For the first time in my life I gave something up for Lent. I have participated in other fasts before, but never the 40 day period before Easter. Perhaps this is because I didn't grow up Catholic, my churches didn't request it, or I simply was afraid of it. Whatever the case may be, this is my first Lent.
I considered giving up some kind of food, but was dissuaded from that by my husband who reminded me that I already have a very limited diet due to allergies. I then pondered giving up Pinterest, second guessed it, and in my reluctance to give it up realized that was the thing I needed to leave behind for 40 days.
I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that I was completely enamored with the virtual pinboard. I used it to research projects at work, and when I came home I used it to unwind. When I was stressed out by the day's activities and trials I let my eyes wander over the beautiful homes, colorful flowers, delicious recipes, gorgeous outfits, creative crafts, and adorable baby clothes. It was a useful tool, I have completed projects and made purchases based on finds on that site. But it was becoming more than that for me.
It was my distraction.
I realized that things like Pinterest get used like anti-depressants in my life. They distract me from the real issues that are bothering me, and when I get sucked in I don't have to think about them anymore. Sometimes though, while I surf the beautiful pages, I see something that reminds me of my sadness and it drives me deeper, searching for another link, another page, one more click that will numb me to the emotions swirling around my heart.
These last few days I have wondered... what if I was more willing to tackle the ache face to face in the presence of God instead of pushing it to the side while I consume more media, more something?
The temptation has been to replace Pinterest and television shows with more media. Tempted to revert back to more Facebook, more Twitter, more blog hopping, more virtual distraction. More internet drugging.
This isn't a new phenomenon in my life. I know that I have used other things, other good things to distract me from God, distract me from pain. Whether it was getting lost in a book for a few days, constant music in my ears, nightly television, or hours of exercise I have sought ways to shield myself from the world and my God.
I honestly don't think that media is evil. I love it and there are many great and noble things it can be used for, my favorite being storytelling. But when media becomes escapism from God and reality, I fall into deeper depression, my own cyber slough of despond.
You may not struggle with this the way I do. There are many different things that keep us from God, and this is just one of the ways I fall off the path of daily surrender.
I'm thankful for Lent this year, and that it's giving me the chance to refocus and orient my free time around connecting with God instead of updating my pinboards.
Unplugging a little bit is allowing my mind and heart to live out the Psalm..."Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10