3 ways Facebook ruined my life

Two weeks ago I applied to what seemed like a dream job, a dream situation. Christian camp, children, Jesus, fun, camp, Jesus! I received an email after I applied that they wanted to interview me over the phone, and in my excitement I posted a Facebook status about it!  125 likes and 10 or so “you got this girl”/”they’d be lucky to have you!” comments later,  I was feeling pretty awesome. This was going to be great. VERY LONG STORY SHORT. The camp never called, the phone interview (though rescheduled multiple times) never happened. It was their fault, not mine. I trust God’s sovereignty over this situation. But, it was still a very terrible week.  I had spent hours (literally) waiting by the phone. When I got an email saying the spots had been filled for that job, my first thought was “oh gosh. what am i going to tell everyone?” Really. That was my first thought. Followed by just sheer embarrassment and shame. I listened to my thoughts and realized they were very very self-centered: guess i’m not going to be that girl who gets her dream job right out of college and get to post all these awesome photos and statuses about her adventures.  

And that my friends, is when I knew, this 7 year Facebook junkie needed a long break. I didn’t cut cold turkey. But I did do several things: 1. I deleted the Facebook app.  2. I did not look at the newsfeed. If I had to log-in to check a message or event, I checked that. and that was it. 3. When I logged in, I was sure to log out afterwards.

This was a big deal for me because, I seriously was addicted. I had no idea the power Facebook had over me until I took this step. It’s been a week without ’24/7 access to facebook’ and here are my thoughts. I made a lists, cause lists are fun, right?

  1. Comparison STEALS JOY.

So yeah, sometimes seeing all the weddings, engagements, vacations, on facebook etc stuff is obnoxious. Right? I think we all get that. But what if just the act of (subconciously or conciously) comparing your life constantly to others via the newsfeed is stealing your joy?  Every status, every photo might act as a measuring stick to your life. Was my day better than their day? Was my breakfast better than theirs? I spent 3 months in London and felt “Pretty dang good about all my adventures” And sharing them on facebook. Now, i just post a lot of pictures of my cats and pretend I’m not bitter about it.

But seriously.

My first feeling when I stopped reading the newsfeed everyday was: HOLY CRAP! FREEDOM! My life, was my life and that’s it. I didn’t have to be on facebook at 2am and see what everyone did during their day. This turned out to be a huge blessing cause,  I was sick 3 days (sickest I’d been in a long time) and I didn’t have to be exposed to a constant update on everyone who was healthy and happy. I could focus on myself getting better, instead, of focusing on how everyone else was having more fun than me.

Friends, Take a break from the newsfeed, take a breath. Look at your life, there’s good there, I promise. Your life matters, too. Your life needs to be lived. And it’s difficult to live it when you’re not all there cause you’re worried about other people’s online portrayal of their lives.

2. Oversharing. 

I got a serious question: if a tree falls in a forest, and no one updates their status about it, did it really fall?

GUYS WE SHARE EVERYTHING. We overshare. We post about everything we do and I think its because we want someone to validate it. You went to the grocery store today? WOW, AWESOME! i’ll like your status, so proud of you! Do it again, in like 2 weeks, or whenever you run out of food.

I am so guilty of this. Another side effect of quitting facebook was then realizing I couldn’t share what I did each day. I couldn’t complain about being really sick, or update a status about John Piper speaking at my church, or a photo of my cat (again.) But again, why do I need to share it? I was free from that “obligation” to share. I didn’t have to worry about finding a good angle for a photo at the baseball game, because I was too busy enjoying the baseball game. I had crappy service today at restaurant, and I didnt’ share it. because I don’t have to 🙂 It’s like freeing. But man, why do we share so much? Does sharing an experience on facebook make it any more or less real than if its not on facebook? so why? i  think my next point answers this question.

3. “I got friends and  200 notifications.” (Tune of: Friends in Low places, Garth brooks.) 

We have a desperate need, as humans, for validation and affirmation. I don’t care  how cocky and put together someone looks on the outside, deep down, they just want to know someone loves them. They want to know they are doing alright. So, maybe this Facebook thing has become a tool, a way for us to find validation from others. People can literally click a button to approve (like) of what you said. #validationstation. This is embarrassing for me to admit, but, I really really struggle with basing my worth on how many likes my status or photo gets. And hopefully, if you’re honest, you might struggle with it, too. This culture of “validate me, let me know I’m doing alright” that exists on Facebook is killer. It’s gasoline on the fire of those hearts who are proud, and dry ice on the mouth for those who wanted to say something but feared retribution. there’s a lot of pressure, pressure to perform. to say the right thing, to make the right “next step”, to put on a show for the 300-1000 “friends” that you have.

Again, if this is you, please please step away. Take a break. Remember the Lord and let Him fill that hole in your heart. Don’t run to humans to validate you. They’re flaky, they’ll disappoint you, they’ll disagree with you. God loves you so much. He’ll never leave you. God loves you no matter how many likes you got on your most recent selfie. He made your beautiful face, He’s the one who  ‘liked’ it first. And that’s all that should matter. God’s approval is what matters in eternity, not how many likes you get on each status.

Just wanted to share a little of my journey this last week with you guys. (now validate me!) No but really, Hopefully this encourages you guys to look at yourself, observe your motives and your heart and see where you’re at with this whole Facebook thing.

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Let me love you.

My cat Stinkle is a mess. But I love her. She’s the cat I always wanted: she follows me everywhere, she sleeps by my feet every night, and is always ALWAYS purring.  This girl never stops. I’ve grown rather attached to her and am actually really thankful for her. I had a really crappy week and today (the worst day so far) she came into the office where I was sitting, jumped up on my lap and climbed up to where she was sitting on my chest, purring as usual.

Stinkle does hate two things though. She hates Phantom (our other cat) and she hates being held. Every time I try and hold her, she flips out. She squirms, cries and claws at me. I’m no cat psychologist, but I think Stinkle hates being held because when she is being held she’s not in control anymore. She’ll sit on me, she’ll lay next to me, she’ll make dough on my stomach with her sharp claws. But, never has she let me hold her. And and it’s sad to me, because in some strange way it’s like she doesn’t trust me. I’ve done nothing to hurt her in her 6 years of life, but there’s just something about her that hates being held.

And in a way, I can relate. I like having two feet on the ground, I like being in control. I like knowing what is going to happen next, and where I’m going to be. When God wants me to trust Him, when God wants me to rest in His arms, my first instinct is to squirm. I wiggle. I make any attempt to figure out what is happening. I exhaust any energy I have to try to get back up on my own two feet. If that doesn’t work, then, I complain and worry and argue. Then, I want to put some distance between me in God. Sometimes, if I’m honest, I like it better when I’m sitting next to God, or when I’m just in the same room as Him. I like when I have the illusion of having some control. He’s there. I’m there. It’s all good.

Ya know, whenever Stinkle wiggles in my arms or claws at me. My first reaction isn’t hate or disgust, it saddens me. I’m sad. I love the time i get with my cat, I love that she loves me so much. I just want her to let me love her. I wonder if God feels the same way about us. We push Him away, we claim we “got this”, we trip we fall, He runs like a loving father to pick us up, we push Him away, we claim we “got this”, we trip we fall, He runs like a loving father to pick us up. All the while He’s whispering “Marlie, let me hold you. Rest in me. Find Healing in me. This world has caused you great pain.  Let me love you. All of you. The messy parts, the broken parts. The doubts, the anger, the questions, the pride, the beauty, the pain. Let me love you. And even if you don’t, I still will love you.”

I don’t know if my cat will ever let me hold her, but I’m going to allow God to hold me.

What better arms to be found in?

Application:

Read Psalm 91.