Wednesday morning I deleted the Facebook app from my phone.
I’d been contemplating doing so for a while and was pretty sure it would be a good idea, but I kept putting it off. The thought had popped into my head that Lent was approaching, and if I didn’t think of something else to give up for Lent prior to its commencement, I could always delete the Facebook app then. That thought was followed pretty quickly by the thought that I should probably think about it more (perhaps try to come up with something else?!), but I remember nothing more from that train of thought – I suspect one of the small people with whom I live and spend every waking moment may have interrupted it at that point 🙂
So without my giving the matter much more thought, Lent arrived on Wednesday morning, and I decided to take a chance and delete the app.
The two things that stood out to me as about the Lenten season, the 40 days leading up to Easter, during my childhood were: (1) the priest at our Episcopalian church wore purple vestments, and I loved that – so much richer, more beautiful than the standard green; and (2) some of my friends – primarily those raised in the Catholic tradition – had to choose something to give up for Lent. I was glad I didn’t have to do that.
And here I am, years later, committed to a phone-sans-Facebook for the next 37 days.
I don’t feel bound by the traditional practice of giving up something for Lent. But 12+ years into this journey of faith to which I’ve committed myself, living a life of being pulled in multiple directions each day and finding it easy to become distracted from what is truly important, I take comfort in the rhythms of spiritual life in which hundreds and thousands of saints have walked before me. I want to live in light of the reality that Easter Sunday is the climax of the year, the triumph of Life over death, the celebration of Christ’s victory in all and over all…and I want to acknowledge that in more than just planning a menu and outfits for the day itself. I want to be consciously anticipating that day when we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection and His restoration of the opportunity for us to draw near to God Himself. Honoring the tradition of Lent is one way in which I can do that.
And in my small step toward Him, I am already seeing blessing.
I am less distracted, more present throughout the days with my girls. I am praying more throughout the day. And I am seeing myself more clearly. The first day, I was purely grateful for the blessing of that increased presence with what I was really doing. But yesterday and today? I crave the ability to pull up Facebook on my phone. After I turn off the alarm on my phone that wakes me in the morning, I instinctively reach my finger toward where the Facebook app used to be, and I am annoyed that I cannot scroll through my news feed before I get out of bed or interact with my family. When did a stream of brief updates from several hundred of my closest “friends” become more important than my husband and children? The girls and I return from our marathon morning of grocery shopping, and I find myself, from the bathroom, refereeing their impassioned argument over who would get to use the bench from their toy piano first (no, neither wanted to play with the toy piano, just the bench; yes, we own other actual toys), and I am itching to spend 5 minutes looking at Facebook. That sense of relational connection that comes without any corresponding expectation is so alluring. Since when do I prioritize relational comfortability over the opportunity to help my girls see themselves and their character and take advantage of these opportunities to learn and grow? In all of that, I am reminded of my need for a Savior, of my need for Good Friday and Easter. I look forward to the blessing of these coming weeks and to the celebration of Christ’s resurrection and His triumph over sin and death and evil.