Lent Lessons

After 40 days away from social media, I have 3 lessons to share with you.

 

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 // But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. -Matthew 6:33 //

For months I'd been feeling a pressure from social media that I knew wasn't healthy or of God. Up until one year ago, I didn't implement a strategy. I just posted randomly and didn't get many likes, and I didn't care. It wasn't a focus.

Then I launched my business and it mattered. I crafted my plan to grow my following, spread the good news of my content creation business, and make impact and income. 

I've been blessed to see the fruit of that. The amazing people I've met are truly that - amazing. But there was a dark side to social media I wasn't ready for. I'd heard of the comparison trap and experienced it in real life, but on social media, it's something else. 

With instant access to so many different people and everyone putting their best foot forward, it's a shiny world where you secretly feel lack and try to keep up your appearance with other's appearance.

But really, we are all just a hot mess. Broken. Reaching. 

So when I felt a nudge to give up social media for Lent - something I don't normally participate in since my Catholic roots two decades ago - I wrestled with it. I started a day late, but ultimately I did.

And it was the best thing I have done this year.

It wasn't easy at first. It was such a habit engrained in my that removing the apps, while liberating, was uncomfortable. It showed me how much idle time I had. 

I realized idle time led to idol time. 

When I wasn't being productive, I would jump on social and waste my life viewing into what others wanted me to see. 

Now that I'm back from Lent, I have 3 things I've learned that will impact how I do social media differently so I don't lose the momentum I've gained in my walk with Jesus: 

  1. More time for Him: the growth I've experienced over the past 6 weeks? I can't even begin to testify. Even my mentors keep speaking to it, not realizing it's the impact of spending more time with Him. They just see the fruit. But instead of spending hours on social media, I've instead set aside time to study (not just read) my Word. I'm studying the entire Bible in chronological order now (and just started Deuteronomy!), reading Christian books, praying, and journaling. I'm abiding at His feet. I need an amen just for this.
  2. More time for family: my intimacy with my wife and children has drastically increased, too. I would spend all evening watching my phone, looking for comments and likes, watching what other people were doing. Now I spend evenings taking my kids for runs at the park and to the playground, being the active husband my wife needs. I'm not saying I was a bad dad or husband before, I've always been decent to good, but now my heart is for my family in a deeper way that they feel.
  3. More walking in my calling: when I'm stuck on social media, I'm comparing myself to others. Suddenly I want to outdo them, so my energy goes into how I can meet this goal. Launching programs, courses, posting more, unhealthy stalking of a page. But when I stripped social media, I was able to rest in my identity in Jesus, not my potential against others, so I naturally walked in my calling instead of competing with others just because I could.

And really, this blog was birthed in all of this.

So now my filter is this: is it beneficial and teaching others? If so, make it a blog and then use social media to promote the blog. Is it beneficial and not teaching? Maybe tweet it if it's text. Maybe Instastory it if it's visual. But at least half of it doesn't need to be. 

Otherwise? It doesn't matter. 

And as for checking my timelines? Barely. Sure, as someone who knows digital marketing, I know engaging with others helps me in the algorithm, but my sanity in Jesus is worth more.

So I'll share what's truth through my brokeness and His redemption. I'll share what inspires others - a strong marriage and parenting life. I'll serve through what I post. But I won't check social media and I won't post with the hopes of likes or comments. And I'll appreciate those who do take the time to comment because it means there is fruit to what I'm called to do in blogging. 

Michael Tatonetti