What I Learned From a Week of Social Media Detox

Life is toxic. I mean, c’mon. Life can really be demanding at times and to be honest, social media doesn’t even make it any better. Yet, I still get caught up with the, “Okay, just a few minutes before I start doing –insert more important stuff here– but end up wasting hours doing nothing really substantial”.

My usual daily routine starts by checking my phone. At night, I go to bed after browsing my news feed. Sometimes I eat my meals looking at IG stories. Cab rides is for uploading feed content. Also, waiting in lines became a bit tolerable because I can browse latest tweets. I know right? I am such a Millenial. I am even guilty of not turning off my phone’s WIFI connection for a whole day.

Well, last week was CCBC’s prayer and fasting week. I participated last year too and I tried to fast different things for 5 days. This year, I decided to just stick with one, and that is to take a break from social media. My reason? Let’s just say that I want to stop listening to what the world says but instead focus on what God could be telling me at this point in my life. And here are few things I learned during the week:

1. I survived!
I cannot believe it! 7 days of not checking my notifications or browsing thru my feed, I deserve one big bowl of Ramen Nagi! I used to hibernate from Facebook in the past but still use other social media platforms so this one’s an achievement! It felt weird during the first few days but eventually, I was able to get it out of my system. This also means I was able to save my phone’s battery big time. No more double/triple battery charging in a day.

Aside from surviving the challenge, I was also able to focus on the more important tasks on hand. Taking away the source of distraction, it surely leveled up my game of productivity last week. Yaaay!

2. Idle moments became a time for reflection and prayer
It was a Wednesday and I was waiting for Darel. Normally, when we agree to meet somewhere and I happen to arrive there early, I would get my phone and start browsing. However, last week was different. Tempted to take out my phone, I remembered that I am off limits to social media so I decided to just do nothing. Suddenly, he called and told me that the traffic is getting to his nerves. When we hung up, I started praying. I prayed for the traffic to ease up, his patience, and safety while on the road. Then, I started to observe the things around me. It took a good few minutes before I asked myself, “When was the last time I actually paused and observed people/ things like this?”

3. It all boils down to LOVE
Wait. Whuts? What does love have anything to do with detoxifying from social media? Well, A LOT. The topic for this year’s prayer and fasting is dealing with issues of the heart. The Bible says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23)

Let’s face it. What we see on the internet stirs up something within us. What we see, more often than not, creates this feeling of jealousy and greed. Also, sometimes what we post is dictated by the issue of pride. We want to look good in the eyes of other people. We are afraid to become someone/something that people won’t notice or approve of. On the other hand and most of the time, our judgmental selves always have a feast every time we go online. Like how we develop this feeling of being annoyed or irritated towards someone just because this certain person posted something which we don’t like. On a normal day, our hearts deal with different issues caused by social media.

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But how do we combat these issues?
Well, the answer is love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-13 teaches us how to love:

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

I’m not saying that it’s bad to have your daily dose of social media, but if it starts to dictate how you think, feel and respond to people and different aspects of your personal life, it might be good to do some detox once in a while. Remember, you are cleansing your system from all the toxins of your heart. Take a break. Ponder on what it means to love. Then the next time you go online, practice it.

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