All who know me know that I am a Facebook fan. Being at home with children so much of the time, it is nice to have a connection to the outside world at my fingertips. I used to log on maybe twice a day, for 10 to 15 minutes at the most. No games, no lengthy conversations, no “stalking”. And now, a few years later, I seem to have let it get a bit out of hand. My life does not allow me to sit for long periods of time, but I find myself leaving my newsfeed pulled up on the screen and then checking it every time I walk past the computer. You know, just to make sure I haven’t missed anything urgent since I last left the room. Oh and I also discovered Words With Friends. For a girl who loves word games, particularly Scrabble, this was like stumbling upon Utopia right here in my living room.
I prayed about giving up Facebook for lent, but reasoned in my mind that since I am Southern Baptist this was not really necessary. Then I prayed about just taking a break, and reasoned that my out of town friends and family would be miserably unhappy if I did not post adorable pictures of my muddy children. Then I prayed about just giving it up entirely and reasoned that I might lose my sanity if I don’t maintain some sort of connection to life outside the walls of my home. Obviously, God is pricking my heart about this, but I have been reluctant to obey. Which is, in fact, disobedience. Ouch. I do not want to play with disobedience. I know the end result of that choice all too well. So what now? I wanted to write this post just to see for myself in black and white text the negative effects of this growing addiction that I am already aware of:
1. Comparing myself, my life, to others on Facebook is breeding discontent. I do NOT do this intentionally. In fact, I intentionally try NOT to compare my real life with the highlight reel of someone else’s… But I will read about someone’s wonderful vacation, or see a picture of the huge flower arrangement a friend’s husband sent for no reason, and it will just stick in my mind. I don’t mean for it to stick, but it does.
2. I have replaced “real” reading with reading snippets and blog posts and quotes via Facebook. I used to read voraciously. Now I am lucky to finish a book every 6 months. There is nothing wrong with the inspirational quotes and messages I find on Facebook, but those things alone are not enough to drive truth deep into my soul.
3. My quiet times aren’t really quiet. I often sit at the computer desk to read my Bible and devotional, and it is nice to be able to look something up online. ( I love BibleGateway, by the way.) But inevitably I read something profound and my first thought is, “I need to post this on Facebook!” So instead of just spending time with God, listening, I am spending time with God and 540 of my closest friends. Sharing. (If you call it sharing it sounds so much more spiritual, doesn’t it?)
4. I am not really being real, at least not all of the time. I have some tricky relationships in my life, just like you do. And I have been called out a couple times for saying something (unintentionally) that offended someone else. I am an approval junkie, so this kind of thing can throw me into a tailspin, and make me feel the need to measure every word and possible response before I post something. I still haven’t fully conquered my “need to please”. This makes Facebook dangerous territory at times.
5. Quite simply, it is a huge distraction. I have a large family. And a big, old house that needs constant attention. But instead of working on those little projects that could make my home more lovely, more comfortable, (or just CLEAN), I spend what little free time I have with my butt glued to a chair and my eyes glued to a screen. And then I feel the dreaded GUILT. I really hate that emotion. Hate. It.
Ok, there you have it. Five of the many reasons I feel God is asking me to “de-activate”. I don’t want to. But this is just another way I need to die to myself… It might seem silly, but God works even in the smallest parts of our lives, right? And even a small disobedience can turn into a BIG consequence. This I know. I believe if He is asking me to do this then He has something GOOD in store for me that I will miss if I choose not to obey. And I have really missed my blog, so this will free me up to write and post more here! So come visit me here, comment, and let’s hang out. Just not on Facebook. 🙂