Friday, April 6, 2012

Why I'm no longer friends with Facebook

Last week, I did something drastic. I deactivated my Facebook account. So this week, since I have some time, I thought I'd give an account of why I no longer have an account with what my friend Danielle calls the "Book of Face."

I spend a lot of time on a daily basis talking to teenage girls about who they are in Christ. Last year, I tried writing a book about identity in Christ. And yet, security in the Lord- in my position as His daughter, His servant, His friend- is still a struggle for me.

I'm beginning to see that struggle differently- that much is true. I no longer see the great failures of these past few years with despair- I see them as God's way of doing a necessary surgery on my heart, so that He could expose my craving for man's approval, and ultimately cut it out and replace it with a desire for His approval alone. And God used Facebook to accomplish that painful work. There have been words and images and messages shared over Facebook over the past few years that have caused conflict and pain in my life and have drastically affected my relationships with a handful of people.

Deactivating Facebook is not an effort to run away from those problems. But I have been facing my need for approval, and all of the ugly that has come with it face to face for quite some time now. One of the things that God has done, is help me love and forgive people who have not approved of me. So running away from them isn't really what's going on. But the greater work that God has done it to give me a desire to be who He has called me to be, and do the work that He has called me to do.

I heard a story on the radio the other day about a girl who chose not to look at herself in the mirror for a year. She did this because she struggled so much with seeing herself as a woman of worth and value in the Lord. She saw herself only in comparison with what the world says about beauty. Every time she looked in the mirror, she felt like a failure, like what God had created could not compare with what the world demanded. This is how I feel about Facebook. God has made a lot of progress in my heart over the past few years, but so far I've mostly just identified the struggle. Now it's time to respond to what He has revealed.

I've noticed that I can be having a pretty good day, can be dwelling in contentment with my work, my life- and then I'll go on Facebook- and I see images of everyone else's life in front of my eyes. And I compare. And comparison is the thief of joy. What's bizarre is that the things I see are not necessarily things I desire, but there's something about seeing post after post of everyone's mini-kingdom that brings feelings of frustration and discontent. I feel ugly and unimportant, like the girl did when she looked in the mirror, and the feeling stays until I sign off. Then, I look around, the sun in shining, I have a lesson to plan to write or someone to contact- and I remember that my life is blessed and purposeful after all.

I'm not saying that Facebook is bad in and of itself. It's no worse than that mirror was, but it was something that Satan used as a tool against that girl- to convince her that what God had made was not good enough. And he's making out like a bandit with me and Facebook. I've decided to stop, even though it means that I won't be able to see other people's life updates on a regular basis, and I won't be able to update about mine. But that's just the thing- I honestly feel like Facebook has not helped me really connect with anyone. I've disconnected from a few people because of Facebook interactions, but I don't know that I've actually gotten any closer... some people might have different stories, but this one is mine.

So, bye-bye Facebook- for a while at least. I'm focusing on what God has called me to do and who He has made me to be. I'm going to try to believe, and I mean really and truly believe- what I was writing about last year- that I have value because He loves me. That I am completely forgiven and free from past sins. That I have a purpose, and that no one's status update should make me question that.

Just as a final note- I know that there are some people who use Facebook as a tool to help glorify God and encourage others. I know that some people have used it to encourage me! These opinions are not at all applied to everyone else that I know, but are meant to convey my own weakness and my desire to see the Lord's strength change my life in this area.