Have you ever made a craft only because you want to take a picture of it and put it on Facebook- you know to see what other people think and to show off your talents? Have you ever posted a bad picture of yourself on Facebook? Have you ever felt really good about what you accomplished in a day and then looked at Facebook and felt like crap? Have you ever shared something on Facebook in hopes that that one girl or your Mother in Law might think you are a really good Mom…just for a second?
There are days when my only significant adult interaction comes from Facebook, lonely days where I almost need it. Like some sort of emotional manna. It’s an affirmation tool, a coping mechanism, a distraction from the mundane, the painful, the zone out from the annoying thing that I’d rather not be doing. A great way to see if I measure up, am I aging too fast, I am as skinny as I should be, are my kids doing enough fun things, is my house decorated well, am I cooking the right foods?
A wise friend recently commented that the hardest part about early motherhood is that the stakes are just so high. We all know that, THAT is what drives most of us so hard… we just want to make sure what we are doing it right. The pressure is enormous. In the frenzy to make sure we are just doing it right, certainly a right intention, we push hard away from each other. The news source for our comparison game is far too often a false world where only the near perfect meets the standard for presentation. In the end we are left feeling all too often less than, empty.
I often feel that Facebook hangover. Just moments before you see someone in person….. you have just posted some lovely comment or photo of your child or life happening…and then the image (the real one) that you have to put in front of that person is totally different and for a moment you feel it … the Facebook hangover. The FB you does not jive with the real you… you melt into a pool teaming with currents of inner conflict..you want to be real, but do you really? If you admit who you really are will that be enough? acceptable?
So back to the reason many of us are on Facebook in the fist place. When it comes right down to it we are lonely. We want to connect with others like us…. and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. But, what filling my life with Facebook DOES is damage my relationship with God. Yes, God. I’m relying on the “comments” or “likes” of others when I could be building my relationship with God. Getting to know God better, through prayer, through reading the Bible, through meeting with other women IN PERSON who will challenge and encourage me. I wish I could sweep up a pile of Facebook, all the seconds I’ve spent checking my feed at a stop light, or in between breaking up my kids’ fights. Sweep all those seconds up and spend them getting to know God better. Wonder where I’d be then? I bet I would not feel lonely.
I don’t have the Facebook answer, and I’m not going to even pretend I’m getting off it, but I have written some personal rules that I thought I’d share:
Questions to Ask BEFORE Facebooking:
- Why are you posting what you are posting- what is the TRUE intention
- What are you NOT doing when you are on Facebook
- What does it feel like when you are not able to be on Facebook or you choose to go without it for a long period of time (I suggest everyone try this)
- Would interacting in person with some of your FB friends be more fulfilling? Would you be willing to be as open?
Alternatives to Facebook
- Phone dates with friends
- Devotional time (reading the Bible) and talking to God (prayer)
- Gathering in groups to discuss a specific topics
- Exercise with another person who you can share with and trust
- Taking a nap (seriously) I wonder how much better my life would be if I just took a nap for one hour a day vs. Facebook…I mean clearly I have the time….
More than anything perhaps for me a better relationship with God.
Proverbs 8:17-21 “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.
With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity.
My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver.
I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, bestowing a rich inheritance on those how love me and making their treasuries full.