by Cassidy Cripe
Even though lent is not something regularly practice by Protestants, I decided to participate this year! While I cannot say that I am completely participating in Lent (because I am not giving up meat on Friday’s or participating in the traditional fashion), I chose to give up something for 40 days. Many people do lent “just because,” but I wanted to do it so that I can grow closer to God—to spend more time with Him while learning to rely on Him wholly, rather than the material things this world offers.
I originally chose to give up Instagram because I constantly found myself on my phone whenever I had a free minute. Instagram (really almost any social media) becomes such a major time waster in our day, and we don’t even realize it most of the time! I came to realize that I was addicted. I wanted more “likes” from peers, and I wanted to fit in with the other users by comparing my posts to what they were posting. Every time I used Instagram, I had glimpses of their lives, and it gave me the impression that their lives were perfect and just a big party. I felt like my life was not as interesting as their life appeared to be, and I found myself competing to make my life seem better than theirs.
One week into Lent, I saw that I used different apps, like Twitter and Pinterest, to fill up the time that I normally would have spent on Instagram, which totally defeats the purpose of Lent because I wasn’t allowing God to change my life. I was simply using other social media apps to satisfy my old habits. But, I still wanted to make a real change in how I lived my life—I did not want to go through Lent, doing nothing to grow my relationship with God, only to remain in the same spot where I first started. I wanted Lent to be a time where I was going to let go and trust God; not only for the forty days but how I live the rest of my life.
I was on Twitter one night when I felt God telling me to sign off and take a break from ALL social media. Since I am a stubborn person, I did not want to remove all other social media from my life. I didn’t want to give it all up until God sent me an actual sign rather than “just a feeling.” As I kept scrolling through my Twitter feed, I saw that a friend was turning all of his social media off to focus on Jesus, do more to further the Kingdom of God, and ultimately, not be held down by something as simple as his phone. He included the verse James 4:7 which says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” After I saw his tweet, I knew what God wanted me to do, and I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I quickly got off Twitter and deleted that app, along with Pinterest.
I was ready to see what God was going to do with my life.
After choosing to give up all social media for the remainder of Lent, I started seeing subtle differences that were occurring: I was able to think a lot more on what God wanted me to do, I started seeing everyday as a new opportunity to live for God, and I would asking myself, “What can I do to grow my relationship with the Lord and further His kingdom?” Let me tell you, that made a pretty big difference, and it gave me a new perspective on why I should be living for the Lord every single day. It even changed my every day conversations! An overwhelming feeling came over me, and it can only be best described by saying, “I can see how much the Lord has done in my life; how can I not talk about Him?”
My mind started to change in how I thought through and responded to various situations. I realized that everything I do reflects on how people see Jesus—if they see that I am not joyful in the Lord or seeing that He hasn’t done a lot in my life or feeling like there’s still a hole in my life, why would they want to follow Jesus, too? I see what God has given me; I’m very happy and joyful. He has given me a purpose and filled the hole PERMANENTLY when I accepted Him as my Lord and Savior. There are times where I may feel all these things internally but never actually look as if Christ has actually touched my life.
Participating in Lent has changed everything.
I want people to know that I follow the one true God.
I want others to experience the awesomeness that is completely indescribable.
I want their lives to be touched just like mine has.
Lent gave me the opportunity to take a step back from what I wanted in my life and let God take complete control.
On Easter morning, I went back on social media. As soon as I opened all my accounts this unsettling feeling came over me. I felt like there was something off about what I was doing. That night I felt God telling me to continue to NOT use social media until it seemed like He wanted me to sign back in.
It’s been about three weeks since then, and honestly, I don’t miss it. I live to serve God. I want to do whatever He feels is best for me. I want to further His kingdom. I want to show people Jesus. If being off social media is how that will be accomplished, then that is what I am willing to do.