I love to write. But what I didn’t realize that, these days, writing means building a social media presence. Before I began taking my writing seriously, social media was something I did once or twice a week. Now whenever I pick up my phone, I hit the Facebook, Twitter or WordPress app immediately. And I pick up my phone every ten minutes.
I just checked my phone.
You’re looking at your phone, aren’t you? I knew it.
Checking my blog stats is beginning to feel like an addiction. It’s beginning to feel like… slavery. So, this Sunday, I decided to take a Sabbath from social media.
‘Sabbath’ is a Judeo-Christian concept, which began as a day in which no work was to be done. It memorialized a couple things: first, that on the seventh day of creation, God rested from all his work. Second, it reminded the Children of Israel that God had freed them from slavery and forced labor. And, now, in the Christian tradition, the Sabbath falls on Sunday to honor the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a day to reflect, and a day to be free. As Mark Driscoll has said, God is a loving Father who doesn’t want his kids to work all the time. He wants them to have time to spend with him.
But it isn’t just for those of faith. We all need time to be free. Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind (and of no discernable religious affiliation), suggests taking a Sabbath as a way to “remove yourself from the maw” and refocus. He says “Whatever your faith, consider experimenting with this practice [of taking a day of Sabbath]… If committing to this weekly ritual isn’t right for you, consider [Wayne] Muller’s alternative: ‘Choose on common act during your day to serve as a Sabbath pause.’”
Another way of looking at it: when I was in college, my professors suggested working hard all week, and then making Sunday a guilt-free, ‘homework holiday’. I’m suggesting the same thing. Make one day (or afternoon, or evening, or moment) your guilt-free holiday.
There is something powerful and invigorating about a break from the ordinary. If you are person of faith, I suggest taking time for prayer, meditating and reflecting. Then, do something you wouldn’t normally do. Go for a walk. Play a game. Read a novel. Or, my personal favorite, drink good coffee and cook something awesome. Recognize that you need it. If God ordered a day of rest, take it! I think that’s license for a break.
So, this Sunday, in order to ‘remove myself from the maw’, I put my phone on my nightstand and removed myself from social media. What did I do instead? Napped. Napped for two hours. And then, I hung out with my family, watched football, and fried fish.
The concept of Sabbath is ever-evolving for me. I don’t claim to have a fool-proof plan, or even stick to my guns on this all the time. I’m learning. Next Sunday, I plan to put my phone on the shelf again, and the Sunday after that, and after that. Maybe I’ll make this a life-long habit.