It's Not You, It's Me

joyfully-alice

Facebook took over my life. Bored? Scroll through Facebook. Waiting for the bus? Scroll through Facebook. Trying to avoid homework? Scroll through Facebook. Can't sleep? Scroll through Facebook. I've been feeling convicted recently about the ways in which I spend my time. As a funny mix of introvert and people-lover, I tend to feel pulled in a lot of directions at once. I want to invest in friendships and be an encouragement to people, and simultaneously I want to wrap up in a blanket at home and read for 8 hours without stopping.

In the past, my plan for wasting less time was to simply make myself busier so I would have fewer opportunities to sit around doing nothing. I figured that I probably didn't need as much time by myself as I felt like I did. Obviously, this was not a long-term solution, and only led to me feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. And in my pursuit of being less selfish with my time, I actually found that I was spending less one-on-one time with the people I care about.

The past year has been a strange one. Virtually nothing has turned out like I had anticipated. But I've found myself surrounded by incredible people through all of it, and it has been such a blessing.

God gave me Isaiah 55 as a passage for 2017, bringing it up in a variety of places in a very short time. This one particular verse (though the entire chapter is incredible, and I'd highly recommend reading it) has stood out to me for the past while:

"Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, And your labor for that which does not satisfy?" (v.2)

I've felt a bit like social media has taken on the 'that which does not satisfy' role in my life lately, particularly Facebook. It's been my mindless activity of choice, scrolling through dozens of cat videos and fake news articles that are only occasionally broken up by actual posts from friends or an invitation to an event that I'm interested in attending. And the awful thing is, Facebook gives the illusion of being connected to people, while allowing us to avoid actually interacting with them. I've never logged off of Facebook feeling satisfied with my internet browsing. It usually ends by having to peel myself away from the screen after realizing I'm looking at a friend's boyfriend's cousin's vacation photos and forcing myself to do something productive. It almost always feels like a waste of time.

I also realized how much more time I would have if I cut Facebook out of my life. God has given me some big creative dreams for this year, and I want to chase them down as best I can. I want to make the most of the time I've been given as I transition out of university and into a new season of life. As I opened the Facebook app on my phone for the eightieth time the other day, I wondered how much more motivated I'd be to actually use my downtime to write for this blog, make art, or read something worthwhile. As it turns out, the answer is SO MUCH.

The first step in this process for me was deleting the app from my phone. I replaced its spot on my home screen with another app that I don't use very often. But in the first twenty-four hours of it being there, I mindlessly opened it about a dozen times before realizing that it was no longer my Facebook feed. At first, I felt like I would be missing out on so much by not refreshing the news feed every few minutes, but after a couple of days, I stopped worrying about it.

So I'm deactivating my Facebook account, at least for the foreseeable future. It's the most freeing feeling. I've realized that being intentional with how I use my time has nothing to do with packing a schedule full of commitments, has everything to do with those tiny five-minute decisions. I'm just being pulled in one less direction now, and I don't think I'll miss it at all.

Some FAQs so far:

1. But how will I be able to get in touch with you? Well, I'm not eliminating every social media platform at this point, just Facebook because it's how I waste most of my time. You can still follow along on this blog or Instagram, which I will continue to update periodically. Email works too. I also have a cell phone which can be used to text or (an arcane idea, I know) call me. If you want to get in touch with me, ask me/a mutual friend/my mom for my phone number. Let's have coffee or go for a walk.

2. Won't you miss getting updates about your friends' lives/event invitations? I want to spend more time physically present with the people I care about, and Facebook isn't helping in that endeavor. And here's the thing: the people who actually want to be a part of my life, will continue to be a part of my life. They will make sure that I get invited to things, that I keep up to date with their struggles and victories. If the only reason I become aware of someone's exciting life event is because we are friends on Facebook, we're probably not that close. If people aren't going to invite me to something just because I'm not on Facebook, do I actually want to go? Also, Facebook is a crazy gossip generator, and even the best of us fall prey to it at times. I think we've all been in the position where all of a sudden we find ourselves talking with a friend about an acquaintance's breakup/weird new hairstyle/family drama that we learned about by piecing together bits from Facebook. It's not something that I want to encourage in myself.

3. So you think Facebook is bad, then? That's not it at all! I don't want to come across as holier-than-thou, and I don't want you to think that I'm saying everyone everywhere needs to delete their Facebook accounts. I'm just saying that for me right now, this is the right decision. Facebook is an incredible resource, and it makes keeping in touch with long-distance friends and relatives so much easier. It's fundamentally changed the way people communicate, and I'll never say otherwise. And I'm not saying that I will never come back to Facebook, because I probably will at some point. But for now, for this season, I think it's healthier for me to take a step back from it.

Joyfully, Alice