By Rev. Marty Levesque
Sometimes it’s necessary to disconnect from the world to reconnect with God. Sometimes it’s necessary to reorder our priorities to notice what is happening with our souls. And even though we are well past Lent, it might be time to consider a digital fast this summer and to put down our phones.
Do you spend much of your time living online, instead of engaging with people? Has the pandemic made this worse? Do you feel most of your conversations are virtual, either through text or Zoom? Do you pour over pictures on Facebook or Instagram for hours thinking, “Why doesn’t my life look like that?”
The power of digital fasting can help give perspective to our lives and also to make sure our attention is on the priorities of our lives.
Here are five tips for a digital fast.
1) Start with why? What do I hope to gain?
2) Define your rules. For instance, check your email once a day, no social media, no video games or television?
3) Remove temptation and declutter your phone. Remove your social media apps.
4) Plan an activity or two, whether that is going for a walk, gardening or connecting physically with a friend for coffee.
5)Reflect on the fast. If you decide on a week-long fast, make sure to block some time to think about what the past week has been like. How do you feel? What, if anything, did you miss?
In the end, my takeaway from the digital fast is simple: less is more. We all know that, but few of us are willing to do it. I'm convinced almost all of us would be happier, healthier, holier, and more productive if we checked email less, checked social media less, turned on the television less, went to the movies less, and picked up our phones less. We would look up and see each and the world around us, truly seeing each other as the beautiful children God created.
Rev. Marty Levesque is the diocesan social media officer and rector of All Saints’ in Waterloo. firstname.lastname@example.org