Some of you probably won’t like this post. I don’t either. It’s been convicting for me.
Recently, I had a friend ask me “How do you get anything done with Facebook?” I told her it really didn’t take much of my time since I scan-read really fast down my newsfeed. But it got me thinking about how much time I actually DO put into social media, namely facebook.
And it surprised me a bit. I found that even though I might not have been spending much time clicking people’s pictures and links, I spent more time thinking about what I’d just read once I closed the browser. Precious time that I could have spent thinking and praying about something much more important.
I had never been on Facebook until about four years ago. People kept suggesting we get on it, so Lowell and I both got accounts and found our long-lost friends. It was wonderful to reconnect with folks I hadn’t heard from or seen in almost two decades! Plus the added benefit of being able to keep up with some of our family and friends we left back in Indiana.
The reconnecting was fun, but nobody warned me about what came with social media.
These are the things I call, from my experience, the “curse of social media”:
Disappointment – I am a person who naturally likes to think the best of others. And I know that I should be able to swallow the disappointment I’d feel when I’d see how someone had changed (or was changing) – and not for the better. Especially if I saw someone I respected agreeing to something I knew was not Biblical. The giving in to the culture around us left me bitterly disappointed.
Some would say I should be able to extend them grace. And I am, by “mostly” leaving Facebook. I say “mostly” because I still like to see what our church ladies page has on it, get messages, and I must post some items on our home business page. But I know myself and my own heart, and I am the kind of person that will hold some of my acquaintances in higher esteem if I do not see their facebook postings.
Time Waster – Like I stated previously, even though I didn’t spend much time actually logged onto facebook, I spent more time thinking about what picture I should put up, or why so-and-so posted what they did. Or thinking about the awful tragedies I’d see going on all over the world. Not just tragedies, but sin that gets blasted in front of everyone’s eyes. I began to think about what I could have done with that time I’d just wasted with thinking about all that, plus the stomachache some of the posts gave me.
Relationship Neglect – This will be the case for lots of things that take up our time, such as your smartphone, texting, reading a novel, etc. It’s not limited to social media. But I’d find that, while on facebook, my four-year-old could be standing right beside me asking repeatedly for help with something . . . and I wouldn’t even hear him. Am I disappointed in myself? Immensely. But disappointment and conviction are good if they lead to change.
I’m sure there are more things that could be added to this little list of the curses of social media on my life. And what I am doing will not be for everybody. Some folks are better able to handle the disappointments in others than I am. My husband, for example, can logically take what someone says and not let it ruin his day.
But I want to put my relationships with “real-life” folks first. This includes my little family, and it includes you.
- I want to feel the sunshine on my cheeks, not just see how great it is somewhere else in facebookland. I sometimes wonder if folks wouldn’t be more contented if they didn’t think someone else had it better. It’s easy to begin thinking that via social media.
- I want to take pictures of my children among the cherry blossoms, and take them just for me and no one else. My children are precious to me, and someday I’ll be old and gray with probably no teeth . . . and I’ll reach for my photo albums, not facebook.
- I want to believe that the hearts of my friends are good and true, and should they disappoint me to my face, I will still extend them grace. I want my friends to believe my heart is good and true, and if I should mess up in real life, I pray they will extend me grace as well.
- I want to set an example that I’d be proud for my children to follow. One that leads through the garden, the fruit orchard, the green grass, and brilliant sunshine . . . with “for real” footprints.
- I want to pick up my Bible more and remember again the sovereign God I serve. Sovereign in spite of all the sin and tragedies going on around me. I want to show my children how to help those hurting right beside us, even though we cannot help those hurting half way across the world.
This post has been a while in coming and I’ve discussed with Lowell about how much is too much, how much is too little. And let me repeat myself, that the steps I’m taking are not what everyone else needs to take. Not everyone has six young children who need her. Not everyone also has a blog that, yes, does take time. Not everyone loves to garden and mow grass and can peaches …. and …. you get my point.
Someday I might find I’ve matured enough to handle facebook disappointments, or find that my children no longer are home, and begin to follow my friends again there. But for now, this is what I need to do!