Wednesday, June 4, 2014

My (Temporary) Facebook Breakup

I've recently done something I haven't done in about nine years. It was a decision I made in a moment, but I've come to realize that moment has been about a year and a half in the making. This moment happened on a Wednesday morning following a sleepless night that lead me to one conclusion: something(s) needed to change. I wasnt sure where this was coming from, I really didnt know what it all meant, but I knew I needed to make a change that started with that phone sitting innocently on that counter. So I picked it up, pressed on the app icon, went to my settings, and selected “deactivate.”

You see, if my phone were a bookshelf and the apps on it books, each of those “books” would show different variations of wear and tear. Some are untouched, nearly pristine with little usage. Others are so worn out from handling that duct tape would be in order. I wish I could tell you that my Facebook app fit into the former category. I wish I could say that my Bible app, on the other hand, is in need of much taping, stapling, and rebinding. I wish I were a person whose priorities were in the right order. 

I am not that person.

About twenty months ago, my life was forever altered. It was shifted in the form of a perfect little 7lbs 3oz baby girl. 

Photo by Keri Duckett

People try to tell you how much parenthood changes things. Nearly two years later, I’m still learning just what people meant when they told me that. But I am a person slow to change. And I was not really aware on that Wednesday morning that by deactivating my Facebook account, God was about to reveal a whole lot to me in that suddenly available, quiet time.

The very same morning I took that plunge, I came across this artwork:

This caused me to stop in the middle of eating my cereal. I mean literally. I'm pretty sure the spoon was nearly to my mouth when I paused, mouth wide opened gaping in surprise. Do you know what gets me about that image? THE DARN DOOR IS OPENED. He’s not trapped in a cell, unable to escape. He can step outside and see the landscape with his own eyes. Yet he makes the choice to look through the limitations of that Facebook periscope. Can I say I haven’t ever been the person in that photo? Can I say that I've never allowed social media to obscure, inform, mold, and/or alter my view? I sure wish I could. So I continued my day, thinking, “Ok God, I’m dropping that periscope and adopting yours. What do you want to show me?” 

I’d like to say in advance if you ever ask this question, be prepared. God does tell us in Hebrews that He will discipline us for our betterment. But that discipline is uncomfortable before it leads to peace.

Now, the first day sans-Facebook was the most comical. I would find myself unlocking my phone for any purpose-work or personal- and find my thumb automatically hovering over that blue icon. I’d chuckle, and redirect. But man, it sure showed me where my brain is most the time. It’s like a phantom limb; I kept expecting it to be there. I even once went so far as to select it. I immediately freaked out, fearful that it would re-activate my account, and made my poor husband look at his page to make sure I was still inactive. (God bless that man for loving me.)

Thursday was easier. It was actually quiet on my phone. There were no notifications demanding my attention, and I LOVED that. I began to realize that little number badge on that blue icon had nearly the same impact on me as a screaming baby. Upon seeing it, I’ve felt that I needed to shift my attention to it as soon as possible. (I wish that were hyperbole, but alas, it really isn’t.)

Friday evening, I went to a fellowship called Humble Beginnings with a group of gals to hear about how God has impacted their lives. I brought up to several ladies that I was taking a Facebook break. Rather than look at me strangely or question it, they immediately responded with understanding. “Yes, that is SO good for the soul!” was the response I heard most often. Many told their own story about how it has distracted them from their own lives. One told me the story about how she laid down to take a nap while the kids were sleeping, and next thing she knew, she'd spent thirty minutes on Facebook instead of napping. And of course, the kids woke up before she could sleep. (Yep, I can relate to that one!) And allow me to insert here that, in my opinion, NOTHING ought to get in a momma’s way of some much needed sleep!

Our speaker at Humble Beginnings, in telling about her story, mentioned one thing that has been bouncing around in my head ever since. She mentioned a relationship she once had, and how she, wrongly, found her identity through that relationship. Yikes. Ok, that hit home

And then, to top off all the other moments God used this week to hit me upside the head, I read this verse on Sunday.

I’ve read that verse a thousand times. And I’ve always focused on the analogy of the race. Do you know what He showed me this time? “fixing our eyes on Jesus.” 

One definition of “priorities” is “the right to precede others in order, rank, privilege, etc.; precedence." I am so very glad no one has been there the past few years to keep track of my list of priorities. I am so glad I serve a forgiving God. Because y’all, I have been finding my identity in the wrong places for too long. I have spent too much time fretting over things that do not help me serve Him, and I have not been prioritizing the right things in my life.

Do not get me wrong, I don’t think Facebook is a terrible thing. I have every intention to reactivate my account. I plan on keeping up with the many social groups I’m a part of, and I look forward to seeing all the cute family posts and occasional rants that amuse me on my Newsfeed. There are people who regularly post things, like funny kid stories or random thoughts for the day. My husband and I will stop what we are doing to read those and laugh together. We are created to live in community, and social media allows us the chance to do this in ways otherwise impossible. And if I choose to actually publish this blog entry, I will probably post it on my page, well aware of the irony but also aware that accountability is a valuable thing. 

But y’all, it’s a problem when I post something about my life and I’m more interested in how many “likes" and comments I get on that post than I am about continuing that life. It’s a problem when I see another's post and I allow it to hurt me, thinking, selfishly, that post is in some way about me. It's a problem when I open that app with the intention to receive instead of give. And guys, I’ll be honest, it’s taking all I have to type this out and not delete it all. But I don’t want to be that person. I don’t want my priorities to be so very, terribly, screwed up. I am very ready for people to look at what I do and say and see God’s fingerprints all over it. Sure, I’ve done that on occasion. But the fact of the matter is in order for people to see Him through me, that means I have to put Him first. 

And that little bundle I welcomed into this world nearly two years ago, she’s watching me. She sees mommy holding her phone and scrolling rather than interacting with her. As she gets older, she will not only see what I do, but she will begin to discern why I do them. And if I do not exemplify His love, grace, and guidance in my life as she is watching me oh-so-closely, I have failed perhaps the biggest task for which I’ve been placed on this earth. 

So here’s to a time of re-prioritizing. Here’s to a time in my life when I do not fear taking a good look at what I am doing and make sure that it gets the proper amount of my time. Here’s to a time when I am fixing my eyes ahead of me, knowing there is no other place my eyes should be.