My friend and neighbor Randi has published a great post about giving up/limiting facebook and how the real enemy isn’t facebook but self. She admits her own struggles and how she feels it draws her (and others) into their selfish ways and causes us to sin by allowing ourselves to be addicted to it’s allures.
I especially liked this section of her post:
Self gets addicted to Facebook because self is full of pride, laziness, coveting, selfishness, lustful conditions. Self is the issue. And we all know that issues are multiplied and magnified 100 x on media (social or not).
So it should be quite clear for all of us to see – Facebook addiction is an issue.
I see this issue now for what it really is.
Facebook addiction is to community what porn is to marriage.
Porn is an easy substitute for true intimacy, that takes time, effort & work. True intimacy takes a lot of *giving* — not just taking! Porn is selfish. Porn is a counterfeit relationship. Facebook addiction is an easy substitute for true intimacy. Facebook addiction is selfish. Facebook addiction maintains an entire neighborhood of counterfeit relationships.
On Facebook, all the images and updates, just like porn, are addictive. It’s an easy fix to get quick conversation. Quick feedback, quick affirmation. Our facebook activity quickly can take a nasty turn from admiring people, being inspired by people —- into outright sin. Coveting & lusting over what other people have – even good things. We covet others’ success in ministry that they SEEM to have, quality friendships they SEEM to have, quality family life they SEEM to have.
Coveting, lusting, desiring immediate affirmation when we want it – all addictive, all sinful.
Addiction is addiction is addiction. And the reason we fall so easily into it, mostly (I will make exceptions for genetic alcoholism, pre-natal exposure to drugs etc which make a person much more susceptible than the average Joe to fall into addictions), is that we would rather settle on making ourselves happy immediately vs following God’s plan.
I’m not as much a community person as Randi is. We’re neighbors so I can say this and I’m sure she’d agree. I’m extremely introverted and have a lot of social anxieties. I realize the importance of community and real connection, but I’m not great at it. It exhausts me, so when I make an effort, I really am dying to my own selfish desires to just crawl into my bed and ignore the world because, eh, who needs ’em? Social media takes care of the difficulties I face in face-to-face interactions, but it’s not the reward of those interactions so I keep going back for more and more. See how easy it is to be sucked in?!
And while I may not covet very much of what I see on facebook, I sin there too. Pride when I feel better about myself and my family compared to others and wrath when I look down on myself for not being enough. Not a better wife or mother or daughter or friend.
I’ve needed to stray back to facebook for a few things this summer and my twitter mysteriously starting posting tweets (mostly World Cup stuff) to facebook (I figured out how to stop that) but overall, I am feeling better about when and how I use it. Connection…helping with quick things (like swimsuits that might be more modest and also flattering) but not getting bogged down in ridiculous comments threads. Birthday wishes and Father’s Day commemorations. Remembering someone lost. But none of the nonsensical liking of every person’s posts. Far less Buzzfeed sharing and random ranting (Jeff kind of likes facebook now that he has to endure all my rants in person!).
And now I’m hoping to move on to a new community. New place. New people. New everything. And I’m wondering, will I fall back on those I know. Those who were once physically close enough for community but I can now only connect with? Will I be addicted to facebook again? Will I actually go to new people meet and greets at church or wherever? Me, me, me. I’ve given this house-selling thing solely to God and maybe I need to make a conscious effort to give our new life, when it begins, to Him as well. It’s not my life, it’s on loan to me for a brief period so maybe I better stop whining and start paying attention. Maybe I can die to self more than I’m used to and grow in grace.