Kathleen Peterson

a disciple along the way

Going Dark to Let in Light

I’m going dark for 40 days… and I’m pretty excited about it.

✔️Facebook suspended

✔️Twitter on notice

✔️Instagram pic updated

All three apps are now deleted from my tiny screens.

Disconnecting from Social Media for the Lenten season is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time but my employment – employee and freelance – has prevented it.

There are really two reasons for this choice of ‘fasting’.

First, it’s the realization that I look at my phone more often than I care to admit.

I’d wake up to all sorts of notifications and IMs.  As someone who doesn’t like to make people wait, I answer them.

As long as I’m on Messenger, I might as well check Facebook.  Scrolling through my news feed was the next move and eventually I’d come upon someone’s shared tweet which took me to Twitter.

At this point in my morning routine, I’d be in the kitchen: starting the Keurig, feeding the cat, then getting cozy in my ‘prayer chair’ with every intention to actually pray.

I would get to God in a few moments; but Twitter awaited and I’d thumb through ‘Recommend for You’, ‘News’, and ‘Entertainment’.

[squirrel] “Oh look!  The #redcarpet looks were trending on Instagram.”

Before I knew it, I was on my second cup of “Donut Shop” and trying desperately to think of something snarky to tweet or inspirational for the ‘gram’.  Usually it was horribly daft with 30 hashtags (’cause that’s the limit), or a picture of my cat (’cause I really don’t like my photo taken).

Usually it was horribly daft with 30 hashtags (’cause that’s the limit), or a picture of my cat (’cause I really don’t like my photo taken).

Realistically, I’m just a poser trying to stay relevant.

The second reason for going dark is that I’m an unintended hypocrite.

Over the years I’ve helped lead retreats, giving talks about self esteem and dignity.  The other adults and I would counsel the teens and young adults about the dangers of Social Media.

The photos tell a lie.  They’re not real.  Even after taking a gazillion selfies just to find the perfect angle and lighting, the Instagrammer will use Photoshop or Facetune to plump those lips, get rid of the blemishes, and make sure they have ‘thigh-gap’ (guys are not exempt).  They post the selfie with trending hashtags, tag friends with the most followers, then sit back and wait for the magic (likes) to happen.

Or not.

I actually found myself wondering what I was doing wrong; why nobody ‘liked’ or retweeted me.

Why didn’t anyone like the Boomerang with MY cat and the cucumber??

Why didn’t #CatholicTwitter respond to MY prayer requests??

Why wasn’t I getting more friends on Facebook??

What was wrong with me??

I got caught up in doing the very thing I warned others against.  Social Media had sucked me in a vacuum of anxiety and lack of self-esteem.

Flashbacks of middle school; chubby girl with braces and headgear, feeling absolutely inadequate, uninteresting, and lonely.

There are over 3 billion social media users.  How is it that only 3 people liked my #TBT wedding pic… and 2 of them were my daughters.

Wasn’t this the new way to converse?  Wasn’t social media intended to bring people together?  Wasn’t the goal of the internet to make the world smaller, to keep everyone connected?

The problem was that I was looking for my value in “Friends”, “Likes”, and “Retweets”.

During these next 40 days I hope to reconnect with the One who made me, in One in whom I receive my dignity, the One who will “like” me unconditionally, the One I need to ‘Follow’.

The next 6 weeks I will get up, feed the cat, grab my coffee, and renew my relationship with the Lord… the real purpose of my ‘prayer chair’.  I hope to find Light in this darkness.

Please pray for me as I pray for you.

PS: Although I’ve ‘given up’ social media I’ll continue to post to this platform, my blog.  I have no idea if anyone else will read it… and I’m okay with that. 🤷🏻‍♀️

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