D.L. Mayfield

living in the upside-down kingdom

Filtering by Tag: no Facebook

The Great Lent Experiment (AKA our own "mutiny against excess") Week 3: Media

In case you missed it, I wrote about possessions week here.

I never thought I would be one of those people. You know, those who watch current shows on TV. Like, watch an episode every week. I used to be really busy and then watch an entire season of some show on the rare weekend I had a chance. And for some reason, I watched more movies.

Now, TV is the way the hubs and I relax at night. We work alternating nights and the baby wakes up real early, so we usually watch one 20 minute episode of something nearly every night. I don't know how it happened, it just did.

I have always admired people who did "kill your TV" week or month or year, but it never crossed my mind that I should do that. But then I gave up Facebook (for all intents and purposes) and that was not even a big deal. Out of all the weeks, this one seems like the one I most DON'T want to surrender. So I am sure I need it, badly.

We over here are giving up all TV/movies/facebook/twitter/pinterest. Even the baby, who has become alarmingly hooked on Elmo (I really don't know how I am going to cook dinner without that 20 minute reprieve during the "witching hour". Which makes me realize that this is getting ridiculous). We will still listen to music (and the occasional podcast? I dunno. You guys need to act as my counsel and tell me if you think that is media). I am still going to read my blogs via googlereader, but only once in the morning.

I am excited to read more books. I am currently reading Interrupted  by Jen Hatmaker and The Barefoot Church  by her husband, Brandon. I am re-reading The irresistable Revolution by Shane Claiborne, because we all need a little inspiration for creativity. I am also reading Still  by Lauren Winner (the jury is still out on that one) and maaaaaybe am re-reading the Hunger Games in anticipation of the movie. Maybe. Plus, the ol' Bible and Common Prayer: a Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals. And a bunch of Christian parenting books.


Before I get too enmeshed with all the reading and the brain-spinning that happens as a result of reading, let me just say that so far Lent has been a season for actively seeking the voice of God. And listening. And waiting. And receiving--just not in the ways that I would expect. But it has been very encouraging to experience that His voice is all around, and sometimes we just need to take some small, sacrificial steps in order to hear it. And I expect that from this week as well.

Ok, after all that ranting, here is the breakdown for this next week:

Week three: Media: We are a culture that loves to be entertained. How much more space for others (and God) can we create by shutting off all of our devices for a week? This will be a great chance to practice old-fashioned community and hospitality. Fill up the silence with good things: worship music, good books, coffee with friends, or just hanging out with your family.

Practical Fasts: Commit to a week without media: no facebook, twitter, pinterest, television (hulu) or movies. Limit cell phone and e-mail usage

Prayer: Use this week to focus on communicating with God, allowing silence and a space for listening in your relationship. Use your downtime to get together with other Lenten observers and pray together in true community!

How was week 2? What are you doing for week 3? Let me know!

One month without Facebook

Time for an update on the No-Facebook experiment.

January was awesome. 

I loved not being on Facebook. It was ridiculously easy. I thought I would have all sorts of withdrawals and not be in the loop, but I was fine. My in-box was quieter than normal and I didn't have a thousand inane details about random people's lives to clutter my thoughts with, and I was OK with that.

Here is the good:

I read. A LOT. I truly had no idea how much time I would spend checking my facebook, then checking my 3 (!) e-mail accounts, then browsing pinterest, and then checking facebook again. In the mornings I would check my e-mail, read my blogs (via googlereader, which is such a time saver in of itself) and basically be done. It was hard to wean myself out of the habit of flipping open the laptop anytime the baby was asleep/distracted, but I am getting better (not perfect, but better).

So with my oodles of extra free time (said only with a hint of sarcasm, since the baby is prone to 1 one-hour nap these days) I would plop down with a book and engage my brain and heart and will for at least 30 minutes a day. It was amazing. I eschewed fake camaraderie in order to wrestle with some deep and lovely thoughts, and came out energized and ready to wrestle a cranky toddler. I was worried I would feel lonely, but instead I burrowed in the comfort of good books.

I didn't compare my life to anyone else's. Yeah, in January I didn't go out to any cool restaurants or bars or art openings or social justice fundraisers or concerts and I never got the chance to sit in a coffee shop and take a picture of my chocolate croissant with my instagram app and I didn't run through the rain in wellingtons and a mustard-yellow cardigan and and and.

I just lived my life. Full of its own drama and monotony. For awhile, I felt bad. The entire world was being deprived of my witty status updates! And then I realized nobody cared (plus, I was never that witty).

After week one, I stopped thinking in 140 characters. I stopped reshaping my life to fit into an update.

And so help, I feel free.

I made space for God. Social Media is all tied up with narcissism and voyeurism for me. Perhaps it is not that way for you: great. But I am constantly having to battle my own feelings of restlessness and a need for recognition. Relegating myself to a more isolated existence felt scary. Instead, I found the time and space for a rich inner life and on-going conversation with the Spirit. Although there were a few days where I checked pinterest a little obsessively, and I did try out twitter a tiny bit, on the whole I let myself truly stop trying to interact with everybody. If I ate something delicious, I told Jesus about it. If I found music I liked, I told Jesus. If I was reading something amazing, me and Jesus would hash it out.

It was pretty awesome. And now that I am back in this groove, I don't ever want to go back to my "refresh page" kind of life.

And with that said . . .

On February 1st I logged back into my Facebook account to link to my blog/column. (As it turns out, nobody reads your blog unless you promote it at least a tiny bit. As it also turns out, I can't quit blogging and am learning to deal with the narcissistic aspects of that as another facet of my growth this year).

In the past week I have logged in about every other day or so, usually to look at photos of my friends who are having babies like it is nobody's business (it's like a baby boom out there right now).

I have decided to keep my account, and to use it to link to my various articles/blogs, and to use it for important things like babies and birthday party invites. It is amazing how everything from signing up to bring a friend a meal to graduation parties all take place on FB now. And with the possibility of us moving far, far away looming on the horizon, I don't feel it is wise to cut off all communication right now.

But friends, I am done with the status updates and all that. I have made a committment not to update my status or get sucked into reading others for the next good while. And once you step back for awhile, you realize how trivial it can get in there. I don't need anything more inane in my life; I have quite enough as it is.

So I can't say I am %100 off Facebook. But in all the important ways, I am done.

Facebook, I thought I couldn't quit you. But it turns out it is one of the easiest things I have ever done.

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