Confessions of a FacebookAholic – Part Three

Facebook-like-by-Sean-MacEnteeWhen I deleted Facebook from my phone before my California detox trip (read last week’s blog), I had no idea that I’d be unable to get back on it – maybe ever. There was a complicated glitch in the system. Gulp! None of my techy friends or Apple geniuses could help. It’s moments like this that make you realize the depth of your attachment. I sensed a divine conspiracy!

I’d gone a couple of weeks without Facebook and lived to tell about it. But, we all know that when you give something up, it creates a vacuum that demands filling. Here is my secret weapon – the audio Bible app. If you’re rolling your eyes at what a Holy Roller I am, hear me out.

I was going to Facebook to satisfy a craving for connection, relationship, information, adventure, and entertainment. But I often came away feeling discontent, inadequate and lonely. I don’t want to sound like an infomercial, but the Bible has all that I was looking for without the yucky aftertaste.

  • Instead of feeling jealous about the roses someone’s husband sent her (yes, I can be that petty and pouty), I heard God say, You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.
  • Instead of keeping up with everyone’s Spring Break – I marched with the Israelites through the parted Red Sea.
  • Instead of reading the ubiquitous 10 Steps to Doing Everything Better, I pondered a daily dose of Proverbs’ wisdom.
  • Instead of seeing what my friends were eating at chic restaurants, I fed my soul with the Living Word.

And it was amazing how much “spare time” I suddenly had without Facebook. I started doing something radical – picking up the phone and calling people. At first, it felt almost intrusive. Think how rarely someone calls you just to catch up. FB has made it a lost art! I had a party. It was fun to see people in person instead of a photo on a screen. I remodeled our bathroom. Instead of looking at Pinterest, I made decisions and spent money and turned ideas into a lovely reality. And most importantly, I was fully present – eye contact and all – with my family.

But then, four months later, my smart fifteen-year-old found a way to get me back on my Facebook page. Hooray! Yikes! I’d come so far and was in such a healthier mental and spiritual state. Oh, but not to worry, I’ve changed – said every addict ever.

At first, “I’ll just check in once a week.” Then, “a few minutes a day won’t hurt.” Or, “Bible first. Then Facebook” – which turns time in God’s word into pharisaical rule keeping. I can be just like the Israelites who saw God’s mighty hand and then turned right around and built a golden calf.

As I struggle to find balance, I know that Facebook is not the problem. My prone-to-wander-hates-pain-and-discipline heart is. Just like a glass of wine is fine, but a bottle a night isn’t, so it is with all the screen attractions of our time. Enjoyed with moderation from a place of personal contentment, it is delightful. But beware, my friends, of the slippery slope I slid down.

I hope King David and God won’t mind that I rewrote Psalm 34 in honor of Facebookers everywhere. See if it speaks to you. And as I close, you don’t need to “Comment” or “Like” this, because the truth is – God’s love is all I ever really need.

A Facebooker’s Psalm 34

 1 I was preoccupied with my phone and computer at all times; my Facebook (Candy Crush/Pinterest/Hulu/Instagram) was continually on my mind.

My soul made its boast in how many people liked my post; let the humble hear and be glad and want me for their FB friend.

Oh, magnify ME with me, and let us exalt my name together!

I sought the internet, and it answered me and delivered me from all my contentment.

Those entangled in its web are snared, and their faces shall never radiate peace.

This poor woman cried out, but not to the Lord, who would’ve heard her and saved her out of all her troubles.

The angel of Amazon encamps around those with a Paypal and delivers debt to their door with two-day delivery.

Oh, turn off your phone and your computer and taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed (Happy; enjoying spiritual happiness and the favor of God; enjoying heavenly felicity*) is the woman who takes refuge in Him!

Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!

10  The young Facebook/Instagram/Pinterestaholics suffer want and soul hunger even after all their binging; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

11  Come, O sisters, listen to me; My cautionary tale will teach you the fear of the Lord.

12  What woman is there who desires life – in abundance – and loves many fulfilling days, that she may see good and know God?

13  Keep your mind from being preoccupied with others’ lives and parties you weren’t invited to and your eyes from trips you didn’t go on.

14  Turn away from the screen and DO good; seek peace with real people and pursue real relationships.

15  The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry.

16  The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.

17  When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.

18  The Lord is nearer to the brokenhearted than all your internet friends and He alone knows how to save the crushed in spirit.

19  Let’s be real … MANY are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers her out of them all.

20  He keeps all her bones; not one of them is broken.

21  Affliction will slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.

22  The Lord redeems (“to sever,” then “to set free, release, emancipate; especially to set free by paying a price; to redeem, or ransom”)** the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned. YAY!

* Noah Webster’s 1828 definition of “blessed”

** Matthew Henry commentary

Mary SuzanneSignatureRGB

5 thoughts on “Confessions of a FacebookAholic – Part Three

  1. Mary Suzanne, my brilliant and humble two-tier-name friend,

    I have loved following this series!! You truly show such depth, transparency, and understanding of God’s Word and principles. I’m so grateful that you have tackled head-on a struggle that likely many Christian women (and yes, even men) encounter and which even the brave hesitate to tread. Ah, technology. Ah, distraction. Ah, addiction. Ah, turning our faces from Facebook towards THE face of Christ. I never in a million years thought I would “do” FB! Never. Actually, it wasn’t so much that I thought it would be distracting (even vapid), but rather, that I am a technological tyrannosaurus, and I thought I would never get the hang of it. So I decided not to do it. You can see here that I was not manifesting a particularly noble character. But I finally decided to put my face on Facebook, because I wanted to enter a writing contest, and joining FB was the price of admission. So I took the plunge. I won the contest, and amazingly FB had won a new fan. I was surprised by my innate techie savvy, and soon I had acquired over one thousand friends (not that I know many mind you), but I’m thinking about writing professionally again, so I thought it best to have them. Besides wanting to enter the contest, I was following the advice of younger authors who said I was missing out on communicating with them. That’s really why I did it in the end—to establish an author presence online. BUT, and it’s a big one, I can see how one can easily fritter away one’s life on likes and emoticons and all manner of vapid reading, including inconsequential facts (or fiction!) that one would never read (or want to read!) otherwise. And perish the thought: I have even gotten into some heated conversations (with perfect strangers!) in the name of having a good discussion or sharing truth! So, like you, I had considered closing my FB account. But as I’ve pondered it, I realize there have been some upsides, like reconnecting w/ my aging aunt in the East or Mike’s niece in the South….people I love, but whom I never see, and who don’t seem to communicate any other way. And I’ve met new friends and b/c of FB am now blogging regularly with and for a group of what I call legacy women (they say midlife—ahem!), and this is blessing my heart immensely (and hopefully, I am blessing them as well). And I have had the pleasure of peeking behind the scenes of the lives of those I love, like you and your girls, and have seen glimpses of glory to which I might not otherwise be privy. So, FB is not all bad. I was surprised to see you on FB again, but your final confessional post explains it. I think you have struck a most healthy balance. God gives us many good gifts to enjoy, but they must never become our obsession, and He must always remain our passion. Your wine analogy is a good one. The Bible doesn’t condemn drinking it. It would be legalistic to say so. He does condemn drunkenness. And also, what is sin to us, is sin. (Can’t think of the verse offhand that expresses that). But for me, personally, as an alcoholic, God has shown me not to drink. So if I do engage in what is sin for me, then it is sin. So here is one area verboten to me even though it is not for other Christians. If others want their wine, I’ll not whine (or condemn). Were God prohibiting FB specifically in someone’s life, b/c it opened her up to some form of sin (whether idolatry she couldn’t handle, secret liaisons that would harm her marriage—whatever), then it would be best for her to crash the FB account. But it’s obvious, that God has shown you that FB is okay, within limits. And there is true, God-honoring freedom in that. I would just add one thought I have been pondering in your comparison of FB with porn. I surely understand your insights; for me, though, I couldn’t milk the metaphor for all it was worth, because porn is always evil and denigrates women, every time. FB, in and of itself, doesn’t do that. Porn is always evil, and FB only has the potential to be. Just something to consider. I hope I am making sense. I have absolutely loved reading your FB triumvirate, Mary Suzanne (as I love reading ANYTHING you pen!), and I find it a powerful testimony to God’s strong work in your sold-out-for-Jesus heart. Thank you so much for sharing!
    Love you!!!

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