Why I am Giving Up Facebook For Lent

17
"Why I am Giving Up Facebook for Lent" by Amanda Torres (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2017 Amanda Torres. All rights reserved.

The idea of giving Facebook up for Lent is usually met with two types of criticism. First is that the idea that giving up something like Facebook for Lent is pathetic and essentially the height of privilege. The second is that we shouldn’t give it up, but instead use it to glorify God, as a tool of evangelization. While I don’t disagree with either of these generalizations, I think both sort of miss the point.

Facebook is a Pathetic Lenten Sacrifice

To address the first issue, I honestly have to answer, yes, it is a relatively pathetic sacrifice, especially in light of the Cross or even any magnitude of human suffering experienced throughout history and presently. But the point of a Lenten sacrifice isn’t to seek out the most horrific form of torture you can endure and suffer for the sake of suffering. The point is to be conscious of what is pulling you away from realizing your holiness, away from God, and deny yourself it that you might experience of conversion of heart. So naturally, that is going to look radically different for everyone. And, perhaps embarrassingly, the one thing that I have found pulls me away the most is Facebook.

I have made it a practice to fast from Facebook on Fridays and I have noticed a drastic difference in my mood, in the work I am able to accomplish, and in my prayer life. It is so easy to tell yourself you are just going to check Facebook for a few minutes only to get sucked in for an hour. Many of the New Year’s Resolutions I made this year are already woefully behind and I suspect the time wasted on Facebook plays a role. I don’t pray nearly as often as I should because it is easier to check Facebook for 5 minutes than start a Rosary. But, the most convicting is seeing that my relationships are suffering. I am not as attentive to my kids if I am scrolling Facebook. I have found that my husband and I will make plans to watch a movie and a few minutes in I am no longer paying attention because I am looking at my phone. The saddest part is I usually don’t even notice that I am doing it. I subconsciously reach for my phone and open Facebook, out of habit.

Don’t Give it Up, Use it to Evangelize

For a lot of people, this is a very good and admirable practice. Perhaps after I have undergone some detachment this Lent it is something I can try next Lent. However, at this point, telling me to continue to use Facebook but only for good is akin to telling an alcoholic that it is fine to be a social drinker. There, I said it. I have a Facebook addiction. Okay, that is a slight hyperbole—but there is a dash of truth there.

I know many Catholic sites will have a strong presence on Facebook for Lent. And, I know a number of my own friends are always great at being Social Media Evangelists. However, I do not think, at least right now, that this is also my calling. I am going through a rather dry period in my life spiritually, something of a dark night of the soul. I am hopeful I can have a conversion this Lent by minimizing distraction and prioritizing prayer.

To be clear, I do not intend to demonize Facebook. It serves a purpose. It is wonderful to connect with distant family and friends, to have online communities of other women- especially other Catholic women as it felt lonely converting. Facebook is a tool and it can neither be good nor evil on its own. As with most things, how you use it determines its influence in your life. Right now, Facebook is mostly a negative influence in my life, and that calls for detachment.

 

What are you giving up for Lent? Have you ever given up Facebook or other social media?

Read more of our Tech Talk columns.

Copyright 2017 Amanda Torres

Share.

About Author

Amanda Torres is a Catholic convert, wife, and working mom from St Paul, MN. She is making great use of her Bachelor’s Degree in History and Anthropology as a Management Analyst for the State of Minnesota. When she is not busy trying to get her husband, her rambunctious 7 year-old, and toddler twins into Heaven she enjoys reading, writing, and drinking coffee with entirely too much creamer. Amanda also occasionally blogs at In Earthen Vessels: www.holdthistreasureinearthenvessels.wordpress.com

17 Comments

  1. Great article! I’m in the same boat. Your article has given me the encouragement I needed to give it up as well. Thank you!

  2. ME TOO!
    I have decided to give up FB entirely for Lent.
    As well I am limiting my IG & Twitter to 1 or 2 days a week, e.g. I am stopping at just a quick check when waiting for kids pick up after school versus a 2/3 hour scroll session.
    Good Luck!

  3. It seems like you have selected a Lenten sacrifice that will draw you closer to the Lord, which is the whole point of Lent. You know what is keeping you from Him, so you are working on detaching from it. That is wonderful! I pray that you have a blessed and fruitful Lent!

    Detaching from social media will definitely be part of my Lent, too. Right now, I struggle with the “shoulds.” I “should” be doing this … I “should” be doing that … It needs to stop! I am going to replace it with truths found in Scripture and more time in prayer and adoration.

    P.S. We live in the same area! And I also have twins–mine are 9!

  4. I love your points. It’s not WHAT we sacrifice that matters. It’s who we are and who we want to become. It’s how we’re going to grow closer to Jesus. And this should rightly look different for everyone! So one person may not be called to sacrifice Lent, and another may be, and we can only account for ourselves. Amazing courage in putting this out there!

  5. Amanda, great idea! I deleted my Facebook profile last year for the same reason, (wasting time, negative mood, etc.) and it was one of the best things I have ever done. Good luck to you!

  6. Really inspiring post, Amanda. I think I’m going to do it too! Thank you. As for your dark night of the soul, hang in there! There are beautiful things ahead when the darkness lifts.

  7. Ref the comment: ‘I am going through a rather dry period in my life spiritually, something of a dark night of the soul. I am hopeful I can have a conversion this Lent by minimizing distraction and prioritizing prayer.’ I’m afraid that any focus on Lent as a means of conversion will sadly fail. The answer is quite simple. Witness the conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan Woman at the Well (John 4). The Living Water comes from Christ, and not Lent.

  8. The only reason I made comments was due to the fact that a colleague made much the same points during a discussion. So I decided to check out various websites and engage people in a discussion about the meaning of Lent. I have to honest and say I don’t see any of these practices focused in a 40 day period either by Jesus or his disciples. To a greater extent, I see them throughout the 365 days of the year. Pray when you want, fast when you want, or even get converted any day of the 365 days of the year???

    • The 40 days Jesus spend in prayer in the wilderness to prepare for His public ministry doesn’t draw any parallels?

      Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are a part of Christian life all 365 days of the year– but you see no benefit in joining together as a community to to especially focus on these in preparation for Easter?