Today is Ash Wednesday, the traditional start in the Western Christian Church of the season of Lent. Lent is a 40 day observance by Christians leading up to the crucifixion of Christ on Good Friday and the resurrection of Christ on Easter. Like many church traditions, Lent is not a Biblical teaching, but a creation of the early church to remind themselves of final days of Jesus’ ministry and the importance of his final days to the salvation of believers. The tradition calls for believers to deny themselves some common pleasure, vice, or comfort during this time and replace it with prayer, fasting, and remembrance of Christ’s suffering.
Last night, as I sat down to the above fat, juicy, succulent steak on Fat Tuesday and, along with the other diners in the restaurant celebrated a final night of gluttony before this season of denial, I had to take pause. I realized that if I was going to be serious about experiencing real emotional and spiritual growth during the season of Lent, I should really deny myself something that really mattered to me and would actually cause me to pause every time I thought about it and force me to redirect those thoughts to prayers.
So I’m going to take a Social Media Lent. Shortly after I hit “send” and “post to Facebook” on this blog, I am going to remove the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram apps from my phone for the next 40 days. I plan to continue to blog, as for me that is a writing outlet, not a social media engagement tool, per se, but for the next 40 days I will abstain from social media. I realized recently that I tend to look at Facebook 6-10 times a day and that time is going to be replaced with prayer for the friends that I typically am watching and engaging with in that forum, an email or phone call to that important group of people I call friends, and making time to connect in person with some of the people I only ‘follow’ through social media.
I’ll be back, because I do genuinely appreciate the connections I receive with people through Facebook. However, my hope and prayer for this Season of Lent for myself is that my concern and caring for the most important people in my life will grow during this time and that I will find greater interpersonal connections than I currently have. A blessed Lenten season to all.