At the start of the year, our senior pastor shared his vision and thoughts for the year ahead. Using the story of David the giant killer, and how a young boy killed a Goliath and his 4 brothers with only 5 smooth stones in his belt. The 5 stones represented God’s provision of grace to us to overcome any and all obstacles in our lives.
The 5 stones or habits to incorporate into our lives for change were:
- Prayer & Fasting
- Seize the Moment
- SImplify & Travel Light
- The Necessity of Sacrifice
- Focus & Practice
While he was between points 2 and 3, I started to realize that the Spirit was speaking to me, and telling me to give certain things in life that could help me achieve all of the 5 stones above. The biggest and most important thing? The hold that social media had on my life. I immediately deleted my Instagram app off my phone but held off doing the same to Facebook. It was only during my week-long fast in early March that I officially deleted Facebook off my Google Pixel 2.
My first emotion after deleting Instagram though? Relief.
Absolute relief that I no longer had the burden of having to post images of a veiled, perfect life, when in fact, my life was only all about mountains to climb and demons to fight. With every post that I share, my first thought is, “What would my friends think of me?” followed by “Do I look good by posting this?”. In today’s world where image is everything and is so deeply linked to our self-worth and identity, the toil that such public sharing takes on someone like me is immense.
There are, of course, people who would never be affected by social media. I am, unfortunately, easily tempted and impacted by the lives and comments of others – what many millennials today would call FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). I was constantly checking Instagram, wondering what all these KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders – yes, millennials are very into acronyms) were up to. Instagram Stories was never-ending, and to me, like YouTube on steroids. If Aimee Song was wearing the latest Chloe heels, I would innately want the exact same pair, and off I went to find out the price of the item across Net-A-Porter or Farfetch. I would then go down the path of consideration in my head, wondering if I would be able to pay my bills the next month if I purchased this. Imagine if I had purchased all the items I’d coveted due to peer pressure – I would be under a mountain of debt right now.
A week without Instagram flew by – the first couple of days, my insides felt empty. What was I to do when I was bored? When I was waiting for the elevator? When I wanted to avoid an awkward conversation? Face my fears and live in the moment.
By deliberately simplifying and sacrificing a nasty habit of social connection, peer approval and entertainment, I ended up freeing up both time and mind space for other projects and passions. I gained greater focus and was able to practice new habits that I had put off for so long, including daily devotions and working on personal projects.
A month without Instagram meant I had space to feed my body, mind and spirit with fulfilling food that would bring about further growth.
A month in, I’ve started regularly working out with my friends; my personal projects are coming to fruition, including this digital space of mine and much more to come; I’ve found time to work on tiny to-dos around the house; I’ve been more aware of the moments that I’m living in, including becoming more aware of the Spirit and what He is saying to me.
This clarity and strength was further heightened when I fasted from coffee and television, but that’s another experience to share for another day.
P.S. If you’d like to know more about the 5 stones for change, drop me an email and I’d be happy to share!