Saying Yes By Saying No: Taking a Social Media Break
“I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello!” —The Beatles
I love saying yes. Yes is often scary, but it’s the way I want to be. I want to show up and be faithful and hopeful in my callings.
The main thing “yes” people have to do, I think, is say “no.” Because when you say YES, you are saying NO. You’re saying no to all the things you’re not going to do in order to do what you most must do. It can be a seasonal no (no TV or ice cream for a month), or a permanent no (I’m getting married and now she is my only YES).
I’ve decided to take time off from social media during Lent, a season where Christians practice fasting (saying “no”) in order to say “yes” to more intentional faithfulness to Jesus in some way or ways.
I understand the concerns of those who scold people who announce social media fasts, but sometimes it’s kind to let folks know what’s going on. My heart for my readers has always been deeply concerned with hospitality and generosity. So, I’m letting you know I won’t be active on social media except a short time on Sundays, maybe. (Sundays are traditional feast days, even during a long fast.) There’s also the possibility of scheduling posts for a special event, or of someone else posting on my account. (My wife, who sometimes takes over my social media stories to great effect, has always had access to all my social media accounts and so does my brother/partner Josiah. They may post at some point.)
I won’t bore you with all my reasons for stepping back from social media for a while. I have wanted to for a long time. I will say that I have been reluctant to, because my work is often shared that way and that’s how our small/family business functions. We don’t have publicists or marketers or anything. It’s just us. So, there is a real financial concern, but I believe the YES outweighs the NO in this case. (I also firmly believe that God is our provider.)
I believe that this will allow me to say a better YES to my calling as a storyteller, a better YES to my calling as a husband and father, member of my church and community, and many other crucial areas of my life.
Most importantly, I am a follower of Jesus Christ and an imperfect disciple who wants to grow more and more faithful to him in his way of love. As Peter says, where else can I go? Jesus has the words of eternal life. There’s nowhere else to go. Jesus is life. I belong to him forever.
I am aware of the spiritual and mental health costs of regular social media attention, culture-wide, and with me. I am giving up what Cal Newport calls “digital maximalism” for Lent. I feel like it’s important to back up and experience what life is like without a daily habit that includes access to the infinite scrolling always available for any bored moment.
Boredom is crucial for creativity of all kinds. It is absolutely essential for storytellers. (Ever wonder why you get your best ideas in the shower? No phone.) For the first time in history, we have to really fight to make space for boredom. We have to cultivate boredom. This is a small example of the YES I’m seeking with my NO. There are others.
I hope this makes sense. I believe I am saying NO in order to say a better YES. I am saying “Goodbye” so I can say “Hello.”
I want to say once again how grateful I am for you. Thanks for reading my books and sharing your enthusiasm and encouragement with me!
God bless you during this season and always.
Andy Crouch’s The Tech-Wise Family
Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism (and Deep Work)
Your words just gave me something to think about: “Boredom is…absolutely essential for storytellers.” I’ve always known boredom was essential for creativity but somehow never clued in that storytelling (though a form of creativity) needs boredom to blossom as well. Thank you!