I am practicing Lent for the first time, ever. I find Catholicism to be a rich, beautiful branch (some may say, the trunk) of Christianity. I love the idea of giving up something that distracts from Christ. The idea of giving up two things has been pulsing in my heart lately, for months. Though it may seem silly to put such weight on seemingly frivolous subjects, to me this Lenten season is so much more than just abstaining from something that makes me feel a little guilty. I've been feeling God call me to put a break on two things heavily, and I figured now was as good a time as any to obey: social media and purchasing wants.
Here's why I'm giving them up.
Social media is so distracting to me. I find myself checking my phone at any quiet moment during the day -- first thing in the morning, meal time, when the kids have quiet play time in their room, while I'm making meals, or even just to catch a breath in between kissing ouchies and sweeping the floor and folding laundry. It's not like I have all the time in the world to sit on my butt and peruse Facebook, but often my day turns into just that. Social media is like crack to me, I'm embarrassed to admit, and it sucks me in! It's quick, it's available in a click, and it's easy to pick up and put down again in a moment. I tell my kids movies and computer games are like junk food for the brain. Once I pop, I can't stop.
Buying wants means anything from those cute sticky notes in the dollar aisle at Target, a cup of coffee at Barnes & Noble, or cheap and adorable home decor at Marshall's (so dangerous). This also ties in with my social media crack -- I love home decor and I'm always looking at decor on Pinterest and Instagram. In actuality, I don't spend a lot of money on things, and I don't think buying something now and then is bad. But when it contributes to a sense of discontent, and thinking, "If only I had this new throw pillow, my living room would look perfect," or "all I want to do right now is relax and just spend ten bucks at a thrift store," then to me, there's a problem. If I'm spending a chunk of my time scrolling through cute homes on Pinterest, but feel there isn't enough time in my day to pray for my kids and crack open my Bible, there's a problem.
This Lent, I really want to shift my focus. I think part of the reason these two things have been on my heart is because I really yearn for simplicity and order. I get overwhelmed with housework and noise, but I know social media contributes to this a lot. For whatever reason, I am very short with my kids when I'm using social media -- I yell more and my patience is zapped. And refraining from buying little things while I'm out and about will be a great lesson in restraint and self-control.
I want my focus to be on my family and on Christ. I hope Lent teaches me a good lesson... I'm on day 5 and already thinking of giving up social media for good. Of course, I'll see how I feel about that in another 35 days... :) My mind is so quiet, and for the record, my home has been in perfect order for five days straight. And I don't think this is a coincidence!