I don’t do Lent. I just don’t. I have tried to give something up for Lent in the past and generally fail within a week. I was once challenged my Sr year of high school to give up heavy metal music. Mind you, most of what I listen to is Christian (*cough*becoming the archetype, demon hunter*cough*). My goodness, that was hard. Very very hard. Never again.
This year, things are different. I am the youth director at a United Methodist church. We do observe lent apparently. Being in the leadership, it’s probably best for me to lead by example. My pastor is giving up coffee. He made the “joke” that I should give up tea. To quote a friend after I told him this: “Not even funny”. I drink tea for many reasons. And due to depression, I can’t give it up. For more information on why tea is a manly drink, check out this article from the Art of Manliness. Tea stays.
With that being said Facebook, Instagram, and most all forms of social media (blogging excluded) go. I am also giving up soda and tasty adult beverages (because I need to cut back). The most challenging of these is by far Facebook and Instagram. As much as I hate to admit it, I do have a slight case of tech addiction induced by social media. Facebook and Instagram are massive time draining black holes of despair filled with random posts, pictures, videos, thoughts, and memes. Oh goodness, the memes. I have tried to give it up before and have failed. Facebook is so frustrating and depressing these days, especially in the current post-election atmosphere. Everyone has an opinion that they think is important, though most just seem to be a copy and paste of someone else’s ideas. And then there is Instagram, which is fun. Yet I stare at that almost just as much as Facebook. I need to work on actual photography, which is something I am trying to do over at The Kilted Artist.
Both of these have produced a bad habit: me staring at my phone for hours on end. I get bored, I open up Facebook or Instagram. Granted, I do post more to Instagram than facebook. I am trying to do more than just give up Facebook. It also makes me compare myself to others, reinforcing the feeling of inadequacy. I am trying to do something more constructive with my time. It’s also a time that I want to give back to God. This includes more than just reading the bible and praying. It’s about how I use my time to learn, create, and grow for the glory of God.
As a result, I have set up a few new goals and challenges to go along with this. The due to cutting back soda and tasty adult beverages, I am trying to eat healthier and drink even MORE TEA. As for staring at my phone for hours on end, well if I am going to be staring at my phone I might as well read a book. I am going to see how many books I can read before Easter. Might be 1, might be more. I want to increase in knowledge so I may be able to help others with what I learn. I am also taking several courses on Udemy. I am trying to get through 7 of the smaller courses this next month, 2 of which are programming courses. Another thing I am attempting to improve is my blogging and writing. I want to post at least one new blog a week on each of my blogs (The Kilted Artist, Stephan Hughes, and possibly stephanhughes.tech[the URL went up in price, likely discarding]). On here, I want a unique photo taken specifically for the blog. That helps me out with the creative aspect. I also started using Grammarly to help improve my writing. My grammar and spelling are horrible, to say the least. It’s something I desperately need to improve. And of course, over on The Kilted Artist, this means I need to be producing new content on a weekly basis.
Staying away from Facebook, Instagram, soda and tasty adult beverages for 40+ days is not going to be easy. At the time of this posting, I am 2 1/2 weeks in and it is a struggle. Social media withdraw is a real thing. Yet I intend to keep it, hoping that it pays off in the end. We shall see. We shall see. But the whole point of this isn’t just to give something up. It’s to improve, not only myself but my service in Christ Jesus.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”