I can’t hang out with you, I have no time.
I can’t go see my family, I don’t have any free time.
I can’t listen to your problems, I don’t have the time.
Go to a movie? Um, sorry, I have no time for you.
Ironically, I do have the time to read about your life and problems on Facebook.
I’ve never actually calculated the amount of time I spend daily on FB (mostly because it hurts my head to do math), but it probably would amount to something to significant.
Just an estimate of my FB time:
5 minutes when I wake up in the morning
5 minutes when I am waiting for students to come into my class in the morning.
5-10 minutes during lunch and plan time
10 minutes after school to distract myself after the chaos
5 minutes during my warm up at the gym
15 minutes while eating dinner
20 minutes while I avoid doing homework
20-30 while I am watching TV (supposed to be falling asleep)
= (ouch, my head hurts/getting out calculator) 1 hour and 40 minutes
…..seriously, I spend THAT much or more time on Facebook!!!
Okay, this is not a rant against social media or anything, because there are some obvious perks…keeping up with relatives, long lost friends, or friends that move away. However, this points out something significant in my life.
Going through struggles of anxiety and feeling weighted down by my many responsibilities, I realize that I need to simplify my life in someway. I am at a restless spot in my life and I need space to know myself and process things with God.
For me this was stepping away from Facebook for a while.
A couple of weeks ago, I talked about a longing in my heart. A longing for something more. I want that to be a longing for Jesus. Part of Lent is fasting from something to create a longing for something that is more satisfying. I am fasting from FB to create a longing and create a space in my life and my heart.
[I know people that fast from things because it is a cool or popular thing to do, and I promise I am not doing this because of that. I usually don’t fast because everyone else is doing it, and I like to go against the grain. I know, that’s messed up!]
In the process of creating space and processing things, I have figured out a few things about FB.
Besides sucking away my time, it also feeds other things in my heart. There are 4 significant things that are fed by Facebook.
1. The longing for affirmation from people.
Anytime someone likes my funny post or Instagram picture, I get this little bit of joy, this food for my hungry heart. It’s like that little thumbs up is a way of saying: “Larissa, you are the most humorous person!” or “They like you, they really like you!” It feeds that desire to be cool and well like by others that never happened as a kid. As great as that is, I find myself only posting when I know that other people will like it. (Kind of like how I thought being Emo in high school would make me cool.) I only post things that I think will gain affirmation from people, which presents a false identity, or representation of my life. So if people read my posts, they might think everything is great, which enables me to hide things easier in my life.
2. The need to be significant, important to other people.
When I have conversation with people and they bring up something they saw that I posted on FB, what that says to me is that they care about me enough to read what I wrote or they take time out of their day to read about my life. This can be extremely dangerous sometimes when I comes to my guy friends. It feeds that need to be significant or worth of other peoples time. It feeds that sinful pride that I have in my heart to be greater than I actually am.
3. The need to be included or in the know.
I hate being left out, I hated as a child, and I probably hate even more as an adult. I am just better at hiding it. However, FB, feeds that part of me that wants to be included. I can know about others’ parties, birthdays, life events, friendships, relationships, or lack there of. FB informs me on those former high school classmates and college crushes. It makes me feel powerful and in control. Not knowing, being left out makes me feel not in control. This points out my lack of trust in God to have everything in control, even the things that I don’t know about.
4. The need for relationships without the work.
Being extroverted means that I love spending time with people. (I am continually re-examining this because the older I get, the more I like my alone time.) I love having lots of friends. My only real goal when I went to college was to make friends. I base how well I am doing in life on the state of my realtionships. FB causes a misperception. We can know about a lot of people, and a lot of people may know a lot about us, but the relationship is only that. It doesn’t always mean that we are doing the work we need to to maintain those relationships. I can be a bad friend, a jerk, really selfish and not even realize. I think I am being a good friend when I know what is going on in their life or tell them Happy Birthday or invite them to a party, but that’s not what friendship is, is it?
What I am praying for during this time away from FB is that I would look to God to satisfy those longings and needs that I have been fulfilling with social media. Also, I am praying that I would use the time and space that FB took to do things that really satisfy. (Suggestions, welcome!)
If not Facebook, what places in your life do you waste time and energy thinking that it will satisfy needs of yours? If you observe Lent, what do you fast from?