Time for confession: I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook.
When I get to be encouraged by positive quotes that I follow and happy with those who are happy, and check the “on this day” and be reminded of special memories, I love it. When I start feeling sorry for myself because my behind the scenes footage doesn’t measure up with everyone else’s highlight reels, or I’m going to be brutally, painfully honest – some friends don’t like my stuff but comment on others, I hate it. And don’t just tell me to unfollow – I would have to unfriend I think to stop seeing the comments. Maybe even that wouldn’t work.
Dare I say it, Facebook might not be good for me?
God says, “You have the right to be on Facebook, but some things are not helpful to you. Is Facebook helpful to you?”
When Lent was approaching, God asked me a question. When do I ever tell myself no? Not let myself do whatever I want? Let’s be honest – basically I’m a little selfish.
During my daily quiet time, God put the idea in my head. Can you survive without Facebook? Could you put that idol down? I argued, “It’s not an idol.” Except I had a faint inkling that I spent every spare moment scrolling through the app on my phone. 5 minutes would turn into 15 would turn into 30. Nah – I really don’t spend that much time on Facebook.
A year ago I had vowed that I would only get on Facebook once a day for 15 minutes. I’d kind of forgotten about that vow. Then I tried games. I wouldn’t get on until after my quiet time with God.
But what’s so wrong with Facebook? You’re connecting with friends and family. You’re keeping up with current events. And you’re right. There’s nothing wrong with that.
I may be the only one who gets a little dissatisfied with her own life after seeing all the vacations that everyone else is taking. Or comparing the backstage scenes of my life with the highlight reels of everyone else’s. But I’m telling it like it is. Often, I feel worse about myself and my life after time on Facebook. I think it might be called jealousy thrown in with a side dish of coveting.
And don’t get me started on the times I get downright angry and argumentative about my opinion. I’ve been known to throw the Bible verses that say to bear with one another in love and forgive each other out the door.
And so I agreed with God that I would give up Facebook for Lent. Six and a half weeks without posting a status or checking the news feed. Missing out on the “on this day” reminders that I love so much. At first, I went through withdrawal. I would find myself picking up my phone, about to open the App when I would stop myself. Remember – you’re not doing that for a few weeks. What else could I do? Well, I started engaging with those around me a little more. I read a lot more. And yes – I probably picked up a new addiction – Pinterest. But I kept my promise. And the more I fasted, the easier it got. I actually felt a little free. Maybe even a little healthier mentally and emotionally. Free from the latest argument on Facebook. Not as concerned with who liked me and who didn’t. I had forgotten about it.
But I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I was looking forward to getting back on Facebook on Easter when my fast would end. That didn’t go well.
The morning after Easter, I found myself in a pity party all because the pictures of other families made me remember and dwell on the fact that someone had been missing from my family this Easter. Now with my head, I knew she couldn’t be here. She had a college function on Friday night. She is six hours away. She had work and school on Monday. And she was worshiping with what has become her home church on Saturday and serving in the children’s ministry on Sunday. She got to spend the time with her boyfriend’s family on both of those days. She is loved, cared for, appreciated, and happy. And I am happy for her. And I got to spend the morning listening to my husband bring two inspiring sermons and worship with my two other children. Cooking for them and laughing with them as we ate too much chocolate and dyed Easter eggs.
So why the day after Easter, was I crying? I got the jealous gene.
I think I know deep down that Facebook doesn’t agree with my system, but I just can’t give it up yet. I’m not being honest with myself – an addict can’t just have a little every once in a while. An addict has to quit cold turkey and fill her life with something else.
But I’m not ready. “God – I can handle it,” I bargain. I’ll just go on once a day in the afternoon or evening. I’ll make sure not to get addicted – again.
I love following the positive accounts that post inspirational quotes and Bible verses. I need that in my life, God. I need to keep up with what my friends are doing. I don’t want to hurt their feelings. But is that really why I’m on Facebook? Could it be a little pride of life issue going on?
Facebook isn’t bad. I have the right to do anything, but not everything is beneficial. And I think that’s different for everyone. I’ve got to figure out if Facebook should have a place in my life or not. I thought I would have an answer after my Facebook fast. I thought I would be cured. “I’d be missing out on so much! Everyone else is doing it, and they’re fine!” I whine to God. “What about my Facebook page for my writing? How am I ever going to promote my writing and be a published author if I don’t have a Facebook page?!?!”
These are questions that I need to dig deep to answer. I’m going to have to be quiet and be still to get an answer, but let me just check Facebook first.