Taking a Break

It’s just a temporary separation… nothing permanent. We’ll get back together eventually. Maybe.

I’m taking a break from Facebook.

I used to get really annoyed when people I knew would quit the infamous social media network all-together, citing irreconcilable differences with this new-age form of interaction or, worse, “addiction” to its irresistible charms. But this is not iconoclasm. I really don’t use Facebook all that often. The occasional “stalk” is a typical part of my week, but I wouldn’t be that upset if the network suddenly went down with no hope of recovery. No, this is more of an experiment. Or a challenge. And no, it’s not what I’m giving up for Lent (even if I did celebrate the 40-day “fast”, Facebook wouldn’t be my choice). The fact is, I let what other people say and do affect me too much.

I guess that sounds pretty vain.

Is it egocentric to recognize that you are too aware of what other people are doing with their lives, to the point of jealousy and covetousness? It’s not that I’m anti-Facebook — I appreciate all the positives that Zuckerberg’s social network offers. Although the government probably is watching our every move via Facebook’s feebly-protected digital archive, I am not a conspiracy theorist and am not attempting to scrub my existence from the virtual realm (hello, blog?). I think that covers most of the reasons people quit Facebook, right? I’m not an addict, I’m not apathetic and I’m not insane. Check, check, check. So why?

Like I said before, I’m too concerned with other people’s lives. And not in a “servant heart” sort of way. If I were using this network to reach out and connect with people, to pray for them and identify ways to serve them on a daily basis, that would be great. Hopefully, when I get back into it, that’s how I will use this network. But that’s not how I’m using it now. I use it to find out who’s in a relationship  and who’s getting married next or who had the best dress; who’s pregnant already (or finally) and did they announce with a pee-stick or uterus picture (and whether they announced too early or not); who got a job, quit a job, bought a house, a puppy/kitten, a car, a …. anything. I suppose that’s what it’s for: people who want to know this stuff. And I do want to know it. But not if it means being envious and coveting what God does not intend to be mine at this point in my life.

Because that’s definitely not the point. Of Facebook or of the Christian life. “Thou shalt not covet” is not a suggestion — it’s an underscore of everything previously stated and a foreshadowing of everything yet to come. It’s the last of the Ten Commandments, which gives it some significance; it’s the last word. It sums up the previous five commandments that address how we are to relate to others in this world. To deny this commandment would be to deny God’s faithful provision for everything He has promised, in this life and the next. And when it comes to keeping this one, Facebook is a thorn in my side. It’s not exactly scooping out my right eye or chopping off my right hand (thank goodness), which makes this temporary separation that much more necessary. I need to stop focusing on what others have, and start thanking God for what He’s already given me. And start trusting that His promises to me will be faithfully fulfilled, in His own perfect time.

But don’t worry, I’m not quitting altogether. If you look up my name, you will still probably see me. But don’t expect to see any timely comments, scathing responses or witty remarks; or, for that matter, boring status posts or inciting articles. I’m not avoiding you or trying to give anyone the Facebook equivalent of a cold shoulder. And I’m certainly not trying to withhold personal details or life events. I’m just going to avoid stalking for a little while; resist caring what other people are doing with their lives; stop seeking attention and worth through self-aggrandizing (or self-deprecating) interaction.

Personal interaction, however, may be a positive side effect. 

E-mails or even (gasp) phone calls may become more necessary than wall posts. If you want to know what’s going on with my life, you’ll know where to find me. And vice versa. Right here in the ol’ blog-osphere. So, signing off for now but hopeful for the beginning of a more positive interaction with social media in the days to come.

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