I know. During my life transition, I’ve been writing like I drive a stick shift car: stopping and starting and jerking along, sometimes you might feel like you should cover your eyes! Mondays are days I often write about marriage, but I feel impressed, instead, to write about something I hear a lot of people pondering. Is it time for me to leave Facebook?
Somewhere between liking and posting and scrolling, something happened we never expected. Facebook began to feel essential. Through our profiles, we created a history of our days, a visual library of our lives, and we recorded something we failed at collecting in scrapbooks … our memories. It felt playful at first, un-influential and ordinary. Many of us joined as an experiment, like changing shampoo or buying different paper towels. But social media is more than playful. It swells with influence, swaying our hearts, minds, and emotions with a single update, comment, or notification. In recent weeks, current events have opened the door for contempt and bitterness, judgment and anxiety to seep out from hidden places with single clicks on “post” from mobile devices and keyboards. More than a few Facebook friends have dared to ask the question: “Is it time for me to leave Facebook?”
How do you know if it’s time to leave Facebook?
The very thought and the ensuing struggle reveal that fact Facebook has become a force in our lives. The idea of leaving Facebook makes us worry about losing our “platform,” our inside scoop, the history of our days, the visual library of our lives, and our “friends.” Could we be relevant in today’s world without it? Would anyone stay connected with us? We would miss so much … wouldn’t we?
What is Facebook doing in your life? Is it a GOOD thing, bringing fun, encouragement, prayer, blessing, and enjoyment? I’m so glad for you. Is it an EVIL thing, bringing anger, arrogance, damage, injury, or toxicity? Every generation has a tool for communication. Social media is simply a new tool for this age. Like the printing press, Facebook can be used positively or negatively by the God we serve and by our enemy. We are not the first to say, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good …” (Genesis 50:20a).
Are you using Facebook or is Facebook using you?
Some have shared openly that Facebook has become a source of confusion, temptation, fear, or discouragement, yet they feel afraid to leave it and afraid to be left. We need an honest self appraisal to remember that we are not meant to live in confusion, but in truth. We are not meant to cave to temptation, but to walk worthy of our calling. We aren’t called to live in discouragement, but to focus on godly thinking. We aren’t meant to be consumed with fear, but to cast out fear. The world provides fodder for us to choose how we will think, which determines how we respond, which leads to how we live. God’s commands of old apply to new technology, to walk in God’s ways and serve Him only (Joshua 22:5). Are you using Facebook, or is Facebook using you?
Only God can help you know if it’s time to leave Facebook. He can show us if we’re allowing social media to compete with God’s control over our minds, hearts, actions, and words. Before we ask two key questions, let’s remember something we knew a long time ago, when our timelines were very short.
Facebook is non-essential.
- Without Facebook, I can stay CONNECTED with essential people.
- Without Facebook, I can stay INFORMED with essential news.
- Without Facebook, I can stay ENCOURAGED with essential truth.
- Without Facebook, I can stay INVOLVED with essential opportunities.
- Ask God: Will you show me an honest picture of how I use Facebook and how it uses me? Don’t hold back, Lord. I need to see this clearly in my life.
- Ask a friend: What kind of attitudes, words, and heart do you hear from me and see from me on Facebook? Don’t hold back, friend. I need to see this clearly in my life.
When God calls us to walk in His ways and do everything to His glory, His call covers communication modes past, present, and future. I’m on Facebook. I’m not gonna ask you to play Candy Crush, Bejeweled, Farmville, or Words with Friends. 🙂 At the risk of being unfriended, blocked, or (agh!) poked, I’m going to ask you to ask this essential question with me: Are you using Facebook or is Facebook using you?
How have you felt in Facebook over the past couple of eventful months?
Have you ever left Facebook? What did you experience?
Have you stayed off of Facebook? How does that feel?