The last time I talked about be being off Facebook, I was just a mere six days into it and experiencing what I’ll refer to as the Honeymoon phase. It’s been 25 days since I’ve deactivated Facebook and to be honest, the honeymoon phase is over and i’m learning a lot about myself right now. The things I am learning are both really telling about where my heart is and also quite embarrassing, because i’m discovering Facebook actually means something to me.
Initially I felt freed from Facebook, however as time has progressed i’ve found myself feeling lonely, disconnected, and discontented. Some nights have been spent wrestling, wanting to get on Facebook to scroll through. This desire isn’t inherently evil, but it’s the heart behind it that is. My true heart’s motivations isn’t that I want to see what particular friends are up to, but I desire to feel a deep sense of connection with others. While connection is a positive thing, where we get it from can be negative. I realize that the false sense of connection that Facebook lends itself to is dangerous, because we as people can go through our lives only obtaining false connections or a sense of connection without authentically connecting to the people around us. The past few weeks I’ve learned that for me there is something deep inside me that feeds off social media in inappropriate ways and helps satisfy that deep God-given desire within me for connection. There may be nothing wrong with that for others, but recently I’ve learned it may be a huge stumbling block for me. This realization both has shocked and embarrassed me, but made me realize that I am probably not alone because some of you have most likely been doing the same thing without even realizing it.
As I reflect on all this, my deep desire for authentic connection and the sense of false connection that I’ve harbored from Facebook, I realize that if I moved away from East Tennessee to a different part of the country very few people here would miss me for an extended amount of time (more than 2-3 months). My brothers and sisters I serve alongside with at church may feel a deeper sense of loss because of the connections I have serving alongside them and they would need someone to fill my few responsibilities there. However, because of the distraction of social media I realize that I’m missing true connection with people at this point in my life, especially now that college is over, friends have moved away, and I have full time job responsibilities. The transition from College Life to Adulthood is aiding the process of losing connection and becoming more attached to things like social media, since that’s an avenue to keep up with them. While it can be a tool, I have noticed that it’s kept me from forming new relationships with the people around me to replace old ones. My Facebook hiatus has really brought this to my attention and made me realize that true connections with others take work. True connection is more than a Facebook post or a message on Instagram. It’s an effort to reach out, support, share, and live authentically with people around me and give them my time, energy, and communication.
So what have I done since?
Well, I have a small group at church and though it has taken a lot of time to get to know the girls in it and truly open up to each other, I feel that we’ve started to make strides. We reach out to each other during the week and make true connections. We know what’s going on in each others lives now because we actually share during group time. A group that I thought started out on the surface and I didn’t expect it to move beyond the weekly meetings has grown to mean something to me and I’m both shaken and pleasantly surprised by it. When I enter group on Sunday nights they purposefully ask me how my time without Facebook is going and what I’ve learned that week. This is a group of women that I’ve grown to trust and that is true connection.
I have been reading more, reaching out more, texting more, meeting more with people, attempting to plan my time, reach out, reach in, pray for, connect with, be there for people. All without Facebook. I hope that i’m starting to truly live life, truly follow Jesus… truly…connect.