Each month of the year, Theo and I are fasting from something.
This month is media. In one day, we have cut almost ALL media from our lifestyle. No Facebook, no Pinterest, no Instagram, no Hulu, no Netflix, no Candy Crush, no browsing random sites and blogs for hours upon on hours.
I’ve already gotten a lot of questions about this fast, and I’ll attempt to answer some of them in this blog post!
How can you do it?
1. Determination/Spiritual Focus
First, it is more than just a thing to cross off our list, it is also a spiritual battle. We do it, not in our own strength, but by opening up our hearts and allowing God to fill the emptiness that is left when we take media out of our media-filled life. It takes an intentionality, a sacrifice, and a desire to do it, driven (hopefully) by a spiritual goal.
God is truly teaching me so much about my bad habits, and how removing media from my life is a NEED at this time. I’m sure at some point, I’ll share more on that.
2. Out of sight, out of mind
In our house, we have a designated office/craft room. During the winter, the room has been shut off to conserve our heat supply. However, for this month (and as Spring approaches!), I aired out the room. I put my laptop on the desk in the office, and I placed my iphone on the desk as well. When I’m doing something that I need the computer for (such as email or writing a blog), I go into the office and work there. When I’m finished, I leave the room. Prior to this month, my laptop went with me from room to room, whether I was reading blogs, listening to music, or watching a show. Removing the devices that connect me to media and placing them in a designated spot in the house is SO helpful. It’s almost ‘out of sight; out of mind’, and I’m much less tempted to go on 8 times an hour. (for reals, though).
For me, my iphone doesn’t serve as my regular call/text phone (loooong story there!), so I can easily leave it in the office room. However, if you are attempting a media fast and you have allllll the media apps on your regular cell phone, I would recommend deleting them from your phone. It’s too tempting seeing the notifications piling up on Facebook to not check it. You can always download them again when the month is over.
Another thing that I have done in the past is ask a trusted friend to change my passwords for me, so even if I try to go on my media sites, I can’t access it.
3. Get out.
It has been so helpful for us that warmer weather has decided to make it’s appearance this month! This has allowed Theo and I to go on walks in the neighborhood, go on a hike at the local State park, and walk around some local towns. When Theo worked this past week, I went to Barnes and Noble and browsed the books for several hours. When there is nothing to absorb my time and energy at home, I find myself more eager to leave the house. I am sure that this will also lead to more opportunities for social interaction in the coming month!
So, what have we been doing instead?
Well, the answer to this question is varied. The first few days of March were really busy, with family in town and some important events at church that we helped out at. That kept us so busy, and we were so exhausted we hardly noticed we were abstaining from media. The next 5 days were difficult, with a lot of twiddling thumbs, book reading and boggle mastering. Now, I feel like we are getting into the hang of it, and I feel like I’m slightly detoxed from media. And while I still want to check my Instagram, or watch a show on Netflix, I now know some different things that I can do instead.
Guys…let me tell you one thing. When you cut media out of your lifestyle, you gain HOURS in the day. I mean, HOURS. I have a part time job and no kids, so I know that I have much more free time than most people, however…I find I have more hours in the day than I even know what to do with.
I also find that my heart and attitude towards so many things have changed. I’m much more likely to help Theo around the house, to finish any and all chores that need to be done, to write letters or emails, and just to think of others more in general. I love how this fast is bringing out that side of me, but I hate that it takes a fast to bring it around. This fast has already revealed my sinful nature and the addiction that media is for me. It has shown me what I need to change, and I already know that things will be different media-wise even after this month is over.
Theo and I have remarked several times that it’s no wonder people who live in cultures that have no access to media go to bed when the sun goes down, and wake up when the sun comes up. It’s also no wonder people who live in cultures that have no media have many children 😉
Like I said, we have a lot of free time on our hands…even more than I expected.
We have found several things to do that are helping us get through this month:
1. Reading the news together over breakfast
2. Doing crossword puzzles, wordsearches, logic puzzles and other such brain teasers
3. Getting outside and exercising on a regular basis
4. Writing letters or personal emails to others
5. Working on necessary homework (Theo is working through a Biblical Counseling course)
6. Cooking new recipes
7. Reading books!
8. Eating dinner at the table- every night. And reading Scripture together afterwards
9. Play a board/card game- we are getting pretty good at Boggle!
10. Planning/Planting our spring/summer garden and taking better care of our animals (got some new chicks!)
11. Actually responding to people’s texts! =) =) (I’m so bad at this usually, and now I know why…)
12. Sitting around and ENGAGING in good, and silly, conversation
13. Enjoying one special movie night a week (and the 30 minute conversation about which night would be best for it!)
14. Extended devotions, scripture memorization and journaling (I’m in no rush anymore!)
So, if you think we are saints for going a month without media…think again. It’s really difficult, it’s challenging. I’d rather watch something on Netflix than do a crossword puzzle after I finish this post. However, I really think it’s worth it. It’s worth a try- try it for a day, a week, a month, a season.
And if you have any ideas of things to keep us busy during this month…feel free to let me know! =)