My 21 Day Facebook Fast

Each January members of our church are encouraged to participate in a non-mandatory period of fasting.  I typically haven’t participated but felt called to take part in this year’s fast.  Since having Margot I have felt like I “don’t have time to do anything.”  The one aspect of my life that was suffering the most from me “not having time to do anything” was my relationship with God — I don’t remember another season of life when He’s felt so far away.  My prayer life was good because I spend an hour each day bouncing/swaying/walking Margot to sleep, and I use that time to pray, but I was struggling to spend time reading the Bible.  Reading scripture has always been a crucial part of me feeling God’s presence in my life.  I knew in my heart that I was wasting a lot of my time on my cell phone, particularly on Facebook.  My heart was convicted, and I knew that God was calling me to embark on a 21 day Facebook fast.

Initially my Facebook fast was much harder than I had anticipated.  For several years, I have started and ended my days with Facebook.  For the most part, the only time I see someone besides Bryan and Margot is at church on Sundays.  Facebook is a good way for me to keep in touch with people, especially friends and relatives who don’t live near me.  I felt myself wondering how so-and-so’s baby was doing or wanting to share a cute picture of Margot.  There were several times where I picked up my cell phone with the intention of making a post only to reluctantly put it back down.

One thing that I realized almost immediately during my fast is that it suddenly felt like I had more time.  When I woke up before Margot, I would start my day off by reading my chronological Bible.  On days when I wasn’t able to do that, I’d read it during Margot’s first nap of the day.  I dug around the You Version Bible app and found some short devotionals to read through, and that app became my go-to winding-down-before-going-to-bed app.  I was witnessing firsthand the true meaning of James 4:8 —

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”

Not only did I all of a sudden have time to spend with God, but I also managed to find more time for household chores and my hobbies.  Clean laundry was folded shortly after it dried (rather than sitting in a laundry basket for days on end).  We ate several new meals (by the way, I highly recommend this cookbook).  I dusted and vacuumed and mopped.

With the exception of Margot’s Halloween costume, I hadn’t worked on any sewing projects since Margot was born.  During my fast I made her a heart-shaped crinkly tag toy (part of her Valentine’s Day gift), and I made myself a pen-roll to store my fountain pens in.  I wasn’t taking photos to share on Facebook; I was just taking them with me, so I used my “real camera” a ton during this period — a change that I intend to make permanent.  I haven’t felt much like “myself” since Margot was born (so much changed so fast, especially with my transition from production engineer to stay-at-home-mom), and my Facebook fast gave me a few glimpses of “me.”  I do not believe that my old self can coexist with Sarah-the-mom (how can they when my responsibilities now are SO different?), but there are hobbies that I do intend to hold on to, and my Facebook fast showed me that that goal is doable.

Pre-baby, time-management was something I only practiced at work.  I kept a to-do list of things that needed to be done around the house, but beyond that, time-management at home simply wasn’t necessary.  My Facebook fast made it painfully obvious how important time management and setting priorities is now that I have a baby to care for.  I learned that I need to put my time with God first; if I don’t spend time with Him the first chance I get, then there’s a high probability that it won’t happen at all.  I also learned that I can get a lot done during the two, 30 minute naps Margot takes each day when I don’t spend the first 15 minutes of each of them scrolling through Facebook.  In addition to all of that, I learned that, no matter how disciplined I am, sometimes there will be days that I feel like I didn’t get anything done, and that’s okay.  Because on those days, I took care of Margot, and she felt loved.  And that’s a big something.

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