I'm not Catholic, I'm Mormon, but during the months leading up to Easter I'm always jealous of my Catholic friends. There are just so many more traditions and religious celebrations. One of my favorite things is lent. I love Lent.
Lent- "The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, penance, repentance of sins, alms giving, atonement and self-denial."
There is something about a little self-denial that I really appreciate. As we approach the time we celebrate the atonement, the crucifixion, and the resurrection it seems like the perfect time to do some self reflection. So pretty much my junior year of college I have adopted Lent into my own preparation for Easter. Lots of times my offerings are food related. Chocolate has been done more than once but I feel like I always get more out of it when my goals are personality related. Something that has been bothering me as of late is my addiction to my smart phone, particularly to Facebook. So for Lent I decided to give up Facebook. Baby steps I thought.
Turns out Facebook is not just a little problem for me. It is a huge problem. I'm sure I'm not the only one. When I went to deactivate my account Facebook asked me why I was leaving. There was an option "I'm spending too much time on Facebook." The first day I noticed that it was a good thing I deactivate my account. Every time I got on my phone or on my computer to check something or to work my fingers just automatically typed in facebook.com. I'd get that deactivation screen....you have to sign in to get on. "Oh yeah, I'd think, you aren't doing this today.
Yesterday I found myself in withdrawal. I was so irritable. My kids were arguing over nothing, things that two elementary school kids argue over, and I flipped. I had zero patience with Cheetah and her dragging food into the living room. When Dr. J came home and was playing his game on his phone I freaked out. At one point I seriously was curled up on my bed, hands covering my ears, rocking back and forth. "That is IT," I yelled, "I'm going to bed."
I realized at that moment that Facebook had become a bigger problem for me then I'd realized. Anytime I was frustrated, anytime I was bored, anytime I didn't want to deal with something my kids were doing I would just pop on and for a few minutes I could escape. I could troll through pictures and what my friends were doing. I could read comments. I could post pictures of myself and hear affirmations from people I didn't get to see everyday. I'm not saying that is bad but what I'm saying is the way I'm using it is bad. I've turned away from my real life, tuned out. Losing that opportunity for escape from everything was painful.
The good news is, today is a little better. I'm not quite as irritable. I haven't accidentally tried to sign on to Facebook as many times. I actually left my house and saw friends in a real setting. I sent a real e-mail today. I changed an appointment I've been putting off for weeks. I checked my bank account and cleaned my counters just because. I predict this is going to be a long 40 days for me but I'm hoping I can use the time to kick this habit of using my phone to escape from my life and I'm hoping I can use that extra time to do more things to better myself, to deal with my family better, to get closer to God. After all only 38 days left until Easter.