When I first thought of the title of today’s post, I googled it. Lo and behold, it was already a title to another article.
So then I considered the title “Why I Canceled My Facebook Account.” But since I had reinstated the account in order to connect my friends and family to my blog and to hopefully pull more traffic to my site, I couldn’t really use that one honestly.
So “confessions” it is, because, well, that’s what this is – a list of confessions. First to answer the question, “Why did I cancel my facebook account?” The simple answer is that it was destroying my marriage, my health, and my peace of mind, and erecting a wall between me and my children, friends, and family. It was seriously compromising my job performance and my time in God’s Word. It wrecked my house, piled up my laundry, and grew ecoli (I’m sure!) on my kitchen counters. Sound extreme? It was. And it is. And be forewarned, by the time I am done, you are going to either feel guilty as sin and mad at me for making you feel that way, decide that Facebook isn’t a problem for you and that I should have more self-control, or be fueled to make some changes yourself because you realize you are in the same boat.
On the subject of my house: what have I done for the past however many years when things pile up and begin to look too big or overwhelming for me? I have escaped to Facebook.
What about when piles of laundry are starting, and I dread the very thought of spending the next however-many hours washing, drying, and folding? Escape to Facebook.
What did I do when it was time to read my Bible, I didn’t know where to start, and I didn’t know what to pray? Pick up my laptop, look up Bible verses, and end up on….. Facebook.
How did it wreck my health? At night, I would sit down, take out my computer, and immediately turn on what? Facebook. To check everyone’s status. To see if anyone commented on mine. To see what happened today. If nothing, then to catch up on my “Words with Friends” games. If I did that for a few minutes and then put it away, it would be one thing. But no, it would get later, and later, and later… and I would still be on there, doing really, absolutely nothing except clicking on this person and that, looking at pics, telling friends how beautiful their kids are, carrying on conversations with people I never see, etc. You know the drill. And it would continue to get later… and suddenly I was depriving myself of sleep, because the next morning I had to….
Get up for work! And I was going in to teach a classroom full of precious children everything they needed to know for the school year, and I was exhausted, and scatter-brained, and struggling like crazy to do the kind of work I so desperately WANTED to be doing but couldn’t find the energy or the presence of mind to do! Hmmm… really?? How strange!
Now on to my marriage. No, I didn’t pick back up with old flames, or become emotionally unfaithful, or any of that nonsense. I purposely avoided that very thing, and my husband had full access to my account and could have checked it at any time. But imagine this: imagine you are leaving at 6:30 in the morning, driving 45 minutes to work, working all day, coming home in the evening, and you walk in to your house in shambles and your wife with her computer on her lap, no supper ready, and kids running wild. Think that might cause a little tension? Imagine it’s time to go to bed, you are ready to hit the sack and have some conversation with your wife (ahem!), and she says, “Ok, be right in!” Three hours later, she is climbing in after you are dead asleep. And not just once in awhile – almost every single night. Think you might feel a little neglected? Imagine sitting in the living room with your wife, watching a TV show, wanting to snuggle on the couch, or at least discuss the news, but she is engrossed in what everyone on Facebook is doing, and besides, there is a computer on her lap, and that makes it a little hard to snuggle. Think you might feel just a tad undervalued? Or maybe even invisible?
So as you can well imagine, my marriage was suffering, and I began to feel very disconnected to my husband. But I STILL wasn’t making the connection.
So what did it? What finally clicked and revealed to me that I had a problem with Facebook? What finally awakened me to the fact that it was ruining my life? You can probably guess.
My kids. One day, for some reason, it occurred to me that my children had been trying for ever and ever to get my attention. And what was my typical response? “Sure – hold on.” “Yes, in just a minute.” “Hold on, I’m checking something.” “Yes, I’ll come in and tuck you in in just a minute (hour… year…. decade…)” And all the time, without even lifting my head from the computer to look at them. To see their little faces talking to me, asking for my attention. How many nights did they get that answer, go into their rooms, climb into bed and fall asleep, and mommy was so engrossed in staring at a computer screen that she didn’t even bother to go in and kiss them goodnight? How many nights did I go in, realize what I had done, cry, pray over them and kiss them sound asleep… and then repeat the same behavior the next night?
Finally, one morning, I had my computer on my lap, my baby girl came into the living room and tried to get into the big chair with me, and I made her move over because she was making it hard for me to hold my computer. Suddenly, I had this strong urge to throw my computer across the room and smash it to bits. Thankfully, I didn’t give in to my first instinct but took the more rational approach, which was to close the stupid thing, lay it aside, and pull my baby into my lap. I don’t even remember what cartoon we watched, but I remember holding my baby girl and wanting to cry out loud at what I had been doing. And I remember how precious it was to hold her close and have her snuggle her little head into my shoulder like she used to. And when I think about all the time I wasted, it crushes me and infuriates me all at the same time and makes me more determined than ever to give my family all of me that I possibly can.
And for now, that means no Facebook. It means that, when my kids come into the room, unless I am paying bills or answering an important email, the computer goes down and my kids get my full attention. When it is bedtime, the computer is not on. We pray, we talk, we tuck in, we do hugs and kisses – every single night. And my babies are loving being loved.
It means that, when hubby turns on the TV, instead of getting all huffy and saying, “Well, you’re watching TV – why shouldn’t I get on the computer??” I sit next to my hubby on the couch, grab up the day’s stack of second-grade papers and grade them. When I am done, I watch the news with him, regardless of the fact that television bores me. Why? Because I am WITH HIM, and we are watching TOGETHER.
OR….. I go to bed. And actually get a FULL NIGHT’S SLEEP. Whoa… 😉
Yes, I still check my email on a daily basis. Yes, I still occasionally sign on to Facebook to post to my blog or to check on my brother and his girl and my soon-to-arrive nephew :-).
But that cut I made with Facebook – that act of cancelling my account – did something to me. It cut something I was so connected to that I couldn’t seem to break free. It changed me, and it changed my family. My husband and I are close again – and better friends than we were before. My kids have their mommy. And my house is actually staying (somewhat) orderly! As orderly as a full-time teaching, working mom’s house can stay without a maid, anyway! lol
And what’s funny is that I don’t miss it. I am glad to be rid of it and its hold on me. I am thankful that God gave me self-control over that area of my life and that He woke me up to see what I was missing.
I don’t think Facebook is inherently bad. But I do think it is potentially dangerous, and I have personally watched it destroy more than one marriage. Not in unfaithfulness, but in absolute inattention to the most important people and details of life. Don’t make the same mistake I made for so long, and then try to blame the problems that ensue on everything but the true source. Stop it now, before it is too late, and your kids aren’t trying to get your attention anymore. Stop it now, before it’s too late, and you and your spouse don’t even know each other anymore. Just stop. And start enjoying real life 🙂 It is precious and fleeting, and you can never recover the time you have squandered.
Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
and Psalm 90:12
So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.
and Romans 14:12
So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.
and finally, Proverbs 14:1
The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands.
Grace and peace to you, in Christ Jesus our Lord.