I recently took a break from Facebook. For over a month I stayed away, taking some time to focus on me, focus on relationships and to really hear what God was saying to me. I’m ashamed to admit that Facebook had become such a distraction to me that I could barely go five minutes without checking on what was “happenin'” in everyone’s lives. I got so overwhelmed with trying to keep up, answer messages and feeling like I’m connecting with everyone that I “should” connect with, that I just got OVER it! The “why didn’t you like my status, but you liked her status” or the obsession of, let’s face it, “did anyone like what I had to say”. It just became to much. I became like one of my favorite author’s, Shauna Niequist said in her book Bread and Wine, “We like the idea of being sixty seven other places instead of the one lame, lonely place we find ourselves on some days.” It’s the truth. Somedays, just looking into the lives of people, most of whom I barely know at all on my friend’s list, seemed so much more fascinating than my own life. The result of that in my life was I stopped looking into the faces of the real people I share life with each and everyday. Sometimes taking a break is just the thing we need, and for me, this break was great!
Jeff and I traveled to Orlando for our 19th anniversary in December. As we traveled for HOURS, we talked about our goals for 2014…how we wanted our lives to look differently. The main thing we kept coming back to was to live like we believe with our whole heart that “Jesus is Enough”. For me, that meant scaling back from this world that was taking up so much time for me. I didn’t know how to do that, though. I use Facebook to post my blog, to keep up with friends that I don’t live near, to encourage people we minister to and who are our friends. I didn’t want to lose a voice in people’s lives, and I didn’t want to miss out on what was going on with people. Missing out on what was going on was one of the most interesting things for me. I can’t tell you how many times someone asked me, “Hey, did you read what so and so posted on their status about their illness; or their marriage; their kids, etc?” Umm, no, I didn’t. I didn’t know what was going on with people I thought I was like, really connected to, you know…in REAL life. Being intentional in our relationships is so vitally important. Don’t assume someone is reading what is going on in your life in a short status. Reach out, look your friends in the face and tell them! Facebook is so NOT the real world. People don’t see your tears, hear your life, get to hold your hand there. It’s not the place for venting, although I’ve done it and so have you…it’s not the place. We miss our opportunity to face confrontation head on when we hide behind 140 characters in a tweet, or a tirade filled status on Facebook. We lose our chance to experience what that feels like and grow up! Again, Shauna Niequist’s words ring true for me here, “I think about how valuable it is to live the life in front of you, regardless of how tempting it is to press your face to the glass of other people’s lives online.” How am I living out my real life relationships? Is it the behind of the glow of the laptop’s screen, when I raise my eyes to numbly say, “Yeah, I heard what you said” when clearly I have no clue? Is it taking time to call or text my friend and say, “What’s going on in your life today? Let’s catch up over lunch”. Are we spending our days reading into what people are really saying in their status, wondering if they’re talking about us when they post vague things. Do we spend time fuming because our status wasn’t liked by our pastor’s wife, so she must not care? Friend, let’s stop that. Let’s really do life. Let’s believe Jesus is enough for our relationships. Let’s trust Him to show us how.
Nothing makes me feel more loved, like a big ‘ole warm hug, than looking across a table full of people I love, hearing stories of what God is doing in their lives, the ring of laughter in the air as we re-tell stories of memories we’ve made. I can’t do that on a computer screen. I believe today you have an opportunity to be a real friend to someone. It takes half a second to click the “Like” button, but it requires a choice on your part to pick up the phone and let someone hear you say the words, “I love you”. I don’t hate Facebook, but I don’t like the way it’s changing the face of relationships, thrusting us into a world based on assumptions of who people really are. I love the way I can connect with you and those I dearly miss in my life, but it is not gonna ever replace the intentional gift I can give when I take the time to look into the eyes of my friends.