For those of you that don't know, I decided to give up social media and everything but worship music for Lent - and man was it interesting. I talked about why I decided to give it up in a previous blog post, so I wanted to come back here and say what I learned from it.
First off, I am now the most patient person in the world.... NOT. I gave up what I did, partly to slow down and stop all of the noise that was coming at me, hoping that it would give me a little bit of perspective. While I'm still a bit impatient at times, it really did help me to slow down and to be more comfortable being quiet and alone with my own thoughts. For instance, one day I got to the 12th South area to meet a friend and was super early, like almost an hour ahead of her. Previously, I would have gotten my coffee and food and sat and looked at Instagram with headphones in for the next however long it took my friend to show up. But instead, I got my coffee and food, went outside to sit on a bench and was just still. Since I had a reason not to look at my phone I got some time in God's beautiful creation and talked to a couple of strangers that passed, all the while feeling at peace instead of awkward.
Second, it really opened my eyes to how I would unhealthily fuel my mood by what I listened to. Only listening to worship music definitely narrows your music selection a bit (I was happy though to discover some new rock, techno, and chill worship music). Previously, when having a bad day and feeling pissed off or moody, I would put on music that would encourage those feelings. This really isn't possible when just listening to worship music and some days I would get so frustrated with how my limited music selection just didn't hit the spot, a.k.a allowing me to wallow in my mood. In those moments I ended up turning my music off and being quiet. When you're left alone with your thoughts and you actually have to deal with them, it's amazing how quickly you can move past whatever the problem is. It didn't always clear up immediately, but I realized I would have continued wallowing in whatever I was upset or frustrated about so much longer if I had been able to fuel those feelings with music instead of being quiet and dealing with them.
Now, not everything went as well during Lent. I was not great at consistently taking time to spend in God's word. I also started the Five Minute Journal, and even though I really enjoyed it, it only took me a whopping 20 some days to abandon it. And while I was not on social media, I still found myself going to things like Pinterest instead. I realized, the next time I do this I need to create boundaries and exact parameters for what I will do when I get bored and fidgety instead of just saying "I'm sure I'll just pray or meditate." Because the truth is old habits die hard, and if you haven't already been fostering a posture or prayer and mediation at other moments in your day, you're certainly not going to do it when that's the last thing you want to do.
Overall, I'm really glad I gave up something for Lent this year. It definitely opened my eyes to a lot of things about myself spiritually and emotionally. I also found some awesome new music that is more than just "uplifting and positive". If you're interested in some new worship music take a look at my ultimate worship list below. I would also love to hear how your Lent went and if you ended up learning anything from what you gave up.
Ultimate Worship List
Rock Worship - Citizens and Saints, The Digital Age, The Royal Royal
Chill/Ambiance Worship - The Ember Days & Future of Forestry
EDM/Techno Worship - Hillsong Young & Free and Urban Rescue
Liturgical Worship - Gungor, The Brilliance, Page CXVI