One of my Lenten resolutions was to spend less time on social media. I limited my computer browser’s time to just one hour a day using the Google Chrome extension “StayFocusd” and it’s helped a lot. The time that I would usually waste scrolling through my social media feed has been spent going to Daily Mass, Adoration, and working on my novel.
Something I noticed as I considered social activities in town is that while I love having my online friends, I don’t have a lot of friends who live closeby. Most of the time, I would see them during retreats or volunteer with them for young adult events, but I don’t see my local friends more than once a month. And since I’m considering doing another open mic night, I need a bigger crowd of moral support.
Another thing I’ve been learning is that I can offer up my non-traditional fasting (1 hr internet time, waking up at 5:30AM everyday, not reading fanfiction except on Sundays, etc.) for the sake of someone else. I learned this from the Ascension Presents YouTube channel. Check it out:
One thing I learned from fasting from fanfiction sites in particular was a sense of detachment. I’ve grown overly dependent on approval from people, especially when it came to my writing. When somebody gave me a review of a short story I wrote that I didn’t like, their harsh words would wound my heart. I also grew jealous of people who received various awards or a large amount of reviews. In contrast, spending time with my offline writing group helps me receive feedback on my novel that I can handle better. My friends are all writers and whenever they give me constructive criticism, I’m more open to listening to them. It’s helping me build a thicker skin.
At the same time, I actually got a spiritual high from all the time I spent at Daily Mass, Adoration, and in general prayer. Who knew you could get a spiritual high during Lent of all times?! I felt God’s presence in my heart for the first time in what felt like a very, very, very long time. It’s kind of awesome.
Granted, I didn’t start off Lent as well as I am doing now. For the first couple mornings, I slept through my alarm. I had to deal with the death of my grandmother and all the questions that her death brought up. My spiritual high right now is not as strong as it was a few days ago. I still miss my online friends. And unfortunately, news from the mainstream media is hard to avoid, especially when it comes to the fact that they will never understand the church. But I’m starting to discern how to establish my boundaries. I’m slowly spending more time reading books and improving on my writing.
Next week, I start my renewal of my Consecration to Jesus Through Mary. I’m planning on using St. Louis de Montfort’s method instead of the 33 Days to Morning Glory that I used the past few years. Interestingly enough, the feast of the Annunciation falls on Good Friday. It’s an odd juxtaposition, but at the same time, the death/rebirth theme seems to be a prominent one for me this year.