I recently deleted Instagram and Facebook off my phone. It was a long time coming. I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with social media. I’ve even deleted the apps before.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti social media in any way. I enjoy the short moments of humor my news feeds bring to my day, I value seeing what’s going on in the lives of my friends and families who live on the other side of the world, and I even get inspiration and knowledge. But I also end up spending way too much time rabbit-holing down the latest hashtag challenge or laughing at memes I’m pretty sure I’ve already seen.
I know my limits. I know I’m more sensitive to social media than most. I know that, as a whole, it causes me to dwell on things I don’t have or can’t have, and weaken my gratitude for things I do have.
Which is why I finally gave social media up for Lent.
You may be participating in Lent yourself. You may have heard the term before and know it only as “giving up something for Easter.” You may have never heard of it at all.
Lent is essentially a 40 day season of prayer and fasting that begins on Ash Wednesday and continues until Easter Sunday. It's a period of intentional practices to prepare ourselves to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.
There are many ways to engage with the season of Lent - through guided devotionals, church services, and various fasting practices.
As a high school student I used to give up chocolate for Lent. Eventually, I gave up all sugar, and one year I wanted to see how long I could abstain for and ended up lasting more than 100 days.
It became a competition for me. A source of pride, even.
But that wasn’t the point of Lent.
Fast forward to me as a perpetually tired 35-year-old single dad, I don’t practice Lent anymore. Every day I give up something. As a parent and someone in ministry my whole life is essentially one big fasting session, I reason with myself. I ignore the guilt that comes with feeling I should be doing more this Easter season.
But that’s not the point of Lent either - feeling bad for not doing enough or measuring up.
It’s about making room for Jesus. It’s about softening and preparing my heart to reflect on the great gift the Lord has given me in the death and resurrection of His Son. It’s about intentionally choosing to make time - to spend time - with the One who can bring hope and life into the weary and guilt-ridden places of my life.
I wish I could say that I gave up Instagram and Facebook at the start of Lent way back on Ash Wednesday. I didn’t. I’m only two weeks in.
And that’s what I want to encourage you in. It’s never too late to start Lent. We’ve got a week left until Easter Sunday. Seems like the perfect time to set aside some time to prepare ourselves, right?
Maybe you never thought to even try. Maybe you wanted to and then life happened and you got sidetracked. Maybe you started and didn’t do it consistently and now you’re carrying guilt. Maybe you have been doing it but it’s been rote and just a habit, just a tradition, and you’re missing the heart of it all.
Well, lay that aside and start again. Because wherever you are, it’s never too late to Lent.
P.S. You could try these cool apps for guided Scripture readings and reflections: