THE CHANGING FACE OF SOCIAL MEDIA – {AND THE CHANGE I HAD TO FACE}

I was done. Over it.  Ready to call it quits.  I immediately picked up my phone to have the conversation with my husband, hoping he’d feel the same way as I did about this 10+ year relationship we shared as “MichaelandPaige Ewing”.

“Hey.  I want to delete our Facebook account.  I’m sick of it.  Are you ok with that?”

Oh….you thought I was talking about our marriage, didn’t you? Sorry to confuse you! No, I’m talking about the joint Facebook page we have shared since 2005.  Yea, go ahead and judge…we shared a Facebook account.  I thought it was a phase back in our college days and figured it wouldn’t last, kind of like AOL Instant Messenger.  Instead of making my own account, I just added pictures to Michael’s after we got married and kind of took it over.  Sorry, babe…welcome to marriage.

Facebook used to be cool.  It used be a place we could stalk our college aged friends and see pictures of their ridiculous and humiliating weekend that for some dumb reason, was shared for all to see online.  That’s ok! I was bored and needed to feel better about myself, anyway:) Then, the unthinkable happened when Mr. Zuckerberg decided it was a grand idea to open up the site to users even if they were not a college student.  Hey Mom! Glad to see you on Facebook! Oh there’s my 12-year-old cousin:/  Wait…is that my GRANDMOTHER? Yep, anybody and everybody could have a Facebook account.  Your boss, your co-workers, your students, even your great aunts and uncles who like to comment on every.single.post.you.ever.shared.  Awkward.

It became a business, a place for marketing and advertising, a newer method for communication, and another source for news.  Over the course of 10 years, I’ve watched Facebook morph into a site that once allowed you to simply share pictures to an all-in-one encompassing tool that is now my Gmail, Shutterfly, Fox News, Recipe Book, Online Ads, Yearbook, Yellow Pages, Youtube, and Entertainment News.  You can DO.IT.ALL with Facebook…and my mind starting believing that I needed Facebook to function or I would be missing out on something important.

My voice could be heard through the microphone of social media.  That empty box beside “Update your Status” was a stage just waiting for me stand upon and speak my mind.  Hmm…what should I post today? I think I’ll be funny and tell a joke about my daughter passing gas in public.  That’ll make everyone laugh! Instead, maybe I should go on a rant about terrible customer service I just experienced because I know everyone wants to hear me complain;) Actually, I think I’ll list in chronological order everything I did today so I feel important that I was so darn busy, because even though my life is completely normal, posting it on Facebook makes it seem special.  Really…people need.to.know.what.I.ate.for.dinner!!!

With every status, with every picture, and with every re-shared e-card….I am telling the world who I am.  I am shaping my identity and personality with every share.  Soon enough, I fell into the belief that I SHARE = I AM.

I SHARE = I AM.

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As if sharing it wasn’t enough, I needed to see who liked it and who commented on it.  I was constantly going to back to my phone to check my notifications.  Oh good…they approve of me and they are in my corner.  I must keep on sharing so my “friends” will stay entertained.  They expect this out of me and I can’t disappoint.  I’m the ‘funny’ mom who posts pictures of her children acting like fools.  I’m the inspirational wife who always has a positive outlook on life and folks need that encouragement.  I’m the fit chick who motivates women to get off their hineys and workout.  While all of these things are true representations of who I am, was it truly necessary to share it with the world?

What if NO ONE ever saw that moment when my children played on the edge of the shore with their beach toys? Does the value and intensity of that memory lessen because I was the only one to witness it?  What if NO ONE knew about that time my husband wrote me a love note and had it mailed to our house from his job? Does his efforts to strengthen our relationship fall by the waste side because I chose not to post it on Instagram to validate how amazing he is?

And WHAT IF … I started living my life for an audience of ONE?  Instead of feeding the desire to be seen by others, what if I fueled the fire to please just ONE.  THE ONE.  The only one who can truly see my heart.  The only one who knows every thought before I even think it.  Because no matter what I try to do in order to keep up the performance, God knows my intentions.  No amount of friends, followers, likes, or comments can satisfy my soul like Christ can.

So, I left.  I left Facebook for 8 months and Instagram for only God knows how long.  What I left behind was:

  • A distraction from my work
  • Ignoring and neglecting my family
  • Competition and the need to ‘one up’
  • Proving myself to others
  • A filler for boredom
  • Unintentional relationships
  • Cheap replacement for validation
  • False sense of identity and worth

I left it because it was time to slay the dragon of the SEEN and put on the full armor of the UNSEEN.

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-4

…and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

To be hidden WITH CHRIST in God.  I wholeheartedly believe that in the hiding places, in the quietness of the unseen, away from the noise of the seen…is where we find our true identity and God speaks the loudest to our hearts.  When our FACE is in his BOOK … we don’t need Facebook.  We know who we are.  We know the value of our life.

JESUS CHRIST = THE GREAT I AM

{**Of course, I am not condemning Facebook, nor anyone who uses it.  I share this as my personal story from my own personal experiences.  Facebook is not evil, nor is it bad.  It is a tool that can be used for good, but sometimes GOOD gets in the way of the BEST.  As I sensed God prompting me to start writing again for His glory, I knew I needed to have access to where the people are in order to share my writing.  People are on Facebook, so my hopes are to build connections through my new account with those who can relate to my own junk while pointing them to Christ;) }

I Removed Facebook, Instagram, and Safari From My Phone

My connection to the world.  My creative outlets.  My entertainment, interaction, and source of information all gone…

For now at least.

idols

I have a smartphone, like the majority of you do.  I have my favorite apps on there that I use daily. To no surprise, it’s Facebook, Instagram, and the included internet feature of Safari. These are awesome tools for sharing pictures, communicating with friends, doing business, and reading up on the latest news.  I love them, maybe a little too much.  Or maybe it’s my love of photographing my children…and sharing online…that I love too much.  It could be the feedback from friends, family, and followers that I love too much.  What if it’s the feeling of worth and value I get when I see how many “likes” a picture received that I love too much?  Should I continue? I think you get the picture.

These apps are cool things.  They are good things.  Their uses are profitable and CAN BE beneficial.  But where does it go wrong? When does the GOOD get in the way of the BEST?

The good gets in the way of the best when Facebook is the first thing you reach for in the morning before you wipe the sleep out of your eyes.  The good gets in the way of the best when checking your Instagram news feed is the last thing you need to see before dozing off.  The good gets in the way of the best when surfing the internet for mindless poop is an automatic reaction to the silence in a room full of people, and you don’t know how to fill that awkward void.

When life is calm, there is a breathing moment, and time has slowed down for just a millisecond….and your body itches to pull up Facebook because you have nothing to do…that’s when the good gets in the way of the best.

Don’t even get me started on how these apps on my phone have taken away attention from my children, husband, and quiet time.  I don’t need to tell you what a distraction they are from work, chores, and the BEST things in life.  We know that already.  This isn’t a post on what a horrible person you are for looking at your phone while your daughter is twirling in her dress at the park.  That’s already been written.

What I’m talking about is how these apps on my phone have become my idol.  Ouch.  Yep…a direct offense of the First Commandment that the Lord gives:

Exodus 20: 3-6 (The Message)

“3 No other gods, only me.

4-6 No carved gods of any size, shape, or form of anything whatever, whether of things that fly or walk or swim. Don’t bow down to them and don’t serve them because I am God, your God, and I’m a most jealous God, punishing the children for any sins their parents pass on to them to the third, and yes, even to the fourth generation of those who hate me. But I’m unswervingly loyal to the thousands who love me and keep my commandments.”

My phone became my idol.  I served it first, I served it most, and I served it above the one true God who created me! He loves me so fiercely that he is jealous of my attention, my loyalty, my time, and my love.  Why? Because his love for me is so great and grand, that he gave his son to die a brutal death on a cross just so I can be in God’s presence for all of eternity.  He has a right to be jealous of my worship.  The apps on my iPhone, not so much.

Removing the apps from my phone is temporary.  I’m on a cleanse.  I’m reprogramming my automatic tendencies to stare at my phone most of the day, and instead reaching for scripture, praying, studying my children, hugging them with both hands empty of any distraction, and replacing the good with God’s best.

The Lord will tell me when the time is right to install the apps back to my phone. He will tell me when, and HOW, to use these forms of social media for not only my benefit, but for the benefit of others and his kingdom.  Please don’t think I’m saying Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or whatever form of social media you love are bad or evil.  They’re not.  They can be used for good.  But when the good gets in the way of the best, that’s when we are really on the losing end of the deal.

I will still log onto Facebook from my computer, but I’m not on there NEARLY as long or as often compared to when I browse it on my phone.

What has become your idol?  Maybe you can directly relate to these apps becoming your primary focus over the better things God has for you.  What if it’s work?  Volunteering?  Crafting? Exercising? Money?

I don’t know.  But God does, and he can reveal that to you if you pray and ask him to.  God has so many blessings ready to give you, but he can’t if you are worshipping another god.  That other god (idol) that you worship cannot fulfill your needs the way God can.  Repent from your sin of allowing something else to become an idol over God, and ask for his power to help you change. Only through Christ can you transform your mind and live differently from what the world says is normal, what the world says is good.  I want God’s best.  How about you?

Romans 12: 1-2 (The Message)

“1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. DON’T BECOME SO WELL ADJUSTED TO YOUR CULTURE THAT YOU FIT INTO IT WITHOUT EVEN THINKING (emphasis added). Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”