I made a decision several weeks back to deactivate Lance’s and my Facebook account (with his approval of course). There are several reasons why I did but I am so glad I made that decision. Here are the reasons:
1. I was on it way too much.
I didn’t want to miss what was going on in any of my friend’s lives so I checked it often. In the line at the grocery store, waiting at the doctor’s office, on my lunch break, at home at night, first thing in the morning, and basically any opportunity I had to open it and read status updates.
One of the saddest aspects of this problem was that my eyes were down everywhere I went. If there were someone sitting beside me in the waiting room having a bad day, I would have never known. My mind was on my virtual world, which isn’t exactly real anyway. It saddens me to think of missed opportunities to be an encouragement FACE TO FACE to someone in need and to share God’s love with them.
2. I became tired of reading passive aggressive comments as well as ugly comments made.
Many of them related to other people that perhaps I knew a bit of the story (enough to recognize passive aggressive behavior) and some of them were about me. I decided long ago that I did not want to know what negativity was being posted about me and told my family and friends that if they noticed something ugly being posted to please refrain from telling me. It worked well for the most part and though they might slip and tell me something was posted, I rarely knew what it was. I set a boundary for myself and I stuck to it. These were things that I had no control over and if all it did was upset me, then I didn’t need that in my life. I wish I were stronger. But it’s really hard for me to handle criticism. Especially now, when my relationship with God is stronger than ever, my heart more right than ever, and my decisions based on many hours of prayer and seeking God. Deactivating Facebook so that I could focus on these issues was definitely the right decision to make.
During this time, I have found myself wondering what to do with my downtime, when I would normally be on my phone. I have found more time to read other blogs and devotionals. I have found more time to read my Bible. I have been more open to God using me in my daily life to encourage others and have conversations. I have realized opportunities every day to look someone else in the eyes and have meaningful conversations. I am less inward focused and more outward focus.
Here’s my dilemma. Facebook really was an avenue to reach others and offer an encouraging word. It was a place to post my blog entries through which I try to be real and encourage others. I tried to make it a positive place for others and post statuses that lifted people up rather than tear people down. I had many people private message me stating that I have been so encouraging to them and share with me things in their lives that they wanted me to pray about. I wrote every one of them in my prayer journal and still pray for them. It CAN be a good place to reach people, to let others know they aren’t alone in their struggles, to reach out to the hurting and show God’s love. It can be a good form of reaching others. The problem is when you are so technology focused that you don’t even see people, real “reach out and pinch them” people, around you. When Facebook replaces Face-to-Face connection, it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate the role that it is truly playing in your life.
Also, there will always be people who will criticize me. I cannot continue to hide from it and I must figure out a way to not let it control my mind. I have been on a journey out of this mindset of being concerned with others’ opinion of me and this is just one more step I need to take. God is the only One whose opinion matters and though I will never do this perfectly, I am striving to seek Him in every decision.
So where does this leave me today? A break from Facebook is needed, maybe even scheduled breaks in the future. Or just when I find myself misusing it or obsessing over it. Everywhere I go, I observe people on it, scrolling through feeds. I’ve been that person. It’s ok in moderation. But it’s not ok when that’s the first thing you think of doing every time you get a spare second. It’s not ok to ignore your family, your kids, your friends and even strangers who may need a smile while checking facebook. Ironically, we ignore those we are face to face with in order to read about facade’s of lives that many times isn’t even reality.
I’ve needed this break to remind myself of these facts. I’ve needed this break to analyze the root of the problem and break the addiction.
In the last several weeks, I’ve realized how much I was on it and the influence I let it have over my life. I realized how damaging it was to my emotional and spiritual health as well as my family. I want to do a better job of not letting Facebook be such a influential part of my life.
I will most likely be back on Facebook at some point but until then, if you could join me in prayer over this matter, I would appreciate it. I am seeking more guidance and more strength before I return. I want it to be used in a positive way without it taking over my life. Will you join me?
~Keeping it Real