Why I gave up Facebook for Lent

 
There are many people who gave up lots of good things for Lent. Some of them gave up their vices because it took them away from meaningful relationships, especially with God, and some, because it was good for their health. I can only imagine the number of people who gave up things like soda, fast food, chocolate, candy, alcohol, and other similar things for Lent. I hope it has gone well so far since we are in the home stretch!
 
And then there are people like me who gave up things that are a huge part of our current technical world. I gave up Facebook for Lent.
 
Facebook? Yes, Facebook.
 
Honestly, I didn’t know what I was going to give up for Lent until Mardi Gras. I had been praying about it, but I couldn’t come up with anything that represented a good enough sacrifice. (Although, I’m sure God would have been okay with my heart and desire being in line with his will.) I was watching TV, not sure what I was watching, when it hit me like a ton of bricks.
 
You see, I checked Facebook all the time. I shared articles on Facebook, shared my thoughts, connected with old friends, made new friends, and discovered many others around the world like myself. All that was great, but I was spending too much time on Facebook.
 
To put this in perspective, let me make a confession: instead of praying as I first woke each morning, the first thing I did was reach for my phone and check Facebook. It was also my source of news since I do not watch news on TV regularly  anymore. I checked Facebook when I was bored. I checked it to see if anyone commented on a status, and I used its chat function to speak to many friends. Checking Facebook was the last thing I did before I went to bed.
 

Checking Facebook on multiple devices has become a regular activity for many youths. (CNS photo/Paul Jeffrey)
That’s serious! What was wrong with me? I guess I was addicted. And I think that is why I was elated to give up Facebook for Lent. And to make sure I didn’t use it, I uninstalled the apps from my phone and tablet. I let my Facebook log in stay on my devices because there are some apps and sites used my login. Where I could, I simply disabled the function to post on my behalf.
 
That was the easy part! I didn’t realize how many articles and videos I shared on Facebook until I couldn’t do it anymore. So I turned to social media sites I had neglected for sometime including LinkedIn and Google+. Sometimes, I didn’t share as much, but that’s because each site has its own unique voice. But, in the end, I freed up time. Time I could spend praying, healing, resting, helping others, and working on much neglected projects.
 
Will I go back to Facebook after Easter? Yes, but I have learned to temper my use of social media and balance my interactions online and offline. We all have to learn this balance. As almost equal parts introvert and extrovert, I find the online world very comforting, but we all must look up from our computer/tablet/phone screens and enjoy what is right in front of us.
 
What did you give up for Lent? How difficult was it? What did you learn about yourself? Leave a comment and let’s discuss!
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Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.