I’ve been trying to shut out the noise with a social media sabbatical.

How’s it going, you ask?

It’s harder than I thought. My hand reaches for my phone often. I realize how close I keep it, like a companion. On the table. Next to me by the chair. By my bed at night.

I began this sabbatical so I could spend time with a loved one who is very, very sick. We have just a short amount of time together so I wanted to soak in that time, uninterrupted. I wanted distractions and noise to go away so I could be fully present.

And I am. 

Yet this sabbatical is also telling me that I need to diminish the hold social media (and my phone) has on me when this sabbatical is over.

Let’s be real.

We don’t want to live pre-social media. I want to know how you are doing. I love that I am connected to friends and relatives all over the world, and when we see each other I know what is going on in your life. I love following and hearing from thought leaders. I need to understand other cultures and experiences, so that I don’t live in a bubble. I don’t want to go back to the dark ages when we were oblivious. That’s not the answer. Yet I want to be aware of the impact that social media has when there are no boundaries.

I want to hear what God is trying to say to me.

As we go into 2022, you and I need to hear from God just as we always have had that need. He has things he wants to tell us. He wants to lead us. He wants to grow us. He longs to speak to us in ways that challenge, change, and grow us. While we don’t need to live without social media to do that, we do need a sacred place where just God and you, or God and I, sit together and talk.

And sometimes that means giving social media less power over our heart and lives. 

So, here’s what I am doing. I pray it’s helpful to you if you long to do just that.

  1. Choose a specific time for a sabbatical. That might be an extended time, or one day a week.
  2. Fill your heart with silent pockets of time. The temptation is to fill every moment with noise. It’s what is familiar. Choose several minutes throughout the day, maybe in the morning, where you simply sit with God during your sabbatical. Open your heart to hear what he has to say. You don’t have to force it. Just listen. Come back to this sacred space throughout your sabbatical.
  3. Write down what you hear. Keep a journal close by. Jot down anything you sense God is trying to show you. If you hear nothing, that doesn’t mean you aren’t spiritual. Being in his presence is powerful, and he knows what you need before you even ask. Just be open, in case you sense him speaking.
  4. Appreciate the connection of social media, without allowing the compulsion of it. When you go back online, create a plan. Maybe you dedicate a half hour to checking out all.the.things. instead of checking it constantly. Maybe night is off limits, even when you awake in the midnight hours. Maybe you continue to set aside one day a week as an ongoing social media sabbatical.

Why do we do this?

John 10:27-28 gives us this beautiful promise: My sheep recognize my voice. I know them, and they follow me.

In this promise, I hear two things: 1) God knows you and me, and that is why our faith is so life changing. And 2) When we listen for his voice, we will recognize it and it will show us the way.

So, if like me, the noise has become loud in your ears and you want to shut it down for a time to love the people in front of you, and to give it less power, the good news is that it is a sweet opportunity to recognize his voice, to understand the depth of how he knows you, and to reignite the power of relationship with your Heavenly Father.

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Just for you

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Praying for you as you start your sabbatical and as you listen and hear his voice over your heart and life. ~ Suzie