Each year, during the season of Lent, I (like millions of Christians worldwide) take up some kind of spiritual discipline or practice to prepare the mind, heart, and body for the celebration of Easter, and the glorious mystery of Resurrection.
This year, I have chosen to fast from all forms of social media.
One week ago now, after our Ash Wednesday service, I signed off.
I logged out of my personal accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Then, I deleted all three apps from my phone.
I chose this peculiar fast for a number of reasons.
One reason was the swelling tide of negative (even unchristian-like) political posts by people I love. We seldom think about how our unfiltered comments online can and will ultimately create barriers to love. (But that’s for another blog on another day.)
The primary reason for my Social Media Fast emerged from our current sermon series.
As a Two on the Enneagram, I (along with many of you) am in the Heart Triad. Those of us who are in the heart triad (Twos, Threes, and Fours) are driven by a (mostly unconscious) fixation with image. Like all nine types on the Enneagram, we concern ourselves with projecting a particular persona, to be sure. But for heart people, we are particularly concerned with image.
Twos want to be known as altruistic, selfless, helpers. Threes want to be seen as successful and accomplished. Fours need everyone to see them as unique or special.
Regardless the nuance, there is a hypersensitivity to image. We wish it were not so, but it is.
We have a case of what my mother used to call the “can’t-help-its.”
So, I have chosen to fast (for a season) from the world of Social Media—which, as we know, is quite fertile ground for “projected image.”
What about you?
Have you considered how your particular personality may need a break this season?
How about those of you in the Head Triad? If it is true that you are driven by a particular kind of fear in the world, what might you do to address it? Fives: how might you relinquish the need for more information? Sixes: would it help you to stop reading about the Coronavirus, or perhaps turn the channel from your favorite cable news station after a certain hour? Sevens: what if there were one less activity? What would it look like to empty the mind, and welcome silence during one part of your day?
Or, how about those of you in the Gut Triad? If all of your actions are indeed driven by a particular kind of unconscious anger, what might you do to address it? Eights: what if you didn’t take charge, and instead rode shotgun for once? Nines: what would it sound like for you to NOT merge with others, but actually voice your conviction? Ones: what if you could allow one project or event or thing per day to go “unimproved” and “imperfect?”
We are all prone to sink deeper into our unexamined personalities and unquestioned patterns.
We are all prone to a bad case of the “can’t-help-its!”
But what if we could remain awake to it—if only for a season?
What if we could live more fully aware of our own drifting, and our own sin?
Could it prepare our minds, hearts, and bodies for an even deeper gratitude and fuller celebration of this Resurrection that’s coming?
Have I told you lately how much I love being your pastor?
Well, I do?
Dr. Shaun King
Johns Creek Baptist Church