About 7 months ago I deactivated my Facebook account. Since I did that I’ve had several people ask me why and be curious about my thoughts after the fact. Recently, my hubby and a couple of friends encouraged me to write a blogpost about why I decided to do that. Just to share. I preface this post with saying: I am not trying to tell anyone you need to deactivate your Facebook or Facebook is bad or I am a better person than you because I don’t have a Facebook. That is not my goal, my point, or my heart behind writing this post. This is just me, sharing my experience and how it has been helpful to me since that fact.
There is no mind-blowing reason why I chose to do this, but as I do think Facebook is a great tool for several different reasons, I did want to think through why I was choosing to do it and if, in fact, it would be helpful to me. So, here you go.
It was a time waster. I think most people would agree that we can all spend way too much time scrolling mindlessly through our Facebook newsfeed. However, we can just as easily do that on Twitter or Instagram or 5 million other apps or websites on our phone, tablet, or computer. I will say though, for me, Facebook was the greatest waste of time. For whatever reason, I just don’t sit and scroll through my Twitter or Instagram feed the way I did with Facebook. And I would pick up my phone pretty constantly to engage in that scrolling activity and become completely disengaged to other tasks I should have been completing or other people I should have been focusing on. I tried deleting the app off of my iPhone, but I would just go through the internet and check my Facebook there. I needed to pull the plug a little more forcefully than that if I was serious about making a change.
But, that’s not the main reason why I ended my relationship with Facebook.
I struggle with comparing myself to others. “What!? I know no one else who struggles with that,” you say in a sarcastic tone. I know that I am one of millions of people who have this same struggle. It is that nasty awful pride that is deep-rooted in each one of our sinful hearts. It shows up differently for each one of us and it may be more difficult for some than others, but inevitably, it lies within all of us. For me, Facebook was something that I allowed to become a strong instrument of struggle in my life.
I compared the way I look to every woman I came across on Facebook. I compared my home, my talents, my cooking abilities, my crafting abilities, my creativity, my accomplishments, my schooling, everything. I would notice that “so-and-so” liked a mutual friends post, but the same “so-and-so” didn’t like mine. Was that person mad at me for something? Did they care more about that other friend than about me? I would notice what friends wrote on each other’s walls and what they would say in comments on pictures and wonder why wasn’t someone saying that to me? Those questions and others like it filled my mind and, honestly, became all-consuming sometimes.
Now, this wasn’t Facebook’s fault. My sinful thoughts and responses are my own, my responsibility to both repent of and, by God’s grace and help, change. However, just as with all sorts of different struggles and sinful patterns of behavior and thought, there are things that trigger it and temptations that make it more difficult for us to see change. Like when you have a candy bowl sitting out on a table and your child continues to climb up and help his/herself to a handful. It isn’t the candy’s fault. It’s the child’s sinful disobedience to mom and dad’s instruction. But perhaps it would better serve and help the child if the temptation were removed at this time and there would be less exasperation and struggle had for both you and your child in that particular situation.
That was Facebook for me. It aided the struggles of comparison, wrong-thinking, self-pity, and pride. My interaction on Facebook was a hinderance and became a constant battle ground for me. So, I decided to pull the plug. And pull the plug completely. Deactivate my account, not just delete the app. I knew I needed to fully take that step for it to be helpful for me. And, boy has it ever been.
Honestly, I don’t miss it. I do miss seeing all the pictures people post and the ease of contacting people on there, but the help that it has been to me to not face that struggle every day has been worth it. Not putting that constant distraction and temptation in front of me has truly been a very practical tool to help me fight these sinful battles. I’m grateful for that. I’m grateful for the tool that Facebook was to really knock me over the head with how far I was allowing such sinful comparison, fear of man, and anxiety to go, and I am grateful for how the deactivation of my Facebook account has served to help me experience some freedom from these struggles I face.
“If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.” Matthew 5:29-30
Radical amputation, right? Deactivating my Facebook account may not seem “radical”, but for my heart and mind it was. To throw that temptation away from me and put up a greater boundary of protection against lies I was feeding myself was something I needed to do. It was another step for me to take to think on what is true. It was a tool. It wasn’t the answer. The answer is only and ever the truth of Scripture and the hope of Christ. HE alone changes my heart, deactivating my Facebook doesn’t. It is HIS work in me, not my work on my own. He uses so many different people and things to teach us and in my life, Facebook was one of those. Through the struggles I faced whenever I opened that app or webpage, He revealed to me the heart issue behind the struggle, “the sin behind the sin” as my pastor would say. I’m thankful He used it and I’m thankful for all He’s taught me in it. The Lord’s work in my heart and mind is evident and I give all glory to Him for the changes I have seen.
There’s much more I could say about what I’ve learned, but that’s the heart of it. For all of us, I think there are those things in our lives that push us further from truth and for each one the answer in how we respond may look different in a practical way, but the heart remains the same: that we may think, look, speak, and act more like Jesus, living obediently to Him and glorifying Him in every single area of life.