Why I’m leaving Facebook after 7 years as a user…

There was once a time that Facebook was simple, and so (to be honest) was my life. I went to classes and came home, seeing all the people I really knew in the dorms, catching up with them at dinner, and enjoying late night chats in the lounges. The few people I didn’t see regularly, I began to keep up with on “the Face”, which gave me a little bit of insight to their lives when I gave them a phone call and got caught up that way.

Life’s now a little more complex, however, and so has become my Facebook habit.

Now, I’ve never gotten into the games. When I first saw that my father had planted corn (in Farmville, as I later found out), I was really confused because my parents’ neighborhood won’t let them plant anything edible. And when I tried to get into playing Scrabble with the family, I would forget to check on the game and ended up force-forfeiting almost every one I ever tried to play.

So, obviously, I’m not talking about that.

What has gotten quite absurdly out of control has been my need to know every tidbit about every person that I both do and do not hang out with on a daily basis. It wouldn’t be so bad if I actually took the time to seek out each individual to see how he or she was doing, but the fact that it is so readily supplied and I do not need to initiate any type of communication (or relationship), is ridiculous. No wonder I feel cut off from people – almost every relationship is mediated and nothing is genuine.

So, why now?

I’ve been toying with this idea for a while. It is nothing new in the back recesses of my mind, though perhaps not purely in this light. My original stance was going to be for privacy, but Facebook fixed some things and that’s not really a hill I wanted to die on.

This, however is:

Do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. [1 Samuel 12:21]

Those that cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. [Jonah 2:8]

When we put it plainly like this – as a direct choice between God and our stuff – most of us hope we would choose God. But we need to realize that how we spend our time, what our money goes toward, and where we will invest our energy is equivalent to choosing God or rejecting Him. How could we think for even a second that something on this puny little earth compares to the Creator and Sustainer and Savior of it all? [Francis Chan, Crazy Love]

Now, I don’t want to say that Facebook is entirely empty or without value – it certainly can be useful when handled with the correct heart. I simply do not currently have that heart.

Facebook can be a great communication tool, but I am not using it as such. It can be a great way to keep in touch with old friends at various distances, but I often find discouragement, heartache, and even bitterness in what appears in my News Feed.

My heart is not centered heavily on Christ right now – and I’m finally seeing that to be the root of the problem. I need Christ, but I do not see my need for Him.

And this must change.

In the next few months, I’m hoping to seek the stripping away of “worthless idols” – those things that are empty, that do not “profit or deliver” me to the foot of the cross. I want to choose my Creator over the created things that He has so graciously given me. I want to know again the desire to sit at His feet and be fully known by Him. I want to boldly come before the throne of grace – and, right now, I do not remember what that looks like.

Therefore, the first thing to go is Facebook. More will certainly follow, though it will certainly be a process that requires honesty with myself where (especially) my media use is concerned. Only as things are stripped away will I see what needs to go next.

My life has become a constant refrain of, “If only I get to keep (fill in the blank)… (fill in the blank).” We were created for so much more – if there is “no greater loss” than to lose myself in the One who was broken and died on a cross so that He could conquer death and my sin in His resurrection, then I need to change how I live, for my life does not currently reflect this.

On September 15th, I will pull the plug on my Facebook account. Until then, I’ll be trying to gather as much contact information as I can so that I might possibly cultivate relationships again, rather than seeing my reading of status updates for people I know as “relationships”.

Regardless, you can still get ahold of me here, at my e-mail address, akatereynolds[at]yahoo.com, on Twitter [akatereynolds] or by telephone.

Listening to: Mumford & Sons, Sigh No More
Reading: Jan Karon, In This Mountain [among other things]

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