“Mom, I DO NOT have a problem with my phone! Stop telling me I do!” You don’t want to know how many times I’ve said this to my mother over the past few months. Let’s just say, if I had a dollar for every time—well, you know how it goes.
Wanna know what I wish I’d done this morning when I woke up? Prayed.
You wanna know what I actually did this morning when I woke up? I checked Facebook, then Instagram, and then I realized I had planned to give up social media for Lent and TODAY IS THE BEGINNING OF LENT!
I quickly tossed my phone on my bed, wondering how many mornings over the past months I had absentmindedly checked Twitter, Instagram or Facebook before I’d even lifted up a word of thanks to God for blessing me with another day.
In the past, I’d grown accustomed to seeing multiple people post on Facebook the Tuesday before Lent, saying something along the lines of, “Hey everyone. Just wanted to let you know you won’t be seeing me on here for a while. See you all in 40 days!” I saw the many statuses each year, but I never gave them a second thought—until this year.
When I was younger, I, like many other kids, hopped aboard the “give up sweets for Lent” train. I was in love with candy, ice cream, cookies, and basically anything that had sugar in it—still am (for real, Talenti Peanut Butter Cup Gelato is absolute heaven)—so I thought it was a pretty good sacrifice to make for Lent. However, during more recent years, I’ve prepared for the Lenten season by trying to dig deep and truly figure out what vices are keeping me from having a deeper, more intimate relationship with God and what additions to my daily routine would help me grow to better know and love Him and those around me.
Last year, I chose to go to Eucharistic Adoration for an hour each day during Lent. (I could seriously write HUNDREDS of posts on how that daily time spent with the Lord completely changed my life.) But this year, I’m joining many others in giving up social media for these next 40 days*.
Surprisingly, I never used to be super into social media. My friends actually used to make fun of me for being so horrible at responding to their texts, messages or online comments because I never had my phone with me! However, everything changed when I launched social media pages for my music. What first began as something I “had to do” for music became a genuine obsession. I’m not exaggerating. Dozens of times throughout the day, I unlock my phone and tap on the Instagram icon before I’m even aware of what I’m doing. It's crazy. It’s become almost instinctual. Every morning when I wake up, every night before I go to bed, every time I pull into the garage, every time I sit down to watch TV, every time I take a break from work, most of the time I spend hanging out with family or friends, I’m checking social media.
Valuable time I could spend doing worthwhile things and making amazing memories is being completely wasted online. When I could be praying, I’m on Instagram. When I could be reading, I’m on Twitter. When I could be working on new songs for my upcoming album, I’m on Facebook. When I could be bonding with my parents or my brother or my friends, I’m staring at my phone instead. What I’m always telling my youth at church to do—to unglue their eyes from their phone screens—I should really be telling myself. And now I finally am. (Hallelujah!)
I’ve now come to understand the damage social media can do to the human heart because I’m experiencing it first hand. What’s been enthusiastically sold to us as an innovation that helps us connect with one another is actually causing many of us to disconnect from the beautiful souls right in front of our faces and ignore the beautiful God who’s trying to speak to us amidst the noise of witty statuses, controversial posts, and viral videos. It's a huge problem for people both young and old, and we won't be able to deal with it unless we face the overwhelming reality that our phones, laptops, and technology in general have quickly gotten in the way of the daily interactions we have with our loved ones and with God.
SO, with all of this being said…
During these next 40 days, I’m going to have authentic conversations with the people sitting in the same room as me. So strange, I know. They’re going to have my full and undivided attention—something I suspect hasn’t happened in a while. During these next few weeks, I’m going to spend more time with the Lord, listening to what He’s been wanting to tell me for so long and talking to Him about my troubles, joys, questions, fears, hopes and dreams. It's going to be real, and it’s going to be awesome. (If you haven't chosen what to give up this Lent, and you find yourself in the same situation as me, I encourage you to think about giving up social media during these next 40 days as well!)
So I guess this is my way of officially letting you guys know I won’t be online much until Easter comes around...
“Hey everyone. Just wanted to let you know you won’t be seeing me on here for a while. See you all in 40 days!”
*While I won’t be spending hours a day online, I’m allowing myself 10 or 20 minutes a day to post a photo or two and respond to important messages from you guys. ;)