It’s Monday morning and I just checked my Facebook account for the first time since 3 PM, Friday, Feb 27. It’s been a good weekend being away and reflecting. No twitching being off Facebook. No falling off the wagon. No cheating and justifying my cheating. Just a good weekend where I learned a lot.
Why the experiment?
I read an article earlier on Friday called: Facebook Obsession and the Anguish of Boredom. And a line in that article caught my attention: “When life gets boring, we increasingly turn to the surprises (and diversions) of our newsfeeds, not to prayer.”
And so I began to think, “Does that happen to me? Do I turn to Facebook instead of God in prayer? When I get bored, do I seek other things to fulfill me other than God? Is Facebook my source of validation or is God”
This concerned me so hence the experiment to do some soul searching. So I logged off Facebook and turned off my mobile notifications on my phone and tablet; only posting faith related material from other platforms such as this blog and Bible verses from my YouVersion app. I did continue to maintain my church’s Facebook page; but only through my mobile app as to not be tempted to log on and check my newsfeed.
Then ~ whenever I would get the urge to check my Facebook account I would stop and pray instead. And so I did. All weekend this went on; as I jotted down some observations.
(1) Early on, whenever I sat down on the couch I instinctively reached for my phone to check my newsfeed (but I never cheated).
(2) Early on, whenever I got on my computer I instinctively pulled up another tab in my Chrome browser for my Facebook account (once again, I never cheated).
(3) Early on, I prayed a lot because I was thinking about how many notifications I had waiting for me. I almost felt guilty for not checking in.
(4) Later on, I still prayed a lot, but not because I was bored or thinking about Facebook but because I wanted to. This experiment served as a reminder to “Pray without ceasing”. What a pleasant outcome.
(5) Later on, I realized that didn’t think about my newsfeed as much as I thought I would but I still prayed. I was pleasantly surprised.
(6) I missed the people I correspond with on Facebook but not Facebook itself.
So now what?
This experiment has prompted me to make some changes to my Facebook habits. My hope and prayer is that they are long term changes:
(1) Instead of going to Facebook to “waste time” I am going to peruse my newsfeed looking for prayer requests (ones explicitly stated or not).
(2) I am going to keep my notifications turned off on my phone and tablet (expect for messenger). I want to control when I check Facebook and not let a notification tell me when to check. Technology and social media have good qualities but who controls who?
(3) I am only going to check Facebook when I have an identifiable purpose; not checking to see how many people have “liked” something.
(4) No more mindless perusing of my newsfeed. Pray instead; continuing the “experiment”.
And so we’ll see how this goes; this continuation of “the experiment”. This has indeed opened my eyes to how social media can have a huge impact on your life. Like I said earlier, social media is not bad but like anything else, it’s how you use it. And if you’re using Facebook to receive validation from people you barely know; remember that God has already “validated” you through Jesus Christ.
~ Seek God
~ Peruse God’s promises
~ Update your status with God through prayer
~ Know that God has already clicked your “like” button
~ And remember to “log in” and check you “Godbook” (Bible) often.
Thank you, God, for a great weekend and for opening my eyes to new habits. May you be glorified. Amen.
The Pastor -|—