Making Room - Part 2
Turn my eyes away from what is worthless! Revive me with your word!
Psalm 119:37 (NET Bible)
I am not sure I have a complete grasp on it, and I won't try to be exhaustive at this point, but I strongly believe one of the main reasons is to remind us of how important something is. In this case, I "fast" from social and secular media in order to pursue a stronger connection with God. When I deny myself certain "comforts" it is partly to remind myself that my spiritual life is more valuable than these comforts.
I am not sure. I have been doing the January Media Fast for about 4 years and each time it has been a little different. For example, I no longer delete Facebook, since there are people who only seem to contact me through it, and it is also how I contact large groups of people. I simply stop checking Facebook. Unless I have to post something to the church page, or unless my wife tells me someone is trying to contact me, I refuse to open it. The notifications are turned off.
I don't listen to secular music, but I define "secular" in a specific way. I mean I don't listen to music that is not classical or Christian. But under these categories I include music that helps me focus when I am writing or reading even when the music is not exactly classical or Christian. I hope that makes sense.
I used to avoid all videos, now I have made exceptions for TED talks, sermons, or educational videos. I don't watch any videos for mindless entertainment.
Does it help?
It helps me grow spiritually. When I cut off social media, secular music, movies and shows, the news, click-bait, etc. I find myself able to think more deeply about spiritual things. I find myself pondering bigger questions about life. As my mind quiets down from all the distractions, I can ponder the things that I am feeding my mind. When I stop the inflow of secular media I replace it either with silence or Christian/sacred media (music, videos, books, etc) I find myself thinking more often about spiritual things. I am not thinking about politicians, or shows, or celebrities, or whatever secular music brings to mind. All those things tend to fade away and are replace by those things I chose to think about.
I think about the content of the books I choose to read, the songs I chose to listen to, and the things I am praying about. I am not saying all the media that is not classified as "sacred" is evil, but I do find that it distracts me from the sacred.
Personally I find that the fast helps me ponder more carefully what kind of media I will consume once the fast has ended. I am strict for one month and I believe it allows me to make better decisions regarding what will be a part of my life in the following months.
The fast ultimately frees up time. Without the usual distractions I am in better control to decide what to do with my new found time. I can pray, I can read the Bible or other Christian books I have been wanting to read, I can listen to sermons, etc. I recognize I can do those things without the fast, but the fast also allows for my mind to ponder what I am reading or studying throughout the day. There is no show or movie to distract me. No social media posts to interrupt me. My thoughts are more focused. I become more productive in every area of life, because I am less distracted. I simply choose to focus especially on spiritual things.
I would like to challenge you to try a media fast. I'll leave the parameters up to you, but they should be strict enough to make a noticeable difference. The "pain" you feel at not having access to your Instagram or Snapchat will remind you of your commitment to spiritual growth and how you value your relationship with God more than the latest episode of you favorite show, or whatever the president has done more recently.
Ultimately its your choice. But I think you would be surprised by how beneficial a long term media fast can be!
Post Script - The audio is not the same as the text, though the topic is the same. I would recommend listening to the audio as well. It is short, under 10 min.
Another post that compliments this one well can be found here.