Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed!

Lent is over. Our fasting is complete, our celebration begins!

Spring is a wonderful season. I am writing this while sitting on my back porch, looking upon the just-budding trees with that fresh, spring shade of green, as well as a couple of dressed-up dogwoods in their whites and pinks. It is a beautiful day, the kind that makes it easy to see the goodness of God in a clear way.

But Lent. I don’t come from a background that traditionally observes Lent, but occasionally I will feel the need to purge something from my life, and Lent always seems the appropriate time to do it. This year, I gave up social media for the 49 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter.

Giving up Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter was not easy. As a culture, we’ve come to depend on them as our means of spreading news, sharing information, and keeping up with family members. I had to get my world news from a source other than Twitter. I had to actually make some phone calls and see people face to face. I couldn’t give up the Messenger app because that is the primary way I communicate with the parents of the kids in my choir.

But now that I am on the back side of my experiment/purge, here are some of the lessons I learned:

  1. I take fewer pictures when I am not posting them. It’s not a very flattering thing to realize that most of the pictures I take are for sharing, rather than for capturing the beauty of a moment, but there it is. I just haven’t been snapping as many shots since I haven’t been sharing them. I have learned that I need to be more mindful of my motives when sharing a picture or video.
  2. I get more done when I am not scrolling. I think this is a pretty obvious one, but social media becomes a time-waster. I have read more books, listened to more podcasts, played more piano, and kept my house cleaner. Most of my time on social media is not productive, but these other things are.
  3. I focus less on what others think of me, and compare myself less to their online versions of themselves. Many more people have written about FOMO – our fear of missing out – but it’s true. Social media tempts us to compare, to worry, to judge, to envy. Stepping away allowed me to see that my own life is good, even when it is small.
  4. I don’t need social media to survive. Will I go back to those sites now that Lent is over? Yes. I miss keeping up with my nieces and nephews and their lives. I miss getting updates and reminders that way from my church and other organizations I am a part of. Will I find ways to continue to curb what I take in from those sources? Absolutely.

So, there you have it. A condensed version of what I have learned this year during Lent. God reminded me that life is more than our online lives. He wants me to depend on Him alone for approval. He has blessed my life immeasurably. He wants me to give the best parts of my day to serving Him and blessing the people in my real life.

In the 21st century, it is almost impossible to get away from the online world entirely. But Lent has reminded me that the online world is just a shadow of our real world – which is just a shadow of the world to come. May I learn to be more present here so that I can begin to understand how I will be present there.

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