My life is in a bit of a transition right now. Maybe I am just a late bloomer, but now that I am in the second half of my thirties I am trying to be more intentional in everything I do. I have decluttered the excess possessions from my home, I have decluttered negative people from my life, and am trying to be purposeful in spending my time and energy.
But somehow there is still a sense that life is happening to me instead of me making it happen. Days turn into weeks and I haven’t accomplished what I set out to. I often say that busyness is a sign of misaligned priorities, but then I find myself rushing to meet a deadline, or feeling overwhelmed and drained.
Recently I picked up a book that has brought clarity to what is out of sync in my life. What Falls From The Sky by Esther Emery chronicles the year that she decided to completely give up the internet. The subtitle is ” how I disconnected from the internet and reconnected with the God who made the clouds.” I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I selected this book, but the idea of giving up the internet was intriguing to me.
Esther and her husband found themselves in a new city after a personal and professional crisis had turned her world upside down. She almost flippantly decided to give up the internet for a year, even though that meant no blogging and losing connection with over 400 people. She expected some big epiphany. It didn’t come.
“I didn’t feel it happening when my speed kicked up so high that I was no longer grounded. I didn’t feel it happening when I became inauthentic, or deceitful, or when my husband and I completely lost touch with each other.”
I’m an extreme introvert. I’ve joked for years about being a hermit, but only recently have I realized just how much interaction, especially on social media, drains me. I’ve been struggling to find a healthy balance with my iPhone and failing. I am a self-employed hairstylists, so my clients contact me via my phone or Facebook. I have a teenager who needs to be able to get ahold of me. And I have countless friends and family that I feel obligated to answer as soon as their message hits my phone. I have made myself far too available, and now I feel that I am on-call 24/7. I’ve justified this gluttony of social media and messaging because this is how I earn a living, doing hair and writing this blog. But it has left my spirit completely drained.
“But can the computer replace what it so effectively imitates? In the last few months before I dropped off the internet, I had come near to living a wholly electronic life. I was in danger of giving up entirely on real people.”
In the year that Esther gave up the internet she sought community in church, through writing letters and sending them through good, old fashioned snail mail, and through a landline phone. She read, she took up gardening, but most of all she broke through a lot of old hurts and wounds.
“I try to imagine the ‘spiritual power to be at leisure,’ and I don’t know what that is, but I know that whatever it is, it is something I want.”
Eventually she came back to the internet. She started blogging again, and connecting on Facebook. But she found it wasn’t quite the same. After a year of forging real connections with people, the internet rang a bit more hollow. Once she was living life with purpose and intention it was nearly impossible to go back to relating to a screen. She ended up deleting her Facebook account.
Esther still blogs and has a YouTube channel, but her story inspired me to try an experiment of my own. Facebook is my favorite and least favorite place on the internet. I waste hours of my day scrolling through cat videos and thoughts that someone did not filter from their brain to their page. It often leaves me feeling negative and overwhelmed, yet I still find myself clicking over to my page incessantly throughout the day. I’ve contemplated deleting my Facebook profile altogether, but some of the companies I write for require that I share the content on Facebook.
A while ago I installed Rescue Time on my computer. It tracks where I spend time on the internet, then emails me a weekly report. I was absolutely stunned when I first started receiving those weekly reports. By far the most time is spent
wasted on Facebook. Even while I have been writing this post I have been distracted by that little notification that something new has happened on Facebook.
Starting on February 1st, I am going to take a Facebook fast. That means I will delete all of the Facebook apps from my phone, and I will NOT check it on my computer for 7 days. I will alert my friends and clients that they will have to contact me another way because I wont be checking my Facebook messages. I wont be posting on my blog Facebook page either, which is scary for me. If I am quiet for a week will I come back to no audience?
Facebook Fast Challenge
If Facebook has been a time-waster, or a negative in your life I invite you to join me on this 7 day Facebook fast. Theres no rules or requirements to join, just stay off of Facebook for 7 days. I will stay active on Instagram, so you can follow some updates there if you like. If you post updates of your own, tag them with #plaidfuzzFBfast so I can follow along, too.
I’m hoping to really gain some insight into where Facebook fits into my life, and how it is affecting my communication and friendships. I may not have a life-altering epiphany in a week’s time, but I am definitely excited to give it a try.