Recently, I felt the need to partake in a time of fasting. By recently, I mean it's been a thought in the back of my mind since last November, but I never took the time to actually do it until now. It may have taken me a few months to muster up the initiative, but I'm so glad that I chose to fast.
When I was in middle school, my youth group would do the Thirty-Hour Famine every year, but that was the only experience I really had when it came to fasting. Webster's Dictionary defines the term "fasting" as, "abstain[ing] from food" or "eat[ing] sparingly." However, in recent years, fasting has taken on a broader meaning. Now, people fast a whole slew of things - including television, weekends out on the town, cell phone usage, drinking, etc.
For my period of fasting, I chose to fast the entire month of February and to fast from all of my social media platforms. That means I deleted my Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram apps so that I couldn't absentmindedly start scrolling.
A little backstory: I'm a leader for one of the campus ministries at Longwood University and, as part of our team, we hosted a worship retreat over a Friday and Saturday this past February. Prior to the start of the month, our adult leader asked us to pray about fasting something of our choice leading up to the retreat. I knew this was my opportunity to finally fast social media. However, one change I made was, instead of only fasting until the retreat occurred, I would fast the entire month.
So, the first step I made was deleting all the apps from my phone. From there, I didn't have to do anything else except fill that extra time with other, more productive activities. Personally, I spent the extra free time doing homework, reading my bible, or reading a book for fun instead of schoolwork.
Now, having made it through the month of fasting, I can honestly say it was definitely beneficial. It lowered my stress levels, supplied me with more time to be productive, and allowed me to detach from something that I had previously put a lot of stock into. I also made the decision, moving forward, to take at least 1-2 days every week to detach from social media.
If you have the opportunity to take a break from social media, I absolutely recommend it. You don't have to do it for a whole month, it could be a week's span or even a day. All that matters, is you take a minute to breath without focusing on what the rest of the social world is doing and saying.