Saturday, August 3, 2013

What 2 Months Off Facebook Taught Me About Me

It was like a cancer. It crept up on me, unannounced, but refused to leave.  It was happening more frequently and without restraint. And it had a name... jealousy.

I would log on to my Facebook account in the morning first thing.  Of course, I had disciplined myself not to open it until after I had read my bible passage for the morning, like a good Christian girl should do - not really because I wanted to read my bible first but I told myself that Facebook connections were great.   Right?

Scrolling through the list of status updates, I would find myself thinking things and drawing judgements about people that I never wanted to make - and honestly didn't even know enough about to validate it.

"What?  She went to lunch with her and not with me?"  "Wow, look how 'together' that family is!  They are always having so much fun!  Why can't I  be more like that?"  "Why didn't I get invited to that party?  I should have been there."

Yep.  I told you.  Not pretty.  Like... really ugly things that spoke to where my heart was being drawn.  I was crawling into the pit of disillusionment, where a two sentence blurb and a photo left me coming to conclusions about people that were never intended.

"Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."  Matthew 6:21

This verse came to mind.  I knew I needed to take immediate action in order to save my heart and soul and allow God to draw me up out of the pit so that I could sing a new song.  (Psalm 40)

I took a Facebook break for two months.

I'd like to say it was a piece of cake.... but it wasn't.

Day 1 - harder than heck.  I mean, it was ridiculous.  I was ashamed at how attached my heart had gotten to something that had been seemingly frivolous.  I wondered what I was missing out on.  I wanted to be included in what was going on in my "friends'" lives.

And then I realized that all those thoughts I was having about Facebook started with "I".  Hmmm.  So this facebook thing that I had started out saying was all about "connections" was really more about me than it was about them after all?  Ouch.

Day 7 - The addiction had basically worn off.  I didn't want to reach for my phone to check statuses whenever I had a moment of down time.  And here is the SHOCKER - I picked up my phone and started calling the friends that came to mind instead of just stalking them!

Day 10 - I had found that I now had a lot more down time in my day.  I wanted to be intentional about how I spent that time so I tried to be cognizant of who came to my mind during the day.  And instead of going to Facebook to feed my impulse to stay connected, I started praying for them.  I prayed for their marriages.  I prayed for their children.  I prayed for their health.  I prayed for their friendships.  

Day 15 - This addiction was slowly being pruned from my heart.  I was beginning to see moments in the day that were just total gifts from God.  A few minutes to build a puzzle with my 3 year old.  An extra moment to watch my 8 year old show me her new dance move.  A second to show my 11 year old how to blanch broccoli.  Little moments.  Totally insignificant to the outside world.  Not instagram worthy moments for anyone else but to my kids, they were precious.

Day 20 - My kids started to notice.  I am more present.  I have stopped thinking about what I'm not being included in and started to be thankful for the three little lives in front of me every day.  I am finding quiet to be more comfortable.  I have decided not to carry my phone with me wherever I go - if people call when I am busy, they can wait.  I want to live in THIS moment - right now.

Day 59 - What do I do tomorrow?  Do I sign back in on Facebook?  Am I strong enough to stay the course of contentment and quiet my heart and mind when I need to - not always reaching for my phone to fill the void?  Yes.  I am.

Because the bottom line is I WANT to see the BEST in these people.   The friends I have on facebook are my family, my friends -  past and present, my former coworkers and fellow adoptive mamas.  I want to cheer them on and celebrate their special moments and pray for and encourage them when they are down and out.

But I have a renewed perspective and a healthy sense of balance in my connection via social media.  I am grateful that God showed me what my heart is capable of (the ugliness that is possible without him as my center) and what life is like when we take each moment by the hand and live in the present.

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