Monthly Archives: April 2013

A Weekend without Social Media – My Review

Redeem the Time - A Review | Faith & Composition

On Friday, I challenged you to take the Redeem the Time – Mini Pledge. Several of you joined me in that experience, vowing to turn off social media for the weekend and instead focus on being fully engaged in the real moments of your days. A few of you have already contacted me to tell me how much you enjoyed the experience, and I’ve loved hearing from you! Abbey messaged me to say, “It was so refreshing not to mindlessly log on to social media and really focus on relaxing or getting projects finished around the house. I think this may be my weekend plan from here on out!” And Sarah left a comment saying: “I found that without CONSTANTLY checking what was new on Facebook and Pinterest that there was much more interesting and worthwhile new happening right there in front of me.”

My experience certainly echoes those sentiments. Turning off social media was a much-needed act of self-discipline. But once I vowed to keep it off for the weekend, I felt this small sense of impending freedom. It really feels a bit silly to write that. But the fact that I wasn’t tempted to fill my facebook and instagram feeds with witty updates and filtered images detailing my activities enabled me to just be, without the pressure (no matter how subtle) of “likes” or approving comments.

Looking back, I realize the pledge accomplished two things for me:

  1. Without the added noise of social media, my thoughts were less cluttered, more coherent. My head wasn’t constantly interrupted by status updates, and I found some mental rest … something I’ve been needing desperately! As for the thoughts that did come to me, they were mine. I didn’t broadcast them to the world, and (barring a few exceptions), I didn’t feel the need to share them publicly. Luke chapter 2 tells of the shepherds who came to visit Jesus’ birth. While there, they shared what the angels proclaimed to them about Jesus. And Luke 2:19 says, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” I don’t know about you, but I need to practice more pondering.

  2. I shared in my last post that social media dangles that ugly carrot of comparison front and center. Why? Because most people don’t post about their mundane activities. It’s not the average day that gets mentioned, it’s the notable moments. And even then, we tend to prettify them. So when we see a friend post images of her recent vacation or read of her remodel, and we then look around us and see that the baby has just spit up, the dog has tracked in mud, crumbs litter the floor, and the two-year-old has her hair stuck around a Thomas the Tank Engine wheel (which may just be my exact view at the moment) it’s easy to compare our current circumstances to our friends’ highlight reels. Now I’m certainly not saying that it’s wrong to share exciting moments via social media. We’re social creatures, and we want others to share the joyous moments with us (I do my fair share)! But when we’re a constant consumer of other people’s pretty online lives, it’s easy to get a bit jaded.

All in all, the weekend was much needed and quite beneficial for me. And I realized how much influence I’ve given social media in my own life. As a result, I’m going to be cutting my usage back a bit. I’m not turning it off, because it certainly serves some great purposes when managed wisely (it’s a fantastic mode of staying in contact with friends and family). However, I will be making more of an effort to be a better steward. And I may even make the Redeem the Time pledge a regular weekend practice!

What about you? How did the pledge affect your weekend? If you took part in it, please comment and share your experience! We’d all love to hear your thoughts.

If you want to explore a bit more about social media and the comparison issue, this article is a great read.  

Redeem the Time – Mini Pledge {A Weekend without Social Media}

RedeemTheTime - A Weekend without Social Media

This weekend I’m posting a challenge to myself, and I’d like you to join me. Knowing that I’m not going at this alone will make it a bit easier. So what’s the challenge? It’s a weekend without any social media, and I’m calling it Redeem the Time – Mini Pledge. Sometime in the near future I’m going to work out the details for a more intensive Redeem the Time – Full Pledge. It will entail a break from more than just social media and for a longer time span, but for now, let’s get our toes wet with this mini version.

So why a weekend sans our favorite online social spots? While social media is a fantastic tool that can be used to accomplish a host of objectives, it also comes with quite a few pitfalls if not managed wisely. Namely, it monopolizes my time and keeps me tethered to my phone/computer, which prevents me from being fully engaged in the real moments of my days. And secondly, it dangles that ugly carrot of comparison front and center.

According to this study, the average American spends approximately three hours per day on social media. That number may seem shocking, but we all know how easily we can fall into the time warp. One glance at Facebook can lead down a never-ending rabbit hole. And don’t get me started on Pinterest. As much as I love it, I recognize that I give that little iPhone app way too much attention.

And unfortunately, when I’m engaging social media, I’m not fully engaging the people or the moments around me. When I’m looking at my phone, I’m not watching my kids; when I’m posting a status update, I’m not interacting with my husband; and while I’m browsing Pinterest kitchens, the dishes in my own sink are piling up. In short, when I spend too much time on social media, I’m missing out on the more important things right in front of me.

As for that ugly comparison issue that we’re so prone to as women, Facebook and Pinterest can be the worst. I’ve written before about feeling like a failure as a mother, and social media is a big source of fuel for that fire. When I read a fellow mom who posted about her trip to the spa, a vacation, her house remodel or the fact that her three-year-old is reading, it’s so easy to begin comparing my circumstances to hers. And when I’m browsing Pinterest-worthy homes, I can easily fall into that trap of dissatisfaction and an ungrateful heart.

I want to be diligent in my use of social media so it can serve as an effective tool in my life, rather than having it steal my time and my gratefulness. So it’s high time I address these issues. Are you in this with me? I sure hope so, because I’d love to have you! Here are the rules.

THE RULES

Be committed. No social media from 5 pm Friday to 8 am Monday; that includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and (eek!) Pinterest.

Be accountable. Commit to the weekend with a friend, broadcast on Facebook that you’ll be taking the pledge, pin the image to note that you’re in. It doesn’t really matter how you do it, but tell someone who can hold you accountable. And if you are diving in with me, I’d love it if you’d leave a comment here!

Be intentional. The purpose of this pledge is to redeem the time, so be wise in how you’re spending the hours you would otherwise be squandering online. Engage your family, open a book, pick up a camera, have a lengthy quiet time, start a project, take some time to rest. It’s not so much the what that matters. Rather it’s the fact that you’re replacing wasted time with something of value.

Be reflective. When you’ve finished the pledge, think about the weekend and how the simple act of turning off social media impacted you and your family. If it made a positive impact, commit to spending less time online moving forward.

Be an Encourager. Tell someone how the weekend affected you, namely in an effort to encourage this practice for others. I’ll be sharing my experience right her, and if you’re so inclined, please come back and leave a comment about your experience. I’d love reading it! And I’m sure others would to!

Are you ready? Let’s go!

Working Miracles

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If you read my previous post, you know my cousin was in an accident a week and a half ago where he suffered a severe concussion and several skull fractures. At the time, the prognosis for his recovery was unknown.

Today I am happy to share that Erik has made incredible progress, and the prognosis looks good. My uncle shared recently that he is responding well to therapists, is eating, is less agitated, and is beginning to process the fact that he sustained a severe head injury. It is doubtful that he will ever remember the accident or the week following, but his short-term memory is returning.

One week following the accident, my uncle posted this to his facebook page. I share it with you to encourage you that our God still works miracles!

From my uncle: “I am not a very emotional or openly spiritual person, but Erik’s recovery cannot be classified as anything but ‘miraculous.’ If the next statement offends you, I apologize but; God is great and can perform miracles. … I do not discount medical intervention, and we are blessed to live in a country that can handle emergencies such as this, but I also cannot comprehend the amazing recovery Erik demonstrated without an acknowledgement of a God who defies our logic. There is an Eternal Father that upholds us through difficulty; and I am unable to find any reason not to trust Him for Erik’s advances.”

Thank you to all who prayed! Please continue to do so, and remember that God still works miracles. Just watch and see!