Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Facebook Dilema

I find myself in a facebook dilema.

I have been on facebook for....oh....two years now. Since then, I have reconnected with hundreds (I am not kidding,hundreds!!) of people from my past, present, and future. It has been wonderful to see photos of people "all grow'd up" and catch up on the last twenty years (or more!) from some old friends. Facebook has been a catalyst for healing of some old hurts and a safe connecting place for some otherwise difficult relationships. It is sometimes far easier to keep up with a difficult relationship through short status updates and photo-documentaries.

So where is "the rub" you might ask?

It is two-fold.

First and foremost, it is addicting. People say that, probably a million times a day in cyber world and it is very, very, VERY true. I think it is absolutely, to some of us, what soap operas were to our Mothers and Grandmothers. It is escape. I love my family. I love my job as a home manager. I would be a big, fat LIAR if I told you that it wasn't a thrill to be able to sit here in my favorite chair and explore all of the ins and outs of other people's lives on facebook. I have enjoyed all of the mindless quizzes and "memes" to read. I have even had a cyber english bulldog named flash, who is surely dead by now! LOL! It is an escape-a ticket to journey through exciting events and other people's exciting lives. Plain and simple, it takes away from my first ministry-the one to my husband and my children. Even more sadly, it takes away from my relationship with the Lord.

i⋅dol 
–noun
1. an image or other material object representing a deity to
which religious worship is addressed.
a. an image of a deity other than God.
b. the deity itself.
2. any person or thing regarded with blind
admiration, adoration, or devotion
3. a mere image or semblance of something, visible but without substance, as
a phantom.
4. a figment of the mind; fantasy.
5. a false conception or notion; fallacy.


Almost all of these definitions apply to facebook for me. The bottom line:

My prayer life isn't what it should be, but my facebook status is always accurate.


So you might say, "get a grip and some self-control while you are at it!", right?

Well...

That brings me to the second issue I am having with facebook. It can be what I am calling False fellowship. When a woman has early labor pains it is often called "false labor" which equates to a lot of action that amounts to no real progress.

Facebook creates an artificial sense of "friendship" with people where there is no real relating to one another going on. There are at least a few people on my friends list that would comment away about status updates or posts I make on fb, but would never dare to come up and hug my neck after service on Sunday about the same thing. I know that I do the same thing!!! I think facebook creates a false sense of fellowship that, in reality, is building walls even higher in real life. We can seemingly communicate without judgement on facebook. The kind words, the sarcasm and even the unsolicited advice flow freely from the tips of fingers onto the keyboard, but are kept in tight at the lips when the chance to really fellowship with someone presents itself. Remember those difficult relationships I spoke of earlier? I wonder if it is indeed a blessing to have this "safe zone" to relate to each other or if it is actually just a place that we can be comfortable at, while avoiding the healing of those heart issues that make those relationships hard to begin with.

On the contrary, I have made friends through through groups on facebook that I think I could really get along with in real life. It can go both ways I guess.

I don't know what I will do. For now, I am taking a facebook break. I am leaning towards deleting my account, but I love getting to see some great old friends on there and hear about their lives. I have been encouraged greatly by more than one long phone conversation with friends from over the years that I have caught up with on facebook. I just wonder if the benefit is worth the risk.

So what do you think? Do you facebook? Do you find yourself sitting at the keyboard when you should be relating to someone face-to-face? I would love to hear your facebook thoughts :o)

9 comments:

amymontz said...

I can totally agree with you, Angela! For some reason, I find I have more friends now then I did in highscool! I do love making new friendship too and mending old ones as well, but you always know who your true friends are! ;-)

If you delete I will miss your insightful wisdom! I am a part-time stay at home mom (well we should just say that I work another job 3 days a week), but you inspire me with how much patience you have with all your kids and how creative you are with them! ;-) Facebook is also a way to learn from each others life lessons! you know what I mean!?

Amy Montz

lizcooper said...

On one hand I completely agree with you. Often, I do allow my facebook-ing to interfere with my devotion to the Lord. It can be addicting.

However, I strive to do it when the children are asleep and all other household duties and my family are all cared for. For me, too, facebook is a way for me stay connected when I live so far away from everyone. I also like being able to pray for people when they present requests or encourage them if they're having a rough time/bad day, etc.

I, too, will miss you if you leave fb!

Angela said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Angela said...

Oh, for sure. You both have great points and both are points that I have thought of.

This is something that I have been pondering for a while. Then two things happened. One- Someone said, "I have been worried about you because you haven't been on fb as much!!!" at church the other night and TWO- I saw Fireproof. The scene where he is looking at the computer screen that is showing the ad for his obviously idol and the picture of his dream boat (the less-obvious idol) was convicting to me. I felt a pit in my gut. When he beat that computer with the hammer, I could relate.

I am really beginning to realize that we can all stay connected through email and blogs. Why do we need the constant update? It is a type of voyerism, I think. It is safe and not "dirty", but we all just really enjoy getting a legal peephole into other people's lives I think. (myself included!)

For now, I am taking a fb break. I made sure my email address was accurate and my phone is listed. Then Nathan changed the password. I have no clue what it is :o)

Now, those who are truly meant to be a part of my life will be and I in theirs :o) Hopefully, through this blog and those contacts, I won't have to miss either of you!

Honeycombmama said...

I just deleted my facebook account two weeks ago for the very same reasons you mentioned. If I don't have time for reading God's word, praying or serving my family, how do I find time for facebook? I was getting quite addicted to it as it was my only source of real adult conversation during the day. The husband was at work, the kids at school and so it was free time right? Wrong;) I can think of a million things that are more productive as a woman who is striving to become a Proverbs 31 wife and mother. I don't miss it either. I am pleased with my decision and I am sure God will be too as I spend more and more time with Him now. Good Luck with your decision;)

Abby said...

Same thoughts from me here. I have often thought of deleting my account. Mainly b/c it has not encouraged me to think graciously about people...about people in my own church. If I "think" I know what they are thinking b/c of what I see on their facebook page...then in real life when something comes up I automatically jump to conclusions and think the worst. I also feel like people are MUCH more bold on Facebook than they would be in person.

So to stop that sort of thinking, I have removed all people from church from my facebook...as far as seeing their statuses and such. I cannot tell you how much this has helped! I realize that in effect this is just my evil heart showing itself and sin in my own life of not being gracious towards people and preferring them, but the temptation seems to have been eliminated...at least in the fact of Facebook...so I am able to keep in touch with family and old friends and new friends (like you)! :-)

Thanks for sharing your heart!!!

lizcooper said...

Angela, I really respect your decision to take a fb break! I'm glad that I've had the opportunity to know you both in person and on facebook and that I will continue to have the opportunity to get to know you more :-)

Jarrod, Dawn, Trevor and Mackenzie said...

Angela, I LOVE how transparent you are with your struggles!!!! You've opened my eyes to similar issues that I've been avoiding ): Thank you!!!

MommyOak said...

Hey! I missed you on facebook (ha) and came here to read what you are up to, since I never talk to you at MOPS since we are at different tables.

This post really hit home for me. Also because for me facebook has been NEGATIVE and I have had some hurtful things happen there. At the same time, I do enjoy as you do catching up with people, and have for example found out that I have a lot in common with a cousin who lives in another state.

I keep going back and forth, but I am trying to limit my facebook time more than I used to, and have "hidden" some friends (who are really friends) who have a posting style which we'll say disturbs my peace and distracts me from what I really need to be thinking about.

I do know of people who are REALLY introverted who post excessively on facebook... I like to think that my "facebook personality" is congruent with my actual personality, but I don't know. And I certainly don't want to offend anyone or cause hurt by a link or comment I causally throw into cyberspace.

Sorry for the long post on your blog, lol!

-Elizabeth L.