What is A Media Fast? {and Why We’re Doing One as a Family}

Last week Peter announced that our family was going to do another media fast. The kids were less than enthusiastic, and it is always hard for me for a few days, but then I am glad “Daddy” thought of it. :) 

Seems the idea of pulling away from media for a time is not a novel one. Kara spoke of it here where she recounts why she returned the iPhone.

Ruth from Gracelaced warns that we choose with our actions. She mentions cutting back on media and focusing on the truly important.

Joy beautifully reminds us to seek the eternal and set our minds on things above in her sweet video message from Indonesia.

And of course, this article entitled “Dear Distracted Dad” nails it. I don’t want to live with regrets.

What is a media fast?

A media fast is simply turning off the noise including music, tv, social media, and video games.

How long is a media fast?

It can be as long as you want, but we’re aiming for a week.

Why on earth would you do this?

Because it is good for our minds and hearts. It promotes creativity. It helps us “reset our minds” and identify spiritual problems that might be masked by all the noise. When you are alone with your thoughts for a week, it is pretty eye opening!

What do you plan to do during this time?

Art, school, make music, bake, finish crocheting a scarf, ice skate with the kids on my dads cranberry bogs, read, meditate on scripture verses that I’ve selected, have lunch with a friend, and we’ve planned to have several couples come over for dinner this week. We’ll be too busy to be bored.

What is the hardest part of a media fast?

Honestly, it’s the instant gratification of getting information quickly. We check the weather, email, sports scores, Facebook all in a click of a button. We have all sorts of information, but we’re all alone at our computer.

One thing I’ve noticed about younger bloggers is that they no longer want to know information. They have access to all the information the could ever want. They want to know what you think about the information; your experience with the topic. It is that longing to connect in a meaningful way with the thoughts of other people. 

Our whole family has been “google-ized.” When I want to know something about a recipe, I simply search online. Before I had internet, if I wanted to know something domestic, I called my mom, mother in law, or a friend. When my kids were out of control and fresh as toddlers, I’d sit with an older woman and ask, ask, ask what to do next. There’s little “community” in googling something. But there’s something relational about asking for help, receiving help and knowing that you were actually needed to provide help (in the case of the older woman or friend I called.)

Why are you telling us?

Because it has been so beneficial for us, although we all hate it for the first few days and then grow to love it.

If you are having trouble sorting out your own thoughts, or are never at peace inside, a media fast can help unmask your underlying problem so you can deal with it.

I told you the diet that I started on January first. Well, it’s been almost one month and by not eating certain foods, my metabolism has been “reset.” I feel more energetic and upbeat. I don’t crave sugar. I don’t need coffee. I’ve lost weight and it has been good for me. I have the same feeling in my mind after a media fast.

Is this some super spiritual thing?

No, there is nothing super spiritual about it, but in the end, I find it does benefit our spirits.

The Bible says to “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly” but sometimes it is easier to dwell richly in the words of books, blogs, facebook, twitter and television. Sometimes we hear so much outside noise or we dwell on the thoughts of our own “noisy soul” that we can’t hear that still small voice. We’ve drowned it out somehow without even knowing it.

So, if things are quiet around here starting next Monday, there’s no need to worry. Now you know why. :)

I’d encourage you to try a media fast, if even for a few days. You might be surprised at how much you love it. What are your thoughts on this?

12 comments

  1. Selena White says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Our family watched the dvd CAPTIVATED and have been thinking along these lines as well… Great post…plan to share with my sweetie :-)

  2. Kim says:

    The Lord has led me in this same direction as well. I blogged about something similar early in the month, about needing to refocus my eyes on the things around me rather than the things online. It’s easier to find significance in doing anything online rather than doing what is right around you – that’s my struggle. Thanks for setting this example and for the article links!

  3. Tim says:

    Is it uber-ironic that I am looking forward to reading here on your blog how the media-fast went?

    Cheers,
    Tim

    • Sarah Beals says:

      The irony about posting about a media fast was not lost on me and I chuckled a bit as I thought about it. THUS, the world we live! :) I’ll give you an update two Mondays from today. :)

  4. Ha! Of course this title caught my eye… :)
    I’m excited for you and encouraged by you in this…

    We’ve taken “breaks” from different media in the past, but have never done a complete fast and while I’m sure it’d be a struggle for me initially…

    I love the idea of pulling away from it all to hear His voice more clearly.
    And there’s so much wisdom in slowly and carefully adding media components back in…just taking to a pause to really see how loud and distracting it really all can be.

    Thankful for you!

  5. we had an unintended media fast last week too. It was good. I enjoy being on here, but there are other much more important moments to be enjoyed.

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