Six months ago, I deactivated my Facebook account. I was convicted about all the time I was wasting and all the ways I was letting social media dictate my thoughts. Like much of the world, it can be used to take our hearts and minds away from what really matters if we aren’t very intentional.
Honestly, I’m shocked 6 months went by without me really noticing how long it had been. I activated my Facebook account in college. Until the beginning of this year, Facebook had been a regular part of my life for my entire adulthood. I wasn’t sure how I’d do without it, and all of that was a sobering reality. Had I allowed myself to be manipulated all that time? How has this impacted my marriage, my parenthood, and my religion?
I decided to take an indefinite break when I saw two Christians I loved tearing one another down in the name of Jesus #youredoingitwrong
The last year and a half has put a spotlight on problems in the world, and more specifically in the church. Christians are exchanging real relationships with virtual interactions. I don’t believe for one minute that that is holy. Man made electronic connections are missing the sacred human presence that God made, and that makes it so easy to get nasty online.
The break was everything I hoped it would be and honestly more. I freed my mind from influences of the world. I lessened my anxiety by focusing on my home and family. As a “compulsive introvert”, it was really toxic to constantly hear everyone’s thoughts on every topic under the sun, even the positive things. I needed more mind space to sit with and process my own thoughts. Introverts, if you know, you know. The loneliness that resulted from losing that online connection forced me to focus on my reality…I had used social media as an introvert crutch to remain isolated while feeling connected. The longer I was off of Facebook, the more I sought people’s actual faces in person. It was incredibly refreshing and encouraging. It’s what God wants for all of us.
Regardless of opinions on the pandemic, I think anyone who is honest with him or herself can admit that virtual connections and virtual church are sorry substitutes for the real things. So many people are depressed, anxious, and hopeless after all of that isolation, but sadly, social media has facilitated a false sense of connection that perpetuates the isolation.
All that being said, I realized I needed to reconnect on Facebook because it is the way the world communicates. As my friend said today, “Facebook is like town square.” While I don’t need it personally (my social anxiety has diminished and my friendships have grown without all the Facebook input), I need to communicate with our church groups and various other organizations through Facebook. Another friend said, “It’s a necessary evil.” I don’t want to be influenced by the world, but I still need to be in it to make a positive impact.
Moving forward, I don’t want to ever allow Facebook or any other platform to be what it used to be. I’ve deleted about 75% of my “friends” and will continue paring my list down. If you’re reading this and notice you’re no longer on my personal page, I promise it’s not personal. In reality, I still very much value all the people I’ve met through the years. I’m still available and connected to many of you on Instagram, a platform that’s been much more fun and light for me, and I love seeing your photos there. With Facebook, I just really want to maintain the list of people with whom I need to communicate more regularly on Messenger and groups (I.e. very close friends and family). I don’t want to get my news and entertainment there, and I definitely don’t want to go back to “connecting” online. I hope that I can be a positive presence on Facebook in a more official capacity through my service to the community and church and with my artwork. May it never be a distraction or idol again.
I know that Facebook can be a wonderful tool, and for those of you who can use it that way, please continue to do so. I don’t mean any of this to be a judgment for those who use Facebook regularly. I’m simply sharing my heart and experience, as I usually do here. If you’ve ever struggled with the harsher aspects of social media, I’m here to tell you you’re not alone and that it can be put in its place.