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It’s that time of year when posts pop up all over the internet about Lent. I personally have never been an observer of Lent, but I can relate to the depth of what it means to people. And here’s why:
In the spring of 2012 – after a very difficult few months trying to mother a challenging toddler and reconnect with my husband after his second deployment – I reached a point of emotional and spiritual desperation. A series of events and encounters with other individuals as well as some personal contemplation led me to deactivating my Facebook account for a month.
This action thrust me headlong into a rapid phase of growth and personal development that started with me peeling back the layers of my mind and heart to discover who I truly am as a person. Four years later, I am still feeling the positive changes that started with a month-long Facebook break.
I invite you to follow along with me as I tell in detail what I learned from deactivating my Facebook account.
Part 1: Make March Matter
Excerpt: And so, when I went to the freezer for ice cream and was greeted by the big black words “Make March Matter,” I reached instead for the smoothie ingredients. And then instead of lying on the couch I grabbed my little man, put him in the stroller, and took a walk around the block. And then when I got back to my house and saw my neighbors out, I actually made an attempt to be neighborly instead of hiding in the house. (Read more)
Part 2: Deactivate…ACTIVATE!
Excerpt: I am constantly seeking attention and praise from others. I want people to like me…maybe if my “friends” tell me how awesome I am enough I’ll start to believe it. I want to feel validated and understood, so I turn to others and talk about myself constantly. I don’t take pictures and then post them on Facebook—I take pictures TO post on Facebook. I think in status updates and wonder what my friends will think about every minute detail of my life. I fill my head with “knowledge” that comes from reading blog post after blog post about how to have a successful marriage and be a good mother, and yet it seems like the more I strive, the more frustrated I become. So I keep posting, reading, and sharing, hoping for some sort of mental breakthrough. And all the while I fall further behind on housework, neglect my family, and get more and more frustrated with each passing day. (Read More)
Part 3: Doubts and Reassurances
Excerpt: Feeling lonely–disconnected. I see friends at the hospital and feel at a loss as to what to say. One I will never see again. I want to say, “Keep in touch, I’ll see you on Facebook!” I know I have her email, but it’s not the same as Facebook – seeing the little details of her life.
The truth is that I’m doubting / scared. I’m afraid of isolating myself and having no social outlets. I feel like I can’t influence people or reach out to them in the same way. (Read More)
Excerpt: I want people to like me. It’s that simple.
The truth is that for the last 5 years I have been living my life for the attention and praise of others…feeding off of their praise to find my sense of self-worth, instead of seeking Scripture and a relationship with Christ and finding my worth in Him. (Read More)
Excerpt: The bottom line is this: Staying connected to the day-to-day happenings of 300-500 people (over the course of the past 5 years) through an online website simply because I feel obligated to or don’t want to hurt people’s feelings is not only an ill use of my time, it’s not how God has created me to act socially. It’s emotionally draining, and I don’t believe it’s how God wants me to live my life. It distracts me not just from God, my family, and my home, but it also keeps me from meeting the emotional needs of my family, and others in the way that I desire to most. Facebook is an amazing tool to help me cultivate relationships and encourage people, but I am only one person. To interact with people the way I want to and the way that I feel is most effective, I have to limit the amount of people that I invest myself in. (Read More)
Part 6: Facebook Recovery (Update)
Excerpt: I think that I will probably always struggle with bits of addiction to online interaction, but all in all I feel like I’ve made some serious improvements. I am still incredibly thankful that God allowed men to create the internet and am thankful for the opportunities that it has provided me to create and maintain good solid friendships.
To ALL my readers and cyber-friends (past and current, Facebook or not)…I love you ALL! (Read More)
Excerpt: I’ve finally realized you can live your life trying to please everyone and make everyone happy (which will result in failing or hurting someone because it truly is impossible and you can never truly be good enough), or you can live your own life and enjoy it for what it is – mess, imperfections, and all – regardless of what they think of you. (Read More)
If you have recently decided to take a Facebook break or social media fast for Lent (or any other reason), I hope that my experience will inspire you and challenge you to follow through with it. It just might change your life!