From this Wednesday, right up till Easter Sunday, I won’t be using Facebook. No status updates, no messages, no blog promotion. I’ll be deleting the app from my phone and using email, text or face-to-face contact when I want to contact people. Why?
I’m not big on giving things up for Lent, and have only done it twice. Once, I gave up chocolate, but that was mainly a personal goal, just to see if I could do it. (I could – then – but never again.) Another year, I gave up something which had more of a spiritual impact, although you’re going to laugh when you read what it was. I gave up…watching Neighbours. Oh yes. I’m blushing as I write. I used to be a big fan, so sacrificing the 5.35-6.00pm timeslot each weeknight was actually a BIG deal. But I used the time to read Isaiah and pray, and am immensely grateful for those times of closeness with God.
Please don’t think I’m passing judgement on those who use Facebook. I would be the world’s greatest hypocrite if I did, as I still use it. But I do have a love-hate relationship with it – and, as I’ve spoken to a few friends about it, it seems I’m not the only one.
What I LOVE…being able to keep in touch with friends and family all over the world. Sharing photos of the kids with relatives who don’t see them too often. Seeing what my former students are up to – sharing in their joys as they graduate, get jobs, get married. (Yes, I’m old enough to have taught people who are now getting married. Scary, huh?) Easily and effectively communicating with a large number of people, inviting them to an event or cause. Finding out major news stories. (OK, I know I should stop being lazy and read a news website instead, but FB is just so much easier…) Getting instant, specific advice on pretty much any issue. Whether you need a reliable plumber, a good toddler scooter brand, or techie help…you know there’ll be at least one person who’ll know something of use.
What I HATE…how much time I waste idly scrolling through my newsfeed. Feeling inadequate, poor, ugly, dull, or stupid because of something enviable I read in someone else’s life. Seeing an increasing number of irrelevant comments posted on friends’ status updates, presumably because people are reading everything so quickly that they’ve misread or misunderstood what’s been typed. The lack of facial expression and tone of voice. Being forced to have a different definition of the word ‘friend’.
Because of this love-hate thing, I would find it hard to leave Facebook altogether just right now. So Lent will be a kind of testing period – seeing how my life is different without the Book of Faces, and taking some time out to rethink my use of it. But overall, I hope it will give me more time to draw closer to God, leading up to a meaningful Easter celebration.
I will continue to blog through Lent, but won’t be publicising new posts through Facebook…obviously! If you want to keep up with desertmum, make sure you ‘follow’ (if you’re a WordPress user), or sign up for email updates. Or add the blog to your favourites and just keep checking back!