It's been almost a week since I completed the media fast chapter of The '7' challenge. (see my previous post on The '7' challenge.

7 : An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess” - 7 is the true story of how Jen took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence.
— http://jenhatmaker.com/

First of all, I'm so glad that I did it. Within just a few days I realized how much of a habit it was to look at Facebook, Instagram and Twitter on my phone. I wasn't actually missing the applications themselves or what I would have been seeing or reading, I was just feeling the need to click on them to fill time and space. It was almost like a smoker who missed holding a cigarette. Crazy!

It was noticeable when we were in the car (with my husband driving, duh!). I realized that I always pulled out my phone and clicked away on social media, just for a quick check.

It was noticeable when I went to bed. I always looked through at least 2 of those 3 apps before I went to sleep.

It was noticeable when I woke up. I always looked through at least 2 of those 3 apps before I finally put my feet to the floor.

It was noticeable when I was drying my hair! Yes! don't judge! I have a lot of thick hair and drying it is very boring. So, I would peruse through photos on Instagram or the feeds of Facebook or Twitter. If you wonder what I did before smart phones, I used to read a book while I dried my hair. I'm telling you, it's a LOT of hair!

And lastly, even when I was making jewelry, there was always that break I would take. In the creative process there is always time when you are stuck. So just stopping and looking at Instagram was an easy distraction. But, was it EVER helpful? not really. OK, maybe when I looked at other artist's drawings on Instagram it was inspiring. But seriously, it wasn't helping me get my work finished. It just made me think of other creative things I want to do.

How did I fill all that free time?

First of all I spent time reading the Bible. I had begun reading through the New Testament at the beginning of the year. But, as quickly as February I had stopped. But it was always on my mind. I didn't think I could get back on track since I was SO far behind. I'm a girl who likes numbers and a plan. I figured out that if I read 4 chapters a day I would be caught up at the end of my social media fast.  Turns out I had PLENTY of time to get this accomplished! I spent mornings out in my beautiful porch reading, writing, listening and praying. I can't tell you how much more calming and relaxing that is, compared to questioning why there are so many silly survey results and ads and just a lot of junk on Facebook now. It started out as such a nice way to connect with people :(  I also rode my bike, planted flowers and went to the Library. I spent a day with a friend that I hadn't spent time with in way too long and made plans to do it again. I spent an evening with another friend I hadn't connected with in a very long time. We got to catch up the old fashioned way, without me knowing what had been going on in their lives (through social media) in the last 24 hours. I even wrote some real letters! I'm by no means condemning Facebook, Twitter, or my very favorite - Instagram! It was just a really nice break for me.

And let's not forget my fast from TV! Evenings looked a lot different around our house. We played a board game, read books and had conversation. It was lovely. I'm really lucky that my husband gets on board with these crazy things I subject us to! He didn't quit Facebook entirely but he was never obsessed with it like I was. However, TV was pretty big for him to give up just for me. There were a few evenings after dinner that we really just missed sitting back to enjoy some entertainment on TV. But, we laughed about it and survived it!

One of the biggest things that I filled my time with was work related. I had been wanting to teach myself Adobe Illustrator for years. I just want to be good enough to do things for myself. Along those same lines I was in the mood for changing my company logo a bit and creating a brand new website! I worked on those things each and every day. And here you are within the new website that came from all that uninterrupted work. There are still tweaks to make but I am loving the new fresh look.

the after effect

Are we watching TV every night? Did I stop and look at Facebook or Instagram while I was writing this post? No. I think it will be a slow reintroduction. The first time we decided to watch TV again we saw 24 on our DVR list. We decided we were not ready for that kind of intense action so soon! Maybe tonight, since it's a Friday and we can't go to a movie because it's not on our '7' spending list!

I'm 6 days into the spending chapter of the '7' challenge. We can only spend money in 7 places for 4 weeks. I guess we're not going out for sushi tonight either...or tomorrow night...or the next night.

this too shall pass

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