The Importance of Technology Fasting

6 July 2024

We live in a technological age. Very advanced in terms of machinery and medicine. When something is wrong, we chase after a cure. We go after it right away with the shortcut of a few pills with the understanding that the doctor is god. When we search for something, all we have to do is pick up our phone super computer and have information at our fingertips. When we don’t like something we delete it. When we want a crafty item we add it to our Amazon cart and click purchase instead of going to a store and searching. If it makes our life easy, buy it. Instantly, we apply this methodology to human relationships because we are used to speed and we do this from our present understanding. This damages many aspects of our life.

A Laptop open on a desk with a coffee

Our brains are hardwired to keep multiplying the habits we feed it. So if we are constantly taking in garbage, garbage will come out. What happens when we approach the people close to us with the garbage of this fast age? A cancel culture. Something hard comes up in our relationship and instead of journeying through it, we say, “I don’t want to do it anymore!” And we walk away. Just as if we threw a picture on our computer into the trash. Then we run after new people and things. A look at our grocery check out lane of all the celebrity gossip gives us a quick peek into the mainstream where fans follow their gods closely and want everything just like that. And it is across the board in sports, news, cooking, weather, movies, television, streaming, video games, music, or Facebook, Instagram, or Snap Chat.

Unfortunately, all these things when done in the excess enslave us. Addictions run rampart in the USA. “What?” you say, “I just only spend a little time on my phone.” Did you know that the average American spends five hours on their phone a day? Yet it only feels like a little bit. We want to stay connected, but do you realize that the statistics show suicide is on the rise? We have a lonely culture because we only stay on the surface with social media and texting. We don’t dig deep. People text the person when they are in the same room, instead of walking up and talking to them. What happened to a good old fashioned conversation?

It’s time to change the tide. Where it is darkest, there can shine the most light. How can we be in the world but not of it? I recommend to begin living counter-culturally. What does this mean? Drop the phone. Shut the laptop. Only use these as vehicles for a deeper connection. When is the last time you picked up a good book and read it versus watching the movie? Pick up Jane Austin, C.S. Lewis, or Tolkien. Have you gone for a walk recently versus playing ski jumping on the Wii? How about going to a local collegiate baseball game or bowling alley instead of using the Wii. How about going to buy a cookbook and cooking the recipes in it from scratch versus watching endless hours of cooking shows or going out to eat? How about meeting a friend for a coffee at your favorite nook for a couple of hours just talking about life versus just dropping a quick text?

Two girlfriends meeting in a coffee shop

It’s time to apply some basic principles to our everyday usage of the media. The first step is to apply technology free zones where these gadgets are not allowed. (Mealtimes, driving, running for example.) Did you know you can set hours on your phone to limit screen time in the settings? How about actually doing this? After a few days of zones, it is time to take it up a notch. Assign some hours where you block out Facebook and drop a text or make a phone call to a friend to see if you can meet in person and go do something fun instead. When was the last time you just went swimming or went to a water park or bowling alley or State Park for a hike? But let’s not stop there. How about not watching TV for the whole of the week (except for a quick check for urgent matters or connecting with someone with the intent of meeting in person) Monday through Friday. During this “blank” time how about taking up a hobby or cooking a meal from scratch. Pick up a book and spend a couple of hours browsing the pages versus scrolling the internet for random YouTube Videos.

Does this sound hard? Yes. I’m not gonna lie and just say once you start it is easy-peasy. I recommend beginning to use technology to serve a greater purpose. How about setting alarms for slots of prayer like the Angelus (traditionally done at six noon and six) and Three o’clock for the Divine Mercy. Is it tiring to pick up cleaning and laundry? How about putting on some praise music or holy podcasts when filling the dishwasher or folding clothes? By the time we get to the afternoon, we have probably arrived at a point of exhaustion from the effort. How about using your phone to read or listen to the daily readings and spend a few minutes in prayer and then journaling

A woman journaling with agenda and tablet

in a notebook at what sticks out? Maybe even take a twenty minute nap. Resume your business and when you arrive at the evening how about talking to your significant other or picking up a good book for the last couple of hours versus staring at blue light. Did you know you will then sleep better? Save the weekend for a movie or two. Choose people over media.

As Christians, we are called to sanctify the media and not be governed by it. How about we start consuming it versus it consuming us? What if we try to be a light and only post/read/see things that build up versus tear down? How about using it to learn a new skill like crocheting or leather work, for example, and spend time doing that versus just watching YouTube blankly. God created us with a purpose, so should we not add purpose to our lives and be an influencer of change to the mainstream? Technology can be good when we use it as a means to an end versus an end to the means. This shows mastery and self-control and takes the Devil out of his tool. Just like we did to the language of Latin which is now associated with the holy. It is time to be a culture of light versus the culture of death. Turn back to a forgotten era of good works and do not be ashamed of being old-fashioned.

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