Written by: Lara Marriott
This month I wanted to write about Facebook. So, let’s talk about Pinocchio. (I think I have been hanging around my kids a bit too long…”squirrel!”) No really, Facebook reminded me recently of the part in the movie when…
You might be saying to yourself, “Ah, Lara that is harsh, Facebook isn’t like that for the most part. That kind of behavior and environment is few and far between.” Maybe…
But I decided to take a break from Facebook this month and it’s been VERY difficult… I’ve found myself going back to it at least once a day to find out what others have been up to so I can stay ‘in-touch”. It’s helped not commenting about how I’ve been feeling or what I’ve been doing which has opened my eyes to a few things.
When I first heard about Facebook a few years ago I was intrigued. I wanted to reconnect with my high school classmates, family members, and friends from years past. It was awesome to talk to them again and see what they were doing as we were all getting older and to be able to share some pictures of the new additions to our family. Over the years, however, my thoughts and actions have started to change. Instead of going onto Facebook every now and then – it became my escape.
I had two toddlers at home and rarely got out of the house. When I was frustrated, I’d check Facebook. When I was lonely, I’d check Facebook. When the kids were sleeping, I’d check Facebook. When my husband and I weren’t getting along, I’d check Facebook. It was there I felt I could be open and free with my feelings finding some kind of support. It was there I could live vicariously through my friends lives and get away from my own. This behavior was very unhealthy.
Comparing myself to others was another one of my hidden “Facebook sins”. If I had this “number” of friends then I had value. If I had that “number” of comments on one of my posts then I was understood and validated. If these people connected with me then I was special. What, a sin? Oh no, no, no…I rarely sinned (insert sarcasm). It didn’t seem like it at the time because I justified it. But, by stepping back and looking at Facebook from the outside looking in, I can see now how it had become a facade of reality.
There is a good side and a bad side to Facebook. I love posting scripture verses I am reading each day. I love sharing about how God is working in my life and in the lives of others. The other day one of my friends asked me about my faith and I had the privilege of sharing about God’s love for them. It is a great place to post prayer requests and have hundreds of people praying for you or being able to pray for others’ needs. Facebook reminds me about birthdays and anniversaries so I can wish my family and friends blessings on their special days. It is fun to post silly pictures and/or videos of events that have affected me. And it has been awesome to reconnect with people from my past and make new connections.
Unfortunately though, most of my “friends” are not in my present reality. They are living their lives somewhere else in the world. They have grown up and have made life decisions without me being around. So even though we have re-connected, we are still very dis-connected. I realize I need to stop trying to force my way back into their reality. I also need to let some of them go. Just the other day I saw one of my high school friends changed his profile picture to a pornographic image. I was shocked and had to block him completely which made me very sad.
This is not intended to be a downer post, but maybe it will make us all think of how we spend those precious 24 hours we have been given each day and who (and what) we give that time to.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.
I have found myself going to Facebook more than going to Jesus. I have also found Facebook has become a Band-Aid, but not a restful solution, to what is really going on deep down in my heart.
We all have friends right where we are and neighbors who might need a friendly act of kindness once and awhile. There are people in our churches who we can “friend” and get to know. Our families, who might be trying at times, but also need our love, attention and prayers. I believe when we place those people above our Facebook/Social Media friends, we will have a much more balanced approach when it comes to our internet friends.
So will I quit Facebook altogether? I’ve thought about it, but no. I will try to stop seeing it as an escape or a “Pleasure Island” if you will. I am thankful for all of the people God has placed in my life through Facebook. They are each very special and will continue to be. But, God has brought my immediate family and I to where we are now, and I need to flourish in that reality – not Facebook.
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