A detailed inventory of my time expenditures toward the end of last year led me to take what some refer to as a "Facebreak." My calculations indicated that I was spending hours on any given day involved in some sort of social media encounter. All of that seemed harmless enough, but facing the reality of the time I was devoting to these things made it increasingly difficult to whine about how hard it is to get our clothes washed and put away, get to bed at a decent hour, spend quality time with my husband and kids, and you get the picture.
So I stopped Facebook-ing and stuff. For a while. That while, as far as I was concerned, was supposed to be all about giving me more time to do important things. Mine was a good plan, but as always, His was better. The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. Proverbs 16:1
So like I said, I stopped. Posting and commenting, that is. I was still
Another thing that bothered me was that in my own reading of books and the Bible, when I would come accross something of particular edification I immediately thought of it in terms of a Facebook post. It was as if I needed to get rid of it as soon as possible. "Someone" needs to hear this message. Oh boy, do they! Better get it on Facebook. But that was no longer an option. The only options available were to either dismiss it altogether or apply it to my own life. Egads! Slowly, I began to receive these things and ponder them unto myself. I began to experience conviction rather than simply recognizing the potential for conviction. Quite a difference there.
Another thing I recognized was how dependent I had become upon those little Facebook "likes". Affirmation is a huge thing for me. I don't think I ever realized how huge until the ability to receive it was no longer just a Facebook post away. Or so it seemed.
In the absence of this luxury, verses like Galatians 1:10 began to take on much deeper implications for me. For am I now seeking the approval of man or God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man I would not be a servant of Christ. Yeah. It's one thing to give up Facebook for a while, quite another to have to look deep into your heart and answer (not just ask) the question, "Who am I really serving?" I couldn't quickly type that verse and click it on down the stream for the consideration of others. It was for me.
Interestingly, it was during the onset of this break that I spent several weeks praying and meditating on Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! It wasn't like I was expecting that request to to be answered through the Facebook thing, I just picked out some verses to start the New Year off with. But the Holy Spirit was at work.
I don't think it's an exaggeration to say this was one of the most clearly and hugely answered prayers of my life. To see my pathetic heart in ways that I had never seen before, to recognize my deep, deep need to receive approval...It cut deep. And since I wasn't on FB, there was no where for me to go with all of that but to the Gospel. Hallelujah! My pathetic heart? Covered in His blood. Approval? Yes, through faith in Jesus Christ. Not just "liked" but extravagantly, unashamedly loved by the God of all creation. Wow.
Misuse, Disuse, and Correct Use
One day a couple weeks ago there was a Facebook post that I wanted so badly to comment on. But that would have been breaking my rule. The thing is, I wanted to encourage that person. It was the ah-ha moment. I realized that this was really about the motives of my heart. And the motives of our hearts change when the Gospel is applied.
I've heard it said that the proper remedy for misuse is not disuse, but rather correct use. I really agree with that for the most part. (Though there's always Matt 5:30 to consider). It seems to me that in this case it took a season of disuse for me to identify my misuse so that perhaps now I can proceed with correct use. At least most of the time.
In the future, there are some questions that I will ask myself before posting on Facebook, Twitter, writing a blog post and really I should ask before I ever open my mouth period...
What is my motive in sharing this?
Have I applied this to myself; have I removed my own "log" in the eye?
Is it passive aggressive?
Am I now seeking the approval of man or God?
Should I be doing laundry?
I think in some ways it would definitely be easier to just forget Facebook altogether. I mean, I wouldn't be assaulted with these kinds of questions all day long. Geesh. :) But there are also silly photos and funny things my kids say. There are opportunities to encourage and share lol's. There is a Gospel to be proclaimed and it would be absurd to think a medium like Facebook isn't a really good place to proclaim it.
Have you ever taken a Facebreak? How did it go? What did you learn?