In this Lent Devotional for Women, I want to share something I read recently that I just haven’t been able to shake. I don’t know the exact wording, where I read it or how exactly it was presented but it was something about being a consumer verse a producer. And when I read I thought to myself, “I need to get off Facebook for a while.” So for at least the rest of Lent, I’m going to fast from Facebook with the exception of doing a once a week community meeting on our private Facebook page and sharing the latest post on The Littlest Way page.
Let’s talk about fasting in this Lenten devotional. My explanation might get a little curvy ahead. I will be using two quotes I found, one on Christian fasting from food and the other describing the differences between producers and consumers. Hold on.
“Fasting is a temporary renunciation of something that is in itself good, like food, in order to intensify our expression of need for something greater; namely, God and his work in our lives.” John Piper
“Producers are organisms that make their own food; they get energy from chemicals or the sun, and with the help of water, convert that energy into usable energy in the form of sugar, or food. The most common example of a producer is plants. Producers make their own food, while consumers obtain their food from eating other organisms.”
Fasting is a temporary renunciation of something that is in itself good
Facebook can be, in and of itself a good. Think of the good, true and beautiful pictures, articles linked to, microblogs, friendships forged, and families interacting. I would not have met some of my online friends, my blog mentors, and my Mastermind Group. I would have missed out on reading some heart-warming stories, life-affirming articles and well-written essays meant to educate and inform.
That being said, I have had to block supposed “friends”, seen people turn on each other at the drop of a dime, misunderstandings get blown way out of proportion and cause irreparable damage. I’ve clicked one too many links and read things I had no business reading, lost my peace, scared myself silly, become even more curious, and have stories and pictures in my mind I cannot get rid of.
Fasting to intensify my need for something greater
But fasting from it, like food, can intensify our expression of need for something greater, namely God, and His work in our lives. So down to it’s simplest form, I want more God. I want to spend more time with Him, I want to be more aware of Him, and I want to notice the His work in my life more. Facebook distracts me from that. Facebook distracts me from God. While I’m busy looking at God or the lack of God in other’s lives scrolling through Facebook, I become unaware and even numb to the way He moves in and through my own life.
Producers make their own food (nourishment)
After a while, Facebook can become a crutch. If I need something good to read, I scroll Facebook. If I need an uplifting story, I scroll Facebook. I search for pictures of people reading their Bibles, marking their Bibles, sharing their Bible study and Scriptures that have spoken to them and encouraged them…while my Bible sits unopened in the other room. I’m tired of hunting for my nourishment, I want to produce my own. I want to take what I have–given by God–and convert it into usable energy. Facebook doesn’t nourish me enough or give me usable energy.
This is the text I sent my older daughter explaining my reasons: “I read something recently about being a consumer rather than a producer. I consume lots of junk on FB. Sure, some things are Philippians 4:8 worthy: true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy. But things are just junk. They’re like sugar you know. Seem fine, can sustain (with info and connections) but really just dull your senses and taste for the beautiful.”
People go through withdrawal symptoms when they step away from Facebook or other social media because they’re hungry, they’re malnourished, they’re lethargic and aren’t sure how to get back on their own feet. Suddenly, the hand that was feeding them has been removed and they don’t know how to feed themselves, to find, create or make their own nourishment.
I was late to the Facebook game and opened an account strictly for The Littlest Way. And if we’re talking in a strict sense, Facebook doesn’t drive that much traffic here. There aren’t more interactions on Facebook beyond a like or a share and really, that’s not what The Littlest Way is meant to be. It’s meant to be a community, a way of life, and holy ordinary place set apart from the rest of the noise.
We’ve reached about the halfway point in Lent and are still three weeks out from Easter. Maybe now is the time to make some adjustments in your Lenten plan. Our goal from the beginning has been to love more and bigger. What is keeping you from doing that? Get rid of it, at least until Easter. Sometimes it’s easier to “fast” from something than to give it up altogether. Give it a try as we head into the Fourth Sunday of Lent.