It's that time of year again: Black Friday, Christmas Sales, parties, marketing campaigns, gift giving, donations to charity, even the emergence of 'secret sister' exchanges on Facebook - so much celebration happening that it can be easy to forget why we celebrate! If you're looking for something that will help you reconnect with what matters the most in your life, I highly recommend a media fast - the reduction/removal of influences we allow into our lives such as television, social media, texting, etc. which can become distractions we can't recognize.
What is a Media Fast?
Fasting, or abstaining from food and drink, is a Biblical principle many Christians observe to humble themselves and restore their connection with God (Ezra 8:23). Several years ago, I first heard of the concept of a 'media fast' when my pastor at the time, Brian Tome at Crossroads Church, challenged the church to go for an entire month without media unless it was an absolute necessity. At that time, this meant email, cell phones, TV, movies, radio programs, etc. I thought this was absolutely crazy. I mean, what was I supposed to do without being able to call my friends to say hi (texting wasn't even invented yet) or to listen to the news or watch HGTV in the evenings?
After considering the challenge for a week or so, I decided to do it. As I look back, this was one of the most incredible times of fellowship with my family and friends and my walk with Christ became so much sweeter. I heard His voice at every turn in my life and actually listened to what He was saying. I remember the peace, focus and certainty of that month and the months that followed as I continued forward with these principles.
Fast forward ten years and here I am very happily married, working a full time job in corporate America, running a creative business, and taking fun trips with my husband in our vintage Airstream. Mark's children are grown, we are financially solvent and able to help so many ministries. We are in the prime of our lives. All should be amazing, right? For the most part, it is, but I feel so distracted and busy right now that while my life is good, I know I am missing the best of the abundant life God's Word promises. (John 10:10)
Personally, I've decided to take another media fast through the end of the year and started it on Thursday, November 17, the week before Thanksgiving. I encourage you to take a look at where you are spending time. What are your 'black holes?' These are likely distractions in your life and your media fast might look quite different than mine. I love seeing beautiful pictures from my family and friends of their kids, trips and fun events plus keeping up with people I haven't seen in a long time on Facebook and Instagram, but it is so easy for me to lose track of time. To me, this is the number one area I need to be deliberate about hitting a reset button on. My media fast for the rest of the year looks like this:
- No social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.)
- Minimal texting and phone calls (emergencies and making plans to meet family and friends are A-OK!)
- No television with the exception of an occasional movie with Mark (this can also be a distraction for me, especially when it gets dark at 5 o'clock and the couch looks soooo comfortable)
What Does This Mean for Vintage Cravens?
Because I am an entrepreneur who wears many hats, work a full time job, and invest time wisely in our marriage and home, I have learned to be very deliberate about how I spend evenings and weekends for Vintage Cravens. It was difficult for me to separate my business from my personal life when thinking about what a media fast would look like for Chris Cravens. If you are like me and also run a small business, are there ways you can extend the idea of a media fast into how you manage your company?
From the inception of my business, it has been my desire to keep God as the focus of how I work, what I do and how Vintage Cravens gives back. As many of my colleagues ramp up their marketing strategies and social media schedules for the coming months, I have decided to take a deliberate departure. What this looks like for my business is this:
- Reduce my time on social media (Facebook and Instagram) for Vintage Cravens to a single day of the week (Thursday)
- Use a service to schedule Pinterest posts (Pinterest is one of my favorite places to go for inspiration, ideas, etc., but is also a HUGE temptation for me to lose myself in the beauty and creativity of others)
I am looking forward to this pause and am already starting to feel more at peace during what can be an incredibly busy time of the year. I want to extend a special thanks to Tim McKenzie, the pastor of Heritage Church, for suggesting 'be still' moments during a sermon a few months ago. (Psalm 46:10) It was during one of these times I first began to hear God speaking to my heart about the pull of social media in my life. I knew I needed to do something about it and this is what that looks like for me. If you've decided to take a break from media, I wish you all the best and would love to hear about your experiences.
May God bless you and yours this Thanksgiving!
P.S. If you would like some more ideas about media fasting, here is a great article on Media Talk 101.