On face.book: Why I’m back, and here to stay!

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So, this month I didn’t use my face.book account. At all. I deactivated my account (which, by the way, fb turns into quite a dramatic event. When you click “deactivate” it begins to show you pictures of your friends with a message that says, “This friend will miss you” and “so and so will miss you” as if that will change your mind. Cute. Ineffective, but cute.) A lot of people have asked me why I did it, and I’d really like to say I had a well thought out and coherent response. Usually in my life though, that isn’t true, and I babble and ramble until hopefully, eventually, something comes out that makes a little bit of sense.

I knew I needed a break. But I feel like taking a break is pointless if there isn’t a goal or a reason or something at the end. I knew I was spending a little too much time on fb, but I didn’t feel like it was out of control or terrible. I think what it came down to is that I was allowing my computer/phone/social media become a priority, and in my brain, it isn’t as high as my actions were saying. Does that make sense? I guess I just felt like I was getting to the end of my days and saying, “I didn’t have time to run” or “I didn’t have time to fold that load of laundry” or “I didn’t have time to start a craft with the kids” or “I didn’t have time to do devotions.” But I wasn’t getting to the end of a lot of days thinking, “Man, I just couldn’t squeeze in ANY fb time!” or “Wow, I didn’t look at insta.gram once today!” It just wasn’t happening. However my days were going, and whatever I was doing, I always got to the end of them having used social media in some form. Which means that somewhere along the way, it became a priority above things that I actually WANT to be my priorities.

When I deactivated, I wasn’t 100% sure I was even going to come back. I thought maybe this would be a freeing month, and I’d realize how much time I wasted and how unecessary it was, and I wouldn’t want to do it again. That definitely didn’t happen–there were a lot of things that I missed. Turns out when you deactivate your account, things don’t stop (inconsiderate, yes? I figured I should probably unfriend anyone who had a significant life event in my absence.) People had babies, adopted babies, got engaged, had birthdays that I completely missed, and had loved ones die and I missed the services because I didn’t know in time. I felt a little left out of all these things (as of starting this post, I STILL haven’t seen pictures of some of those babies that were born!) and I realize what a huge part of every day life it has become. Despite having a little more time and focus, I actually saw people less because I realized how many of my playdates were scheduled through fb. I missed seeing pictures of my friends kiddos, reading interesting news articles.

I learned this month that I’ll probably never deactivate my account permanently, and I don’t really think that I should. Like it or hate it, social media is part of our world. And it’s part of the world my children are in, and I feel like as a Christian, I need to find a way to use this avenue in a way that gives him glory. To cut out the parts that pull me away from my faith and family, and to use this as a gift that points myself and others always up.

There’s a lot of debate about whether or not social media is destroying real relationships. And, as a texting addict who fell in love with her husband over the wee morning hours on an old school, non full keyboard phone, I say that is FALSE. I have close relationships with friends that I love and have encouraged me through mothering that I barely knew before we started communicating on fb. I bonded with women who also had preemie babies; I got advice and help from other moms who had 2 littles close together. I got advice on how to feed my kids, how to discipline my kids, and how to be a better mom. Also through social media, I have found a huge, humongous, crazy blessing in my friend Ashley. She has become a part of my daily life (mostly through texting marathons!!) and is truly a kindred spirit. I don’t know what I did before we were friends–she is my go-to “Holy cow I’m having a terrible day” or “Oh my gosh, look at this video of my kids” or “Is it ok my kids eat mac and cheese every night?” and most importantly, she gets texts pretty often from me begging for her fashion advice, whenever I need to look presentable and can’t pull it off on my own. It still baffles my mind to think that the ONLY reason she and I even met was because we were both fans (fans? is fans a creepy word? is it a nerdy word?) of Raechel’s blog–such big fans (Rae, do you feel like a rock star yet??) that we both flew hundreds of miles to stay with (and run. run far. run very, very, far) this woman who we had never met, but had followed her life, and admired. I 100% believe that is God. I believe that he gives us friends and relationships in unique ways, and that he provides opportunities for it to happen, and that to cut out social media would really limit my chances to see him work. He can work in many, many awesome ways, but I truly believe He is choosing working in social media in many ways.

But I think as Christians, we MUST make our social media usage different than the world. We must be uplifting and encouraging–I have been convicted that fb is not an appropriate outlet to complain about my children, or my husband, or my job, or even the weather. I am convicted to find the beauty not just in my blog, but in every aspect of social media that I use. And I am convicted to put my time with Him ahead of my blog, twitter, insta.gram, and fb. Because He IS more important, and the more HE is my priority, the more everything else will fall into place.

To many reading this, this entire post probably sounds really, really dramatic. Some of you are probably thinking “Geez, a month isn’t that long. I wouldn’t have any trouble doing that.” And to you–I truly admire you. I admire those who can use this as a blessing and not a stumbling block and I am hoping that will be where I end up as well. I feel like I made really good progress this month, and there are exciting things happening in the social media world right now that I feel are going to be big in my life, and big in the social media circle that NEEDS christians to rise up.

I’d LOVE to hear anyone’s thoughts on this. What are some ways that you have made social media a part of your life without letting it take over? What do you think that we as Christians can do to spread our influence in this world? Have you had experiences with friends that you met through this avenue that you feel God gave you?

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9 responses »

  1. As always, I loved hearing your thoughts — you’ve pretty much pinpointed exactly how I feel on the topic (a bit more coherently, I’ll admit ;)…I for one, am glad you’re back!

  2. My dear Ashley, I do feel that through FB God led me to be a friend to my coworker. When Brandon died i always wondered why and was mad at God, but He has used me through this to be there for my coworker. God planted me at my job because he knew I was going to have to be there for her. It was terrible for her and of course me to have to go through the loss of a child, but I was only at the job a few weeks then was let go, so I feel that God used me and my coworker and FB to go through it all. I do believe that without FB I would have never known about the tragedy that happened. I love you Ashley and I am very proud of you.
    Aunt Karen

  3. LOVE YOU and could not agree more… we do need to find the balance between being current and being obsessive. It’s so hard! So grateful for you, your insight, and friendship. I do love that God can use anything and everything to glorify Him, even social media. You expressed what I would love to say so perfectly. I think putting boundaries on ourselves and asking for accountability in making good use of our time is a wise idea. Oh, now to put it into practice! It’s hard, but we are in it together! 🙂

  4. Love to you, friend. I took a 2-3 year break from Facebook a while back and it was WONDERUFL! Of course, I eventually found other distractions to pull me away and needed to learn to walk away from them as well. Interesting, any time you wipe out something time-consuming, if you don’t replace it immediately with something positive, an other distraction will take it’s place.

    Glad you and Ashely love each other. I love the two of you 🙂 So grateful that God crossed all of our paths!

    • Yes! When I stopped fb for a month, I found myself on insta.gram like a billion percent more often!! Our time just seems to get filled, no matter how little or how much we have. Here’s to filling it with good things 🙂

  5. Oh man, If i only knew we could have started up our ex-facebook club. But soon that network would become really time consuming also. You make some good points. I think about the other side also and how facebook has led to so many divorces etc with people looking up old flames etc. You could argue that these people would have done other things but unfortunately technology like facebook makes sinning so much easier. I could never find a nitch in facebook and haven’t realy missed it at all. I find the idea of having hundreds of “friends” really diminishes what friendship is. But I am glad for those who can glorify God through Facebook. I just couldn’t figure out how.

    • Of course one could rebut my comments by noting that I couldn’t quite get past the number 14 with my friends list so I am just bitter…..:-)

      • I definitely agree there are a LOT of downsides to fb. And I also agree that it makes sinning easier. It also makes sins not seem so bad–like, complaining and whining has become totally acceptable, or gossiping and things like that. Makes me nervous for the world my kids are growing up in–hoping by God’s grace I’m raising them to be strong in their faith and that they will be some of those who DO glorify God through social media.

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