As we move into Lent, many of us are wondering what we should give up. Many people will give up sweets, some will give up coffee **gasp**, and others will give up more personal guilty pleasures. I have decided to give up Facebook.
Now, some people (ahem: Cate) have questioned me on this particular sacrifice and what it really means to me. Others have argued why Facebook is a tool and why I should not give it up. I've decided to argue my case here (oh good ol' law school coming out...).
First, I believe that Facebook is a very valuable tool (you are correct, Harry), especially for those of us who have friends, literally, all over the world. I could never completely shut down my account because it is a way that I keep in touch with childhood friends I met while living overseas and friends I've met at different points in my life who live thousands and thousands of miles away. There are many benefits to Facebook in addition to a means of keeping in contact with people and I truly appreciate it.
However, there are also some serious negatives about it. I am hooked. I mean, seriously addicted. Sometimes, I pick up my phone and don't even realize that my thumb has tapped the Facebook icon until I see my newsfeed loading. I check it at least 10 times a day and I never start or end my day without checking Facebook to see what is happening in the Facebook world. I know, it's bad.
Also, it strains my personal relationships that I have on a daily basis. I am constantly distracted from daily activities because I'm checking the latest posts or pictures. When I am spending time with Husband, I'm usually also spending time with my 1000 online friends. It drives him crazy and it also keeps me from giving him my undivided attention. I'm sure I do the same thing when I'm with friends and other family members.
I've noticed that I'm checking it while waiting at the bus stop after work and while waiting for my food at restaurants. It's a way to pass the time -- at least that's what I tell myself. The thing is, this constant distraction keeps me from appreciating all of the little things in life. The little, daily blessings that God gives us as a reminder of his love. Instead of checking my phone while waiting for food at a restaurant, I could be watching a child and her parents celebrate a birthday or a new couple in that blissful new-relationship stage. Better yet, I could see an older couple still in love and on a date after 60+ years together! Those beautiful things are much better than what the latest person commented about the power outage at the Superbowl or the traffic jam on the way home from work.
After a lot of thought and reflection, I've decided that although it will be extremely tough, I will be deleting my Facebook app from my phone and I won't log on until after the Lenten season is over. In doing this, I will also be making a constant effort to look for the beauty around me. It will give me a chance to work on the relationships God has blessed me with, time to meditate on my own faith and the life I live, and remember that the world is a blessing and it is all too easy to be distracted by technology or gossip or what others are up to.