last year i gave up facebook for lent and besides the obvious benefits of more purposeful time it had a lot of surprising (to me) spiritual effects too. the quick summary of the process of a 40 day deprivation of social media was that my internal chatter was significantly reduced, improved mental clarity and organization, and what time i was going to spend farting around online was instead spent in quiet meditation, prayer, and/or spiritual study. the main focus of my meditation seemed to revolve around why i felt the need to engage in such obsessive internet connection/hyper connectivity. oh boy you can get deep inside your own psyche when youre trying to dig up that kind of stuff.
so this year i'm doing the same but including twitter in with facebook. it's day 2 of lent and i wonder if i should up my game. i am not struggling at all with temptation to sign on. last year that was a big part of the beginning of the 40 days, the exertion of willpower, etc. right off the bat i notice how my internal monolog is constantly streaming in 140 characters and my mind keeps thinking of clever or interesting things that i would otherwise take and put on twitter or facebook. that makes me feel very sad actually. like, i am seeing how my mind revolves and craves the interaction and input of others. YIKES. that's a scary mirror to gaze into! what lent is to me is channeling a distraction or something else "taking up space in my life" into something spiritual and focusing on God. when i start thinking of [insert distraction/thing you are abstaining from] it reminds me to pray or i take a moment and invite God into that space of discomfort.
one of my favorite podcasts is called "pray as you go" which is a daily bible study. bonus: the folks who do it are british jesuits so they sound super cool and cultured talking about God. i listened to one recently, the one for friday the 24th, and it made me hone my goals/theme for this lent. the podcast, which you should seriously listen to! it's only 12 minutes! gave great insight into the fact that the life of a Christian should be marked by bringing life, unyolking the burdened, justice-loving, etc. it certainly, oddly, reminded me of the 90s films trainspotting with it's "choose life" rhetoric. LOL at that juxtaposition! however it has made me focus more and want more of my being to be marked by life giving, helping, nurturing, serving, loving, community, sharing, etc. so that is my daily prayer now. every day our church circulates a reading and reflection and today someone posted a simple prayer that i am planning to keep with me for the next 40 days. it says:
“God, remove from me every defect of character that stands in the way of my usefulness to you and others.”
amen amen amen
so the next 40 days will be spent in hourly contemplation of how i might be more life giving to those around me. another good insight that i read is to not focus on the "can't have" of the season of Lent, because really it isn't about denial at all. it's about making room to indulge on more of God by making room in ones life by putting something aside. i admit that until now in my life i have only really associated Lent with self denial. what a bad attitude. but hey i'm working on that.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.