Maybe you know that I took a “Facebook Fast” for the month of June, and invited my readers and friends to join me. (Maybe you were one of them?) To my surprise, a handful of you emailed me back and confessed things like, “Wow, I so needed this.” “Thank you, my soul needs a break,” and “I’ve needed to do this for soooo long!” There were many, many confirmations that the Lord was not only calling me, but many others to a deeper sense of intimacy with Him this summer—and it would require going off Facebook or whatever your social media of choice. (If you missed that invitation, I’d love for you to read it here, or better yet, listen to it here, Episode 1: How Not To Regret This Summer!)
I’ll admit, it felt a little strange not going to that little blue app night after night. At first, I found myself wanting to aimlessly scroll any random content, even the reviews on Amazon products and books. Like, who does that? But it showed me something: my brain is hooked on scrolling my phone at night. My phone is always in my hand, or on the nearest ledge. I put it in the fruit bowl while I do the dishes—is that weird? Anyway, it’s in close proximity at all times. As I’ve fasted from Facebook, I noticed I was still using Facebook Messenger a lot. That also had to go. I can still check those messages every few days, but they are no longer checking on me, waking me up, or popping up on my screen all throughout the day. I will admit—it’s made me feel a lot lighter, and I highly recommend doing this if you can. Overall, the month was better, I got to go outside more, read more, fix my mind on things that are pure, and lovely, and praiseworthy. I’ve been able to focus better on my creative projects, and the month actually went slower. Most months seem to fly by! But could it be that I was actually gaining time back into my life? Those minutes add up into hours. And those hours add up into a life. We must be careful how we spend them. But as I said before, it wasn’t that I was spending GOBS of time scrolling Facebook.
It was the cracks.
A minute here. A few minutes there. Checking notifications here. Scrolling a little here.
It wasn’t *that* much.
But it was enough.
Like a leaky pipe.
Or a boat, with just a tiny hole in it. (As I’ve said before, a tiny hole will still sink a boat. And that boat won’t get to where it was supposed to go. And neither will the people. Instead they will be wildly flailing in the water, trying to hold onto pieces of the boat, as not to drown.)
My point is: the cracks matter.
They matter more than we think. And none of us actually knows the number of days we have left on this earth. Only God does. That makes me think I should ask Him (and only Him) how to spend the amount of time I have left on this earth. Not to have a heart of fear, but to have a heart of wisdom.
To be perfectly honest, I didn’t know what to do with my social media fast when July rolled around. The fireworks are over, and I’ve been asking the Lord, “What do I do now?” “Do I go back to Facebook life or do I keep going with this, Facebook Fast?” I was feeling very torn as to what to do. I’ve reasoned that, “I haven’t felt that different, have I?” Maybe, I’m making a big deal about something that doesn’t even matter. Who cares if I have this app or not? I’m not going to check it as much now that I’m out of the practice. It’s not like I had this major revelation, or have had boundless energy, or have finished all my books and creative projects. But God, what do You think? What do You say?”
And do you know what I sensed Him say, in my spirit?
If you haven’t yet seen what I wanted to show you, then, keep climbing. Keep going.
I have something different for you this summer.
As a writer, I am supposed to have a social media presence. As a friend, I should know what’s happening in everyone’s life. As a Christian, I should know what everyone thinks about everything, shouldn’t I?
But then why at the end of the day, do I feel spent? Why do I feel as I’m running aimlessly? Why do I feel like a man beating the air? For all my reasons, they are collapsing under this one reason.
I sense the Lord saying, “Come away with Me.”
“I want to show you something.”
“You haven’t seen it yet.”
“Keep going. Keep climbing.”
There is and adventure waiting with Him. There is something He wants me to look out see, with Him. And maybe, He is calling you, too. Maybe, He wants to show you something you have never seen before. Maybe he wants to take you to the peak of the mountain, to new heights, to look out and see His beauty in a way you never have. But are you willing to go where He leads? Am I?
As I felt Him drawing my heart onward on this journey, He reminded me of this story, and I want to share it with you from ten summers ago. So make yourself cozy, and listen in:
It was the summer after we got married when we were sitting in our hot fan-blown second story apartment and my husband looked over and said, “You’ve never seen the mountains?” his green eyes peering into mine. “No,” I assured him, not other than what hilly “mountains” we have here in Pennsylvania. “Yeah, those aren’t mountains,” he said, shaking his head. “Bekah, you have to see the mountains,” he said with a tone of conviction in his voice, as if I’d done something wrong all these years by not seeing them. “Okay!” I said, “Let’s go see the mountains!” So, after about a month of planning, Brandon and I packed up and drove halfway across the country in our tiny, little stick-shift Lancer. We drove for what felt like an eternity of audiobooks and cornfields, and gas stations and then mile after mile of nothing but flatness, until suddenly boom. There they were, the mountains.
“Wow,” I remember saying, “Just, wow.”
I couldn’t believe how massive they were. I couldn’t help but stare, just gazing into them as if they held some secret. Captivating me in a way I did not expect.
But after a day or two of sight seeing around Pike’s Peak, it was time to see them a bit closer. I mean, Brandon didn’t drive me all the way here, including crossing the entire state of Kansas to just see the mountains from our snug little room and tamed parks and gardens. No, no, no. That’s not my husband.
He not only wanted me to see the mountains.
He wanted me to see the mountain tops.
And there is only one way to do that, unless you are a millionaire who owns his own helicopter.
So, yes, we had to climb.
I vividly remember the morning we drove to Estes State Park in Colorado to excitedly begin our trek up the mountain after a wholesome breakfast of mac n’ cheese over the fire and Nestle’s Instant coffee. (Bleh.) But there we were, eager and determined, with backpacks full of M&M’s trail mix and beef jerky, and water bottles. As the morning mist slowly parted, we climbed up the first trails of the terrain, and began to wander through the hidden intimate beauty of the mountains we had not been able to see from far away.
And then it happened.
My bad leg.
It started acting up.
You see, I had gone to physical therapy for months that year, strengthening it, icing it, doing special exercises, because every time I went jogging, after the first mile or two, my IT band would begin to hurt. (That’s the tendon that runs from just below your hip to your knee.) I don’t remember what mile we were on, when the pain quietly soared down my leg.
“No. No. Not now,” I thought.
I tried to push through the pain and continue our climb. And it worked, for a little while.
But as we began to get further up the trail, my eager, athletic husband could tell something was up as I lagged further behind. “We can just go slower,” he assured me. So we took a break, drank some water, but another half mile, or so, and I needed more than a break. My leg was throbbing.
And I needed to quit.
Oh the agony!
I didn’t want to tell Brandon. I knew how excited he was for me to get to the top of the mountain. I mean, that’s why we took this trip. That’s why we were all the way out here. For this moment. We were finally here. Flat-top mountain, making our way up to the Continental Divide.
But, I just couldn’t do it.
We had only been married a year, so we were very much still “newlyweds.” Which means I was deeply embarrassed to admit my weakness, and he was tragically disappointed that we had come all this way and I couldn’t (or maybe in his mind, “just wouldn’t”) do it.
Now, I could say a whole lot here about marriage, and expectations and honesty and grace. But I’ll save that for later.
The bottom line is: I couldn’t make it up the mountain.
And we both had to realize this, accept it, and stop. Then we both had to turn around, and walk back down the mountain. The opposite direction. Now, that may seem pretty easy. And it was, physically. But not so in other ways. First of all, we weren’t speaking to each other anymore. Whatever was said in our exchange, had left us both rather put out, and now not only was my muscle strained but so was our relationship.
So, there we were clopping down the mountain, like two angry teenagers staring at the ground. I call this the “Walk of Shame.” Maybe you’ve done it if you’ve ever been in line for the big rollercoaster at the amusement park when you were a kid, and then you suddenly panicked and changed your mind? Or, if your riding buddy suddenly changed their mind and didn’t want to ride anymore? Well, then you know precisely what comes next.
You have to turn around and squeeze through the sweaty maze of people, and I mean amusement park kind of people, who are all trapped between metal bars, and they are all glaring at you in their big goofy hats, and backpacks, as you try to squeeze your body out of line, trying not to bump anyone, but bumping everyone, while saying, “Sorry,” “Excuse me,” “Sorry, we aren’t riding,” and you’re trying desperately to stare at the ground, not making eye-contact with anyone. It’s quite awful.
So here we were, doing “the walk of shame.” Except, we weren’t at the amusement park, we were on the mountain. So it was better in some ways, but worse in others. Because as we walked down the mountain, there were bunches of backpackers hiking up the mountain. And each one was more chipper than the one before, waving, “Hi!” and “Good morning!,” and, “How was the top?” and “Wow, you two made it up early!” And it was then, that one of us had to break our proud silence and say, “We didn’t make it.” And then watch as each hikers’s smile faded and they just nodded their head at us in pity.
Well, by the time we got back to our campsite, I laid on my sleeping bag and pillow and cried in the hot tent, while Brandon went to get a big bag of drippy gas station ice for my leg.
I spent most of that day in the tent, breathing in the scent of sleeping bags, and icing my leg and praying for God to heal it. That night, as I could hear Brandon playing his guitar through the thin tent walls, I unzipped the tent and joined him by the fire. As we sat under the starry night sky, I said, “Will you pray for me?”
He came over and laid his warm hand on my ice cold leg. And he prayed, and just asked the Lord to heal it, so that I could try the climb again tomorrow. We said amen, made some overdue apologies and zipped ourselves into our tent hopeful for tomorrow.
Well, the next day, praise God, my leg was feeling better. Cautiously optimistic, we went even slower on the same trail as yesterday, taking many breaks, and taking in the views at each stop. Brandon went off and found me two walking sticks, kind of like trekking poles, “Here, use these,” he said. I quickly learned to put my weight on my new walking sticks, even though I felt like Gandalf walking slowly with his wizard staff, except that I had two.
But by God’s grace, and Brandon’s patience, I was able to pass the point we stopped at yesterday when we turned around. “Just one step at a time,” Brandon encouraged me. I prayed as I walked for the Lord to give me strength for each step.
And do you know what? He did.
Step by step, break by break, drink by drink, we climbed.
The switchbacks zig zagged up the mountain, back and forth, and back and forth.
Higher and higher and higher.
We passed alpine pools and emerald lakes.
Further up, it started to rain. We took shelter under a tree until it stopped. Slowly, the terrain began to change. Becoming less woodsy and more rocky.
And somehow, I was able to keep going.
We kept going up, past the tree line. Now there weren’t any more trees, just sun and rocks, and little marmots that ran along and in and out of them.
We were nearly at the top now, and suddenly, we looked and there was snow. We bent down to touch it, and take pictures with it in our shorts and t-shirts. I laid on a big flat rock, so tired, but so happy. The air felt different here. But I liked it.
We were almost there.
We kept climbing, all rock now, until we were finally at the top of Flattop Mountain. We read a little sign that said, “Continental Divide.”
And then we looked out.
The view was staggering. Peak after peak. Mountains all around us, on every side. All around us, we slowly spun to take it all in. Rock and snow and trees, so many tiny little trees covering the mountains around us, it made my head spin, it was hard to focus on just one thing. “It’s called ‘vertigo,” Brandon said, “It happens when your eyes take in more than they’ve ever seen before, It makes you dizzy.”
I was dizzy. I sat down feeling very small. Looking out on what was so big. Bigger than anything I have ever seen before.
Huge rocky mountains surrounding us. Here we sat at the top, the clouds whisping by around us, the breeze in our face, blowing through our hair as we looked out at the view.
“So, these, these are the mountains,” my heart whispered. “And I almost missed them.”
It was one of those experiences that ruins you for all the lesser ones. John Piper calls them “soul stretching” experiences. Like when you go to the Grand Canyon, you are no longer satisfied by looking at postcard, because now you know what it looks like and what it feels like to actually see and be in the Grand Canyon, you are ruined for all the superficial versions. And so it is with God. Once you see Him, in His glory, you are ruined, for all the lesser glories.
Now that I knew what it was to stand on a mountain top, with the cool breeze in my face, spinning around at the peaks in all directions, making my head spin, I could not simply be satisfied looking at a mountain on a wall calendar, no matter how great the photography. Sitting up there, laying down my walking sticks, and knowing my own smallness, knowing my own weakness, and God’s own massiveness and mercy towards me, as I stared out over miles of mountains, was something I could not experience any other way.
But what if I didn’t go back up the mountain the second day?
What would I have missed? The truth is, I would never know.
I would never know what I would have missed, if I didn’t go see it. If I didn’t go find it.
And I don’t say this to my pride—it was only by God’s grace, that he healed my leg and led me up the heights. This is not a story of “grit and grace.” But of weakness and His mercy. And all He asks is one thing, “Are you willing?”
Are you willing?
He says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
My sisters and brothers, I’m inviting you to come. Whether you joined me for June, or started and quit. I’m inviting you to take a “Social Media Fast” from now — September 1.
Because what if there’s something else He wants to show you—and social media is like a thin plastic shield keeping you from it? What if there is a beautiful view He wants you to see—but social media is keeping a pair of blurry glasses over your eyes? What if there is something He wants to say—but social media is adding in the clamor of a thousand other voices into your ears, drowning Him out?
I’m not promising you that if you surrender social media the rest of this summer it will be an earthquake , or a wind, or a fire, but perhaps, it will simply be His still small voice, whispering, telling you something that no one else can tell you. Because He is God.
This is not a game of who can “fast” the longest, or who can best pull of their spiritual boot-straps. Mostly, the only people who will know about this are you, and God. It will be done in the secret place.
I’ve thought of 3 P’s for this journey:
- The Lord is protecting you from something. His word says to “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23
- The Lord is preparing you for something. Perhaps He will commission you in deeper personal ministry this fall, and He wants to share His heart and His vision and His compassion for people during this time. He wants you to be made ready and strengthened where you are currently weak.
- The Lord is preserving you. Perhaps, He has given you a calling or an idea, that if you see what others are doing, it will take the wind out of your sails, and lead you to not follow through whatever He’s called you to do.
The point is, there is purpose here. Here in His presence. Do you want to join me on this journey up the mountain? Do you want to join me, as I surrender social media until September 1? Do you want to join me as you allow Jesus to care for your soul, and give you the rest you ache for?
If this is you, then pray this prayer with me:
I know that You are calling me to lay down this burden for a time. I hear Your voice calling me, and I am saying, “Here am I.” Take me Lord, take me up Your mountain. Take me higher into the clefts of the Rock. Open my ears, that I may hear You. Open my eyes, that I may see You. That I may see Your glory.
Even if I walk with a limp. Even if I have to walk with sticks in my hands. Even if I look like a fool, beset with weakness. And if I collapse, you will carry me, You will hold me close to Your heart, to the highest heights, and the deepest depths, until I see what You want me to see, and know what You want me to know. I am Yours. Protect me, Prepare me, Preserve me, Lord. That I may look out and see, the goodness of the Lord, in the land of the living. I submit myself to Your headship and leadership over me, I ask You to come now, and carry my burdens. Lead me Lord, and I will follow. In Jesus Name,
If you prayed this, I want to encourage you with the words of Jeremiah 29:13-14a: The Lord says: “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all of your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord.”
I’m not here to guilt anyone who is not called to this, I’m here only to affirm, and strengthen and encourage anyone who is.
So, keep climbing, dear ones.
Seek until you find Him.
Knock until He opens.
Ask until He answers.
For he has promised, “I will be found by you.”
Until you see with your eyes.
And hear with your ears.
And turn, that you may be healed.
I will be back in September.
and enjoy your adventure, with the Lord.
P.S. If you are joining me on the “Surrendering Social Media” Fast, would you leave a comment and just let me know, “I’m in,” or, “I’m going to keep climbing.” I’d love to pray for you by name, as we both take this journey with Him.
I cannot wait to hear about all that He does and reveals to you during this time!