Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Facebook, Frienemies and Freedom

Last week I deleted my Facebook. After thinking about it for a while, I realized that I kept saying I didn't care about Facebook and then was on it 6 times a day. When I'm being a hypocrite to myself, I know something probably needs to change.

I'll be honest, when my other friends have "fasted" from social media, I always thought myself a bit better than them. "I don't need to do that," I thought to myself, "I have a handle on it....unlike them." Well turns out I don't. I shut down my account and have felt far more uncomfortable than I would care to admit. So for those of you who think you're better than me, you probably are. As for the rest of us, I thought I'd share what I've been learning from deleting my Facebook.

Facebook is the frienemy of introverts. 
I always thought given my introverted nature that Facebook would be a helpful way to keep up on the happenings of people without having to interact with them. While that's absolutely true, I also knew way too much about way too many people and found myself becoming exhausted when it actually came time to spend with real people. Information overload. For being a person who tends to thrive when relationships are an inch wide and a mile deep, I was inadvertently living the opposite. I knew a  lot about a bunch of people who I don't spend frequent, meaningful time with.

I get to make my choices about my time. 
I could spend an entire post blaming Facebook for my distraction, but it can't/won't change its nature. It's an object. I've felt uncomfortable the past week because in the past I spent my down time perusing Facebook, taking inventory of the goings-on of everyone in my inner, outer, and beyond circles. I've been noticing the lapses in my day more and am having to make choices where I spend my mental energy. It still looks like online shopping sometimes, but there's something about removing my reflexive source of entertainment that has caused pause. I'm reading more in the evenings, and during the day am asking my office mate how her day is going when I have ten extra minutes and need a mental break.

I have forgotten how to ask questions and learn about people.
When I removed the influx of information about people via Facebook (what they did that weekend, photos, who their friends are, etc.), I realized I actually have lost some ability to create conversation out of nothing. I have grown so accustomed to referencing information I learned about them online, I have neglected the art of learning about people based off of simple questions (other than "how's your day going"?). I am awkwardly having to remember to ask about people....slowly reverting from always knowing what's going on to choosing to care to ask and realize things I don't know about them.

That which I thought I was gaining from Facebook was measured on a false scale. 
Nothing is wrong with Facebook. I think most people can go on for a lifetime and use it and never have an issue. However, I have far less self-control than most people. I never chose to give it up before now thinking that what it provided me was more helpful than if it wasn't there. It's where I have posted about my blog, how I remember birthdays, where I saw people's names so that in the future when I met them I had a frame of reference. But in reality, I don't care if anyone really needs my if my "readers" fall off, I'll still be content (plus I can post about it on Instagram), I'll always know the birthdays of the people I'm presently close to, and there's nothing wrong with meeting someone I have no idea about and shaking their hand for the first time without seeing 100 million pictures of them prior to our introduction.

Social media is a great thing, meant for fun, and nothing more. 
I read this Citizen's Press article a few weeks ago. It was just another cog setting this deletion-mindset in motion. Truthfully, I deleted Facebook but I still love Instagram. It isn't an issue for me. Some days I'm on it 4 times, others I forget it's there. I'm not a hypocrite, I just realize that my heart is what matters, not social media or rules I make about it. My admonishment for myself and others is to always examine the sources of entertainment (and all else) in our life, pray and ask the Lord to reveal bentness, repent and change as needed. There should always be freedom to enjoy and nothing more. Facebook had gotten out of hand for me and I'm happy to admit that.

Jesus is better than my perspective on Facebook.
That's the rub. Facebook wasn't always a bad thing for me, it wasn't always a good thing for me was just a website, and like anything else in this world, it can be abused because I'm sinful. For me, this shift has been a quarter turn towards Jesus and away from building my own kingdom. It's freeing me to be more present in my day and to a way to see how I can better abide in Jesus. Creating rules around things that aren't sin issues is unhelpful garbage, so I don't have a rule book to social media. I am only praying for self-awareness and humility to admit when I sense problems for myself. That's my prayer for my life. That Jesus would give me more of Himself and reveal to me the patterns in place that cause me to stutter in knowing Him better.

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