While that first sentence sounds like the journal of a prisoner, in fact, I have realized a great deal of freedom in this experiment.
As part of our Growing in Grace theme, Northside has a monthly challenge designed to stretch our grace muscles. The challenge for September, a “Digital Detox” from social media, stretched me greatly.
On Saturday, September 1, I woke up, opened my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter apps on my phone. I then shared, posted, and retweeted, the “Digital Detox” image with the explanation of my social media silence. Then, one by one, I deleted each of the apps.
Those first few days I had some withdrawal symptoms. I used social media a lot—for both personal and work reasons. I used Facebook to stay in the know with people. I used Twitter to stay in the know with news and world events. I used Instagram to make my boring pictures seem fancy.
Only 20% in, I am already experiencing benefits. Whatever gain social media once gave me I now consider a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of the freedom, time, focus, and clarity I now have. I’m getting past the habit of reaching for my phone every time I have seven free seconds. My attention span is longer. My mental clarity has improved, and I sleep better.
In short, addition by subtraction. Psalm 46:10 says “Be still and know that I am God…” It is important to have times of stillness. The digital disruptors can keep us from that.
“You have seen many things, but you pay no attention; your ears are open, but you do not listen” (Isaiah 42:20). While I’m 99% sure Isaiah was not on Twitter @MessianicProphet, his warning could well have been for us today.
Proverbs 4:23 says “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Guarding the heart is not just about keeping sinful things out, but also guarding against letting superfluous things in.
The challenge is not just about disconnecting—it’s helping me reconnect and draw closer to God, my wife, my children and people in general. Even if you’ve never had social media, are you being intentional about reconnecting with God and with others?
If you have taken up the challenge, I’d love to hear what your experience has been. You can call, email, or text me. And if you haven’t taken up the challenge, it’s not too late.
At some point I will be back on social media, but in a much more limited way. I think social media is a wonderful tool for much good, but can be warped to keep us from abundant living. I am fine having social media, I just don’t want social media to have me.