After a stint of obsessively opening the Instagram app to check on notifications, to the point I was checking every few minutes mindlessly, I decided that I needed to take a step back. I needed to reassess what God’s plans are for my use of social media as it seems to be a weak point for me.
I mainly use Instagram for my blog promotion. It’s hard not to get carried away with ideas for stories, IGTV, photos and captions. The stress and worry over building my Instagram following was overshadowing my original purpose for it. Not to mention precious hours upon hours would disappear to scrolling. I wouldn’t say I’m even addicted to Instagram or social media. My main issue with Instagram is the mindlessness of the scrolling and the highs and lows of notifications, the comparison trap, and never feeling ‘good enough.’
I do love Instagram; it is such a sound place for testimonials and encouragement and is all around a great medium for bloggers. But it does overwhelm me and I have to keep in check my motives for opening the app. The line between constructive time spent networking with other bloggers is easily muddled with the need for attention and absentminded scrolling.
So, over 7 days I fasted from Instagram. This is a combination of what I’ve learned and what God has revealed to me through this fast. I hope you find this encouraging.
Day 1: I craved the distraction.
The first day of my fast, I noticed every ‘dull moment.’ I itched to open up something to distract me. There were even moments I absentmindedly tried opening up Facebook (which I also tried to stay off of). I’m talking blackout absentminded opening of apps; it was to the point where Facebook would be loading and I’d blink and think, ‘What did I just do?’
Day 2: He gets straight to the point when He speaks to us.
On this day the Lord addressed an insecurity of mine with the reminder, “I am your constant.” I was sitting at the train station, left to my own devices without the normal distraction of scrolling. He’d weighed my heart and pinpointed the sorest spot in that silent moment. He reminded me, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26.
Day 3: God is able to use us when we aren’t distracted.
Stuart and I were driving to the shop after work one evening. Stuart had driven past an elderly man standing by the road several times within the hour and as we passed said to me, ‘Poor bloke, he’s been waiting there for ages,’ to which I replied, ‘I love your heart for others. Maybe you should go check to see if he’s okay?’
I could see the wheels turning in his head. He knew it was probably the right thing to do. Initially he decided against it as he was seemingly waiting on the bus. I encouraged him though; I could see he was double minded about it and said, ‘You should probably go with your first instinct.’
So he’d dropped me off at home and went back to speak with the man. It turns out the man had dementia and took the wrong bus. He wasn’t sure where he was or how he should get home. He’d been waiting on a bus that wasn’t going to come. If I’d been sat on Instagram whilst this happened, I may not have encouraged him to go check on the man.
Day 4: His Word really is living.
My mind was clearing up a bit. I was looking forward to my devotionals and prayer/meditation on the Word. It’s been a long time since I’ve hungered for the Word. His Word stopped being words on a page, or an app, and became the song of my heart in a time of fasting. I looked forward to digesting the fruit of his Word.
Day 5: We have to train our hearts and minds to trust in Him.
The Lord reminded me that I haven’t had my eyes on the prize. My heart’s compass has been out of whack. I should’ve known the moment my intention was to “share” something before meditating on what the Lord was trying to address in my own heart.
Of all my worries and anxieties he says, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3 He’s reminded me to put my trust in Him above my schedule, ambitions, and anxieties.
Day 6: He works out the details.
He reminded me I’m equipped to carry out my mission. Look at Gideon, who was a lanky farmer called by God to raise up an army. A classic zero to hero story. We’re all zeroes to heroes in our own way, in our own unique calling from God. God doesn’t call us to something and leave us stranded without help. He raises us up to do what He’s called us to do and He’ll work out the details. We simply need to train our eyes on Him and follow His direction.
Day 7: The Lord will meet us where we are.
How many times have I heard this and thought, ‘well, still, I should do more.’ This fast has opened my eyes to the burden of guilt I’ve been carrying and how quick He is to remove it from our shoulders when we agree to rise to the occasion. I could’ve thought, ‘well, still, I should do more,’ and continued to ignore a calling to fast from distractions.
Instead, I said, ‘Yes, Lord,’ and deleted the app. He showed up and met my trying with gladness. Sometimes, yes, we can do more. But we don’t have to carry the guilt. Instead, we can take a step toward the Lord in the form of repentance and fasting. He’s quick to respond to our trying.
All in all, I learned that the Lord isn’t being silent toward me. I was too distracted to listen. I should’ve known it was my ears and not his voice. I kept my eyes trained on Him for one week and the Lord has given me encouragement ten fold. I would definitely encourage you to try and cut out the distractions that you battle with for one week too, whether that’s Instagram or something else.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my experience with fasting (for the first time ever!) and that you’re encouraged to try it, too. Have a blessed week!