Caleb Bone is husband to Ruchala, dad to Griffin and Georgia, and serves on the Ethos Staff as the Marathon Tech Director. The following blog was written by him — he and Ruchala reflect on their experience of fasting from social media (and more) during last year's season of Fast Forward. His hope is that those who are debating how to fast or if they should fast from social media will be encouraged by this blog!
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When Ethos first did Fast Forward in 2017, I had never fasted before. I knew it was in the Bible, but growing up in fairly conservative churches, I didn't really know anyone that had done it and I grouped it in my mind with more fringe Christian practices. That first year challenged me to be more open to the idea. My wife Ruchala and I decided that our life circumstances (mostly having a 10 month old at home) would make it difficult to fully fast, so we went with a partial fast that would take much less prep time to allow us to give that time back to God.
It was a great experience as my wife and I spent time in intentional prayer together almost nightly, but if we're being honest, we didn't take much time prior to pray and commit to what a month-long fast would look like, and we fell off in my participation about two weeks in. When it came back around in 2018, we talked and prayed about how to do it differently. We wanted to participate through the whole month, so we were trying to find something that would work for us.
We settled on a social media fast, as well as leaving our phones on the charging dock in the evening once I got home from work. I knew it was doable, but I didn't know if we had over corrected and if it wouldn't make much of a difference in my life during the month. I also felt a little guilty that we weren't doing a food fast.
Once the month started, however, I realized how big of a difference God could make with a small intentional change. I deleted social media from my phone, and within the first couple days I had several moments of realization that I had picked up my phone on autopilot when I was bored, looking for a distraction, or checking out to open Facebook or Instagram. Once I got home with my phone on the dock, I was more present and found it easier to find time to spend with God in prayer each night. I was so encouraged by the time I had spent with God during the evenings that I decided to go a step further for the month and not watch TV or play video games (both HUGE hobbies of mine) for the rest of the month as well.
Two very important things happened that led me to believe that month of prayer changed my prayer life.
First, I had access to God during that time that I had not experienced before. God really began working on me to really show me who He is, His love for me, and what He wants for me.It's difficult to explain, but there were moments I was overcome with how close He felt to me.
The second thing requires a little background - Ruchala is a social worker, and has always had a soft spot for foster care and adoption. It was something we had discussed several times during the time we had been together, but it had come up more seriously as we were talking about resolutions for the year. A few events had put it on our mind, but we had decided one goal for 2018 was to start the process to become foster parents.
We hadn't defined what that meant or put a timeline on it other than said we'd start the process. God was ready to make sure we wouldn't forget though - a couple days before Fast Forward started, I met someone from a foster care agency, and we had a long conversation about how great the need for foster parents is. God set the table for us before we even started to fast! He worked on us both individually and as a couple throughout last February. With what I can describe as only a overwhelming peace (given how major a decision deciding to become foster parents is), God helped us to decide not to wait. We started our certification in March and recently finished, and are now awaiting a placement.