Fasting from all media for two months wasn’t a planned out event. I didn’t pray about it. My family didn’t make a whole decision to intentionally do this. But there had been a twinge in my soul for months.
My emotions felt disconnected from God, but I assumed my health issues were the root cause of the disconnection.
I was still reading my Bible, praying, journaling, worshiping, but yet the tenderness of my soul didn’t relish in His presence. Walking through dry seasons wasn’t anything new, but the weariness of my soul felt different.
A friend sent us a podcast entitled the Surprising Symptoms of Trauma, Why You Still Feel Depleted, and the Challenges of Deconstruction. As we listened to this podcast, John Eldrige stated, “the soul is healed through union with God. And union with God is not something we’ve taught people how to cultivate and practice. It’s not the same thing as faith, doctrine, or a healthy creed. The soul is created for intimate union with it’s creator, and that’s where the resilience is imparted to us.”
As I continued to listen to the podcast, I realized I had let my union with God slowly fade in my daily life.
The chaos, hurts, and constant content creation of the past three years had depleted the space needed to cultivate that union.
As I asked God how to repair this union with Him, the one thing I kept thinking over and over again was to distance myself from all content. Any and every type of content that could diminish my ability to hear God’s voice needed to be silenced. Even the good stuff like podcasts and sermons.
And so a two month fast from all media was birthed.
First, I deleted all social media apps, games, and news outlets from my phone. This sounds dumb BUT the first 72 hours of this was HARD! I had no idea how much my hand reached for some sort of noise from my phone throughout the day.
Next, I changed where I sat down during the day. Weird right?! But I had some habits of sitting in a certain chair while I ate lunch and then just turning on a show to watch while I ate. Or posting social media content on a certain spot on the couch. All those habits needed to change. I didn’t want to live on autopilot and needed some intentionality in my life. I started eating lunch on my deck so I wouldn’t automatically reach for the remote. I avoided the couch except when I was reading my Bible. All the places which represented where I mindlessly took in content, I intentionally avoided them or made sure they represented a new habit.
Finally, I downloaded The One Minute Pause App and began the “30 Days to Resilience” pause that was referred to in the podcast. At this point you’re probably thinking, wait, isn’t that inputting more content??? Great question! And maybe it is? But this particular program was exactly what I needed to focus on the Lord more.
The top 3 lessons I learned
Life is really loud. I had NO idea how a constant intake of content, through social media, TV, movies, podcasts, etc…., was impacting my brain capacity. When I removed all the other inputs besides God, there was an incredible peace and silence in my soul. Honestly, I had to grieve a bit when I thought about returning back to “normal life” when the two months was over!
Most of the content that is available to us makes us pretty selfish people. The commercials make you think about how YOU want your bathroom/kitchen/bedroom to look, what YOU want to eat, what YOU want to look like, what YOU can accomplish with your life. Social media content forces you to engage with the content YOU think is beautiful/inspiring/compelling.
I’ve heard people say this before about media but I didn’t really think it impacted me that much. (here’s me rolling my eyes at my own pride) But two months of having no one point me to my own desires made me content with whatever the day brought. Within the first week of returning to media, I found myself thinking about all the horrible oak cabinets, banisters, and trim in my house I wanted to get rid of and update! True story. Never once was I discontent with my house during the fast. But upon returning, I started daydreaming about how to update my fireplace, what I wished my house looked like, or how much it would cost to hire someone to paint everything. Crazy!
Hard boundaries are necessary. Discovering how much content I’m intaking on a daily basis and then the effect that much content can have on my soul made me reevaluate my boundaries. I can’t live as a monk in a cave with no outside influence in my life, but I can determine when and how voices around me will enter my life.
I now only engage on social media on Mondays/Tuesdays/Thursdays. This goes against ALL advice every social media person tells you. Especially when you’re writing a book and need to grow your audience…. BUT I’ve decided I will not live in fear or grow any sort of ministry at the cost of my soul. So for now, you’ll only see me open the apps and engage three days a week. I do love the conversations and DMs with all of you throughout my day so this was a really hard boundary for me to establish, but hopefully my content will get better and all our conversations will grow deeper as a result of this intentional space!
I’ve stopped listening to podcasts. This might be easier for me because I’m still in Seminary so am reading and discussing a lot of deep Spiritual material in those courses. Maybe I’ll reevaluate this boundary once I graduate in December, but for now it is not helpful for me to listen to people’s opinions in my downtime.
I no longer watch the news. I read it. This keeps me informed about the world without sitting in front of a TV. It’s faster, and I can filter the content better this way.
Overall, I’ve learned our souls need more space than our world and lives usually allow.
How much space we plan into our day is completely in our control. By taking out social media, podcasts, games on my phone, and TV, I found plenty of space to fill with God, allowing Him to truly be the vine and me the branch.
If your soul feels weary, start with the podcast I mentioned and see if his words resonate with what you desire. Or try downloading the One Minute Pause app. It’s free and a great place to start. Maybe you just need someone to pray for you as you seek God and the union with Him you desire? Connect with me, and I would consider it a privilege to pray for you through this journey.
Our souls were designed for union with God. Our creator wants to sustain and fulfill us. He alone can do this. Let’s take Him at His Word and give Him the space to do His work in us.