what i learned from a social media fast.

It’s as if I’m waking up from a long nap. I’m rubbing my eyes and stretching and grunting, recoiling from the blinding sunlight that’s screaming through my window.

But that’s not what I’m doing at all. I’ve been awake this whole time. The sun has risen. It has set. Numerous times, in fact. But I just haven’t tweeted about it.

My social media fast is officially over. 

As I’m slowly starting to ease back in to the world of status updates, tweets, and likes, I am also carefully redefining what it means for me to live in an over-connected yet under-personal world.  And, like any good blogger, I’d like to thrust upon you my new-found knowledge.

Free of charge, of course.

four things i learned from my social media fast:

1. posting on the internet is like getting a virtual tattoo.

I know you can technically “delete” posts and photos and tweets and whatnot, but honestly, nothing is ever really gone once it’s on the internet. It’s as forever as a butterfly tramp stamp, so it’s important to be really intentional and (gasp) think before you post/tweet/Instagram. (This was really convicting for me to learn, actually. I still haven’t re-downloaded the Twitter app for this reason. I’m pretty sure that 90% of my tweets were like bad tattoos I can’t get removed. I’m not entirely sure I’m ready to go under that needle again just yet.)

2. boundaries are important.

Social media is built on relationships. In IRL relationships (oh yeah, busting out the internet lingo) it’s important to have boundaries, so why would social media be any different? Before, I had absolutely zero boundaries regarding social media. People I hadn’t talked to in ages could post something that would ruin my entire day. That’s not fair to the people with whom I actually do maintain real relationships. Coming back into the world of social media I’ve set my own personal boundaries to make sure I’m in control of the consumption and not the other way around. (For example, I have disabled push notifications on my iPhone. I found that if my phone told me I had notifications on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, I would put everything on hold until I checked and cleared them. With push notifications off, I can check my social media at designated times during the day, when I’m not doing anything else that is more important, to make sure I’m intentional, timely, and still engaged with what’s going on around me. This also discourages mindless scrolling through updates, which is important because…)

3. i don’t really care.

Yep. I don’t. This is probably the most valuable lesson I learned on my fast. The truth, no matter how harsh it may sound, is that I really don’t care if one of my 900-some Facebook friends posts a status about doing laundry or making dinner. I just don’t care. I have better things to do with my time than scroll through countless empty updates of the mundane. The people with whom I have real relationships? I know what’s going on in their lives because we intentionally seek each other out through phone calls, texts, and (wait for it) coffee dates and lunches.

4. real life is so much better.

It seems like this should go without saying, but life is so much more fun to live when you don’t have to worry about whether or not you need to post about it. A few weeks ago, my phone fell behind the couch a few minutes before I was to leave for bible study. I almost left it there because I really felt like I didn’t need it. But I did retrieve it in the event that I were to get in a horribly debilitating car accident on the way across town. I also intentionally left my phone at home last night when Dan, Dax, and I went out to dinner. It was so liberating to know I really, truly, didn’t need it because the only people with whom I needed and wanted to engage were right there with me.

I feel really good now. Really good. I feel refreshed, renewed, and like I have a handle on this again.

Have you ever done a social media fast? Are you considering it? Why or why not?

to be known and, yet, LIKED.

A while back I wrote this post on being fully known and also loved at the same time. There is something so beautifully freeing about being able to let your hair down and let out an exhale and just be in the company of those who, even in your darkest moments, love you.

But what about being liked? That’s a completely different ball game.

This week, as we’ve finally let the craziness of Holy Week and Easter pass us by, three different sources in just as many days have all independently of each other communicated the same message to me: Jesus knows me. And of course he loves me. But maybe he even likes me, too.

That notion is worth celebrating, no doubt. Even outside of the context of my faith, the idea that I’m known by people and also liked is definitely a good thing. But it’s hard for me to believe right now, so I don’t really want to hear it. I don’t want to hear that anyone (let alone the savior of the world) knows me because, the way I see it, if you DO know me, you probably know that there isn’t much to like about me right now.

I can already see the stream of comments I’m going to get for this post. Relax. I’m fine. No need to talk me off the bridge (unless chocolate rivers are involved).

The thing is, though, my situation isn’t fine. In a little less (!!!) than a month, my family will be somewhere new. Somewhere foreign. We might have jobs or we might not. We might move back in with my mom or we might not. Whatever is on the other side of this is completely unknown to me. The only thing I do know right now is what I’m losing.

My faith community.

My friends.

My comfort zone. 

I am still Jonah. Through and through. I want to hide out on a boat and hope I’m not found out.

I’m sure it’s no coincidence that three independent sources have all sought me out to convey the message that I am known and also loved. It’s the thing I need to hear right now. But I hate hearing it because if I do, I can’t spend my days like this. Hanging out with me must be the pits lately. Sorry, guys.

Have you ever felt this way? Like, you might be loved but aren’t exactly likable at the moment?