With Easter just 40 days away, today is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.
For those, like myself, who did not grow up following the liturgical calendar, Lent may be a foreign thing.
In short, Lent is the season of the Christian Year where we focus on simple living, prayer and fasting to grow closer to God.
We do this by removing the things that easily distract us, and re-turning our lives toward Jesus.
My 12 year old daughter recently participated in a technology fast as part of a Biblical Worldview Class. The purpose of the experience was to highlight how addicted we become to technology and media. And, to discover how often we turn to technology and the obstacles it creates in overcoming it.
The end result was quite interesting, as we quickly found it impossible for just her to fast. It required the entire household make adjustments to how we live.
Our typical down-time activities of web searching, TV watching and media consumption weren’t options. Leaving us to wrestle with what to do with the “extra” time we had.
As I think about our experience with a technology fast, it makes me think differently about Lent.
Historically, people have abstained from items such as food, sweets, alcohol, cigarettes. But, with the increased use of technology and media in our lives it may be time to think differently.
For many of us, myself included, technology drives our business and work life. We can’t just stop using technology for 40 days.
So what are the options?
As you consider Lent, here are some ways to successfully incorporate a technology fast into your celebration…
1) Pick One Technology to Abstain From
Don’t try to leave every technology for a month. Be strategic about one thing and stick by it. Pick texting, social media, TV, email
2) Decide How Long you Will Fast Before you Start
Knowing you have a start and end time will help tremendously. It will keep you on track for what is ahead and keep you motivated with an end is in sight.
3) Find Someone to Keep You Accountable
Because fasting is usually between you and God it can be easy to return to old habits in a moment of weakness. Have someone you can talk to when challenges come to help keep you on track.
4) Journal During the Experience
Keeping a record of your fast will help you better process the experience. Make notes about the challenges you face as well, what you’re learning and what you did.
5) Process Your Experience
Once it is over, spend some time processing the whole experience. Go deeper than just what you felt, consider “why” you felt the way you did and the implications of the experience on your life and spiritual health.