Hi, my name is Kelsey and I am addicted to facebook.
My love affair with facebook began in June 2008. I even documented it with a post on this blog. Little did I know what started as a little whim would evolve into being a stronghold in my life.
Oh, it was so incredibly fun in the beginning. Every time I logged on there would be a new connection. I loved seeing updated pictures of people I hadn't seen in years, hearing what life had been for them, laughing at old times. I squealed in delight when I reconnected with my debate camp roommate from the summer of '86. I walked down memory lane with my girls from year abroad, even reconnecting with every member of my host family during that year. I found family members I hadn't seen in years, all the while sinking deeper and more passionately enamored by the trappings of facebook.
A high school reunion this past fall egged on the relationship. It fed the "need" to check facebook on levels that way surpassed more than healthy. The committee planned the reunion largely on facebook ensuring that I would be held captive for the planning period of 6 months prior to the event.
Little jabs by my real-world significant other (Jay), made me stop and think about my indiscretion, but it was easy to explain away the time spent as productive, useful, my only means of connection with "some of these friends." Meanwhile, I was checking my home page all too frequently - multiple times a day. I had way too much information in my brain, drivel that was dribbling to be exact, about mere acquaintances. Some "friends" I have never actually had a verbal, out loud conversation with. I looked at pictures of people I didn't even know!
Things started to really change when that little lovely voice of conviction started creeping in. It wasn't me, my husband or my friends telling me how this has taking over, it was Him. Those nudges you just can't explain away. You have to deal with them head on.
To cap it off, I started a new bible study, "No Other Gods" by Kelly Minter. Should have known by the title that this would be a study that made me examine the motives of my heart. One compelling statement in the early part of this study is, "I'm totally afraid we are routinely putting ourselves in front of things that compromise the good the Lord wants to accomplish in us."
You can begin to see cracks in my relationship with it here in January of this year. I was thinking about breaking up with Facebook, but wasn't quite ready to let it go. You know, what if I lost contact with some of my friends again? Part of my social world would disappear. I couldn't think about the horrors of horrors...my B.F. life (before Facebook) and returning to it. I wasn't willing to live that out, yet.
Meanwhile, the bible study continued. I set out to discover what I was, without much thought, putting ahead of what I should be. What had become an idol in my life? It was pretty easy to discover one. Facebook. Sure, there are several others sitting on the list, but Facebook is the easiest one to fix.
The smack in the face, however, came when it was revealed to me what the "things" on my list had in common. Identity. It was a little wounding to discover what I feared most was to be forgotten, to be looked over, to no longer have affirmation to my being - like having 19 comment posts to my status update. Now, you don't have to tell me how completely pathetic that is. My identity in Christ does not pale in comparison to my identity on Facebook, but in time, I had allowed that to happen.
While I am at it, let me just lay it all on the line. When you fill your brain up with information about other people, information that you would normally not be privy too, it can bring out some pretty nasty internal results...coveting, self-pity, comparisons, judgements, even anger. In fact, Tom Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC says, "Idolatry is attached to everything, All of our bitterness, all our impurity, all our malice, all of our problems, everything that troubles us is a result of idolatry." I had allowed Facebook to become an idol - of my time, of my emotions, of my identity.
Now, I am not here to stir up a debate about the merits of Facebook. Nor do I want to hear all the reasons why someone has justified their relationship with it. I am writing only about myself and my complete lack of self-control. In no way am I claiming that Facebook is a pox against all society and rallying for its complete destruction.
You know, I actually have to giggle at a remark someone made to me yesterday. I stated I was writing this post and they said, "It sounds like you are writing your obituary." Actually, it is. A death to the sinful, self-focused self that I am, that quickly foresakes God for a few comments and accolades on a website. However, there is no sadness with this announcement, only joy. In that death is a birth of more of Him within me. Oh what joy and peace knowing my heart now has more room for God. My God - a guilt-less, convicting-less, loving addiction.
This prayer from A.W. Tozer completely sums up this battle and victory (from Facebook, light-hearted and trivial, to the more heart-wrenching idols of self-worth and control):
"Father, I want to know You, but my cowardly heart fears to give up its toys. I cannot part with them without inward bleeding and I do not try to hide from You the terror of the parting. I come trembling, but I do come. Please root from my heart all those things which I have cherished so long and which have become a very part of my living self, so that You may enter and dwell there without a rival. Then You shall make the place at Your feet glorious. Then shall my heart have no need of the sun to shine in it, for You alone will be the light of it, and there shall be no night there."