ago, I announced to my Facebook friends that I was taking a fast from that social media platform. This was partly the result of a discussion, which a group of men I meet with had the preceding evening as we discussed Chip Ingram’s book, Good to Great in the Eyes of God
. As we talked about the implications of the final chapter on “Great Habits,” it was suggested that we take a media fast for one day. This might be a spiritually healthy way to focus on God and others in a personal way rather than the impersonal manner associated with sitting at keyboard and typing away. There was another reason that precipitated an abrupt break from Facebook that following morning, but that will be discussed at the end of this post.
Well, today I broke the fast intentionally, having had a few accidental logins. However, I do have a few observations:
1. I didn’t miss it…much. Sorry if I failed to give you a celebratory greeting if you had a birthday over the past week. That is one of the reminders I do like on FB.
2. I had to log on a few times just to get event information (graduation open houses, wedding invites) that wasn’t transferred to my calendar. Due to one of those quick inquiries, one astute friend observed that FB was showing that I had been active and questioned if I really was fasting. Another time I opened up Safari on my phone and it opened up to the last site which was FB. So, if you choose to fast and don’t want to be accused of cheating update calendars and log out from all devices before taking a break.
3. I have found my best method of limiting time of FB is to take the app off my phone. That will remain off.
4. Most of the pictures of my grandchildren (the reason I joined FB) are showing up on Instagram now. I don’t need to be distracted by what’s trending (ex. hashtag* NationalSendANudeDay) *spelled out to avoid hyperlink!
5. And the preceding trending promo highlights the unwholesomeness of social media. Too many temptations are just a click away. The day I took a break, I received a “friend request” from an individual that had no mutual friend connections. I am careful about accepting friend requests but investigated to see if there might have been some connection through my blogging that has a wide audience. When I clicked on the request, I beheld a pornographic sex scene. I quickly retreated and deleted the friend request. But I was shaken by how quickly my life was invaded by an unwelcome visual that is still etched in my mind even after a momentary view.
“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.” Job 31:1 (NIV)
6. While I glean a lot of ministry related information from social media (church members/families: please call me when you’re in the hospital before it’s posted as a prayer request on FB), I will start limiting my access to a couple of times a day rather than have it up as an active tab.
We all deal with time wasters in our lives. You may not have a problem with social media, but almost all of us could eliminate something from our lives that would help facilitate better relationships with God and others. What is it for you?
I could go on, but don’t want to take you away from some important personal encounter you should be having right now. Plus, I need to spend some personal time with my wife, who I’ve not seen all day!
Pastor Chuck, I really enjoyed your blog post as always! I’ve found myself struggling with Facebook addiction myself. I was logging on way too much at work, and while I never really got in trouble for it, I realized I was being a bad role model. Working in I.T., what would happen if someday its my job to participate in the reprimanding of another employee for using Facebook too much at work, while I myself am doing it. So I made the decision not to log on at work anymore, which is hard because you can accidentally log in without knowing it or just out of habit. So what I did was on my laptop at home, I opened a blank notepad document and just typed in some gibberish characters, random letters and numbers. I then save that document somewhere on my computer so I’ll have it later. I copy and paste that random password and change my Facebook password then tell it to log me out of other devices. Long story short, when I get to work I literally couldn’t log into Facebook if I wanted to as I have no idea what my password is. The only way I can login is on my home laptop by copying and pasting that password in my notepad document. Granted, in an emergency here and there if you HAVE to log into Facebook, you can always click “Forgot my password” and reset it anytime you want. It might seem extreme to some people, but I’ve found this has helped me a lot in limiting my FB presence.
As for my smartphone, I just use the FB Messenger app to keep in touch with people, just like I would my regular text messaging. I don’t have the regular FB app installed, only the FB Messenger app. That way I can keep in touch via messenger, but not have to actually be a part of the full FB experience.
I’ve found that in general, I’m in a much better mood from day to day by not being on Facebook! A lot of people don’t realize how quickly you can get sucked into negativity on FB with all the political bitterness, and all the perversion currently going on in society. I can be in a great mood, log onto Facebook, and within 5 minutes I’m angry and upset! Its great to have that freedom to just be able to walk away from it and say “I’ll check it when I feel like it, but right now I’m going to do something more constructive.”
Enjoyed your blog post, have a blessed weekend!
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Thanks for that comment, Darrell. That login tip is great…never thought of that, but then I’m not the IT guy!
I did keep my Messenger app on my phone because a lot of people use it like text. I wondered if my use of that counted as active on FB, too. I think I will continue to keep the FB app off my phone, though.
Your right about how quickly it sucks you in and often toward negativity and decisiveness. I am a part of a FB group of former middle school/high school classmates in Memphis. The same post was made last night and many indicated that they only go to the group postings and avoid the general FB newsfeed for that very reason.
Thanks for the good ideas and contribution to the topic! God bless, Brother!
Great thoughts. I took FB off my phone when I’d look at it constantly while my second daughter was a baby. I found my right thumb was starting to hurt! But then realized it can be such an addiction and one that also feeds any number of my sin issues (from discontentment to laziness). I just finished reading a book (granted NOT Christian and has some R rated scenes) called The Circle, which is scary close to where our culture is headed with social media. I’m already scared for the generation right behind me that actually has no idea how to interact with people. I’m seeing it in little ways now, not being acknowledge by baristas or food service people. But soon, the ramifications of FB will be much more wide spread.
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I, too, appreciate Facebook for the birthday reminders and events that don’t transfer to my calendar. It’s also nice for staying connected with family and friends and seeing photos, and I use it as a ministry to reach out to those far away, but it can definitely be a time waster. When I’m on my computer doing office work (self-employed), I try to limit my time on social media. It sometimes helps by setting a timer that I have to get up to turn off. [chuckle]
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