Last Monday, I began a fast from Facebook and blogs. (Technically it is still going, so while I'm writing my own blog, I'm still not reading any others, and while I'll post it to Facebook, I won't actually get on Facebook. Sort of cheating, not really.)
If you're one of those people who just uses Facebook to keep in touch with people, you probably don't need a break. But if you're like me and you use it to keep score, you'll likely benefit. Now, I know I'm not supposed to keep score. But this is often how my Facebook time goes:
"Oh, they bought a house. We don't know where we want to live."
"Oh look, she lost weight. I've gained seven pounds."
"Oh nice, she's pregnant, too. Good for all fifty of you pregnant people I know. If you name your child (insert-any-of-the-names-I-have-picked-out-here) before I get to have a baby, we're not friends."
"Oh she got a promotion/her dream job/any job where you don't smell like coffee 24/7. I still work at Starbucks."
Okay, so maybe I'm exaggerating, but sometimes that's how it feels. I seem to log on to Facebook when I'm in a particularly weak, vulnerable place, when I'm not feeling great about myself, and when I want to feel sorry for myself. I don't know if I ever thought Facebook would help me in those times, but guess what? It doesn't. It makes things worse.
The same often goes for blogs. I don't know why, but sometimes I find myself reading blogs by people who are fashion-y, crafty, and decorat-y. Guess who is most definitely not fashion-y, crafty, or decorat-y? The girl in yoga pants, who is too impatient to wait for spray paint to dry. (Me.) Those are the things I'm least good at, so when I look at blogs that show these girls in cute outfits who just spray painted a new shelf for their house (which they own, by the way), and sewed their own curtains, I feel a little inadequate. I seem to forget my own gifts and the things I like spending time on, focusing instead on the talents that I lack.
The truth is, it all came down to my heart. I needed an overhaul of my attitude, and the only way I could think to do it was to avoid these things that only served to make things worse. (Fortunately, Kari and I agreed to do it together, so I had someone keeping me accountable.)
Here is the basic in-your-face truth:
"That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original." Gal. 5:26
I found this verse to be particularly helpful during the first week of my social media break. And I discovered that I do have far more interesting things to do with my life. My week was amazing, simply because time wasn't wasted on comparison. When I didn't have that jealousy and competition bringing my down, I found I had the time and energy to focus on being the person I want to be, apart from any other expectations or comparisons with others. So...
I exercised every single day. This is probably not impressive to you people who already exercise daily (Janna), but I was pretty proud of myself. By Sunday, I couldn't wait to work out, so I'm excited to be back in the groove of being active. As a result, I had tons of energy and was in a much better mood, a fact that my sweet husband can attest to. And with all that energy...
I only allowed myself one caffeinated beverage a day. Again, unimpressive to those of you who aren't coffee fanatics, but this is coming from a girl who typically drinks three cups of coffee and has five or six espresso shots daily. I used to blame it on my job, but then I remembered I have this little thing called willpower that I can choose to use if I so desire. And I always wanted to be one of those cute people who couldn't drink too much caffeine without getting jittery. Yesterday, that was me. (Is it weird that I was really excited about that?) Not only that, I discovered that I don't need all that coffee. I still had plenty of energy (if not more than usual), and I slept really well at night. Who would've thought??
I cooked and baked a lot, I got really disciplined about budgeting and recording all our purchases, and my sweet little guitar got some attention. (Poor baby has been neglected since April.) It was honestly one of the best weeks I've had in a long time. Maybe when I'm ready to end my fast, I'll have a new frame of mind with which to interact on Facebook, and those blogs that just intimidate me can begin to inspire me.
It was a great week because it sort of felt like I made New Year's Resolutions in August. And we all know how much I love resolutions. It's a lesson I have to learn over and over, but I want to be purposeful, using my time to cultivate peace, hope, and creativity, and not letting any time be wasted on discontentment or discouragement.