure has purpose—and contrary to popular belief, it does not necessarily have to be negative.

Everything has a process and very often (especially when trying something new) failure plays a part. I would argue that some of the world’s most successful people had a fear of failure, but knew how to cope and conquer their fear(s). That is the key!

Elise, you ask, “How do I deal with fear?”  I’m so glad you asked.


 

1. Call Out Your Fear(s): Write down your fear(s) of failure; your “What Ifs.” Ask yourself what is the worst that could happen. Be open and honest with yourself. Really think about it and try to list each one of them. Once you have thought about and considered your worst fear, the hardest part is out of the way.

2. Face the Fear(s): Now consider how you could work past those fears. When you have already set up a plan of attack, it is easier to deal with the problem once it arises.  Maybe your plan is just promising yourself you will give up. For me it is inspirational at times of being in the valley, to think of the payoff or the big picture.  (I had to tell myself this many times while in graduate school.  If you need help, ask someone you trust to help you think of some ways to stay motivated when failure happens. The buddy system works in most instances (Choose wisely, young warrior).

3. Fear Happened: So yeah, that fear that I had…it just happened. Well good! How did you react? Whether you reacted positively, negatively or you are still trying to figure it out, process it in some way.  Talk about it with that friend you chose, write about it, or go for a jog; whatever works for you is fine, just make sure that you do process what took place. Ask yourself how could have prevented it or was it out of your control?  One way to get better at dealing with not succeeding, is drumming up a better game plan for whatever you are looking to accomplish.

4. Ain’t No Fear is High Enough: Because I know you are going to conquer that fear, you have to celebrate! Note what it took to get there (I’d suggest doing this along the way), so if need be, you can repeat the necessary steps. More importantly, use those conquered fears as inspiration to take on others risks and opportunities.

to-live-a-creative-life-2