Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Fasting From Facebook

I have left Facebook for an extended period before and I have also blogged about it previously here. Essentially I am addicted to Facebook. Some people might be able to use it casually as a useful social networking tool, using it to schedule face time with friends, or to connect with long lost pals, or to answer the burning question whatever happened to Mary-Lou. But that's not how I have been using Facebook, and some days I was logging in more than 30 times. I had to read all my news feed and some of my Facebook friends who I barely knew when they were my university classmate I now "knew" from their frequent status updates and photos. It wasn't that I was an obsessive lurker of profiles, but if it was in my feed chances are I had read it or seen it. I didn't comment a lot on threads, and I usually only posted a status update once a week and liked several posts or pictures daily. At least that's how it's been lately. There was a time when I posted and commented and liked much more frequently.

It wasn't merely the frequency of my logging into Facebook or the time wasted that is problematic, it is the envious feelings that Facebook helps to provoke. Seeing so many of my peers settled into a life, mother to two or three or four children, happily married for three to ten years, made me dissastified with my single, childless life. Seeing one former classmate land position after position, juggling multiple nursing jobs and advancing in her career, made me feel sadly inferior. Why couldn't I simply be happy for these friends and why must I compare our circumstances? Jealousy had become like a sickness for me and Facebook was assisting its viral spread.

I was well aware of my unhealthy addiction to Facebook and the issues of envy and discontent with my life that it was compounding. So when I received the message "get rid of Facebook" during a time of prayer, while sitting in a church sanctuary, I knew who was asking and I knew why. I told God I would wait until I had finished my current Scrabble games and then I would deactivate my account. In the meantime I continued to use Facebook much as before, and started to wonder if I had really heard from God to remove Facebook from my life. I rationalized and equivocated, but I knew that I needed to follow the directive. So today I began my Facebook fast. I realize that I have issues I need to deal with that go far beyond an addiction to Facebook. However it is the first necessary step in a detoxification process. The duration of the fast and whether I can eventually be a casual user of this social networking site again I don't know. 

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