What happened when I deleted Facebook

If you have been around for a while, or ever seen my YouTube videos, you know I deleted Facebook about 8 or so months ago. I had my various reasons why; some that had to do with my overall well-being. Regardless of those reasons, stepping away from the ever-popular app has had benefits, and has been eye-opening.

First, I am going to take a queue from Paul here and mention, “You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. 1 Corinthians 10:23. You may have no problem with Facebook. You may be able to scroll and it not affect you. Let me just say-it was not beneficial for me.

Here are the various things that have been good for me. Things I learned and have gained since my Facebook exit:

I didn’t miss the 100 or more obligatory Happy Birthday posts.

No, I really didn’t. I had maybe 10 instead. All sent to the place where meaningful connections usually take place. To my actual phone number. I didn’t miss the birthday wishes that only came because an app reminded someone to do it. Instead, I enjoyed those from the people who actually remember my born day (Shout out to those who do!). Called. Sent meaningful, heartfelt wishes, and I love you’s. Simply because they know. They may need a calendar to tell them it’s my special day. But they don’t need a social media notification to do so.

I began to engage in meaningful conversation.

Think about it. How many of your conversations center around what you saw or read on Facebook. I’ll admit for a while I had a little bit of FOMO. “I didn’t see it, you know…deleted Facebook.” Thought I was missing the latest and greatest. But after a while, I noticed I engaged less with those who spent all their time trolling, and commenting on social media concerns, and more time having real-time, face-to-face conversations with people. Learned more about them, and who they were beyond their latest post.

I turned off the “noise.”

And for a while even the news. No, I didn’t bury my head in the sand, and pretend the world wasn’t still spinning in utter chaos…I just chose to engage in reputable sources. Those without comments from people arguing back and forth. I read and formed my own opinion, without all the “noise” in the comments section; or from the news feed convincing me how I should think.

I turned off the “noise” in my own head.

As I mentioned in my video about my decision, Facebook left me anxious. It provided me with a very negative mindset. It also allowed me to judge people in ways they may not be, simply because they posted or “liked” something. It left me in a constant state of comparison to others “highlights,” and left me feeling like my life was empty and meaningless. I questioned motives. I questioned intentions. It was bad for my headspace. For me. That’s my personal experience. Yours could be very different.

I learned who was really down. Who would reach farther than the social media messenger function.

Look…I’m just being real. I’ve had the same phone number for 16 plus years. It’s been inactive only when I’ve been out of the country, which was no more than 14 days in those last 16 years. Social media is not my only connection to the outside world. I have unlimited texts and phone calls, and I can count on my two hands how many have used this method to still keep in touch. Those would be the “loyal” circle. If social media kept you in the “circle,” and now you have cut that“circle” off…my dear, I’m fine with a smaller one. Harsh? Possibly, but it’s the straight up truth. Connections with people should go much deeper than a random Facebook comment, or “thumbs-up” here and there.

I realized…lives are not often a true reflection of what is posted.

Don’t let social media fool you. Since I have had more time to really talk outside of apps, I have learned that marriages that look the happiest aren’t. That the people that look their “best,” are struggling with their self-esteem. That the houses that look the “cleanest,” have dirty corners no one dares mention. The family on that dream vacation has been at each other’s throat the entire time. No one shares these moments. What you are seeing on Facebook is highly curated posts and updates only highlighting what is good. Stop comparing yourself to what in most cases is a false representation of the people behind the “happy” smiles. There is truth to that often referenced quote: “People are not always what they post to be.”

I had more time to do things I had put off for so long.

Without the desire to check on likes, statuses, messages, and post every single moment, I created space to update my “read” list (books that is). Write AND publish a devotional instead of a Facebook worthy post. Study for an exam I had to put off. Focus on my mental health. Actually enjoy family dinner without phones. I had time to declutter. Time with friends. Time with God first thing in the morning, and not my news feed. And none of this newfound time and connection involved scrolling through endless media chatter.

I found solace in a more private life.

A media hacking may have forced me into the need for privacy, but I found that when I shut off the app, my desire to post every single detail about my life also shut down. I still share. But my kids are no longer the subject. My grandchildren are for me (and their parents) to enjoy and raise. My private moments, are well…private. I now blog my deeper thoughts. Journal. Or just say nothing, and I realize that the more people know about you; know what you are doing, where you are going, who you are with, what cause you are supporting, what moves you are making; the more they can use against you. When I stopped posting every little thing, I learned to move and accomplish things with the support of my biggest (physically present) cheerleaders, and not the constant peering of a social media “crowd.”

I don’t even miss it!

Look. I get it. It’s hard to pull the plug. You want to keep your distant relatives posted with cute pics of your kids. You want to see what your “friends” from high school are up to. But could a photo sharing app accomplish the first? Could a birthday phone call do the trick? And about that high school acquaintance…well, is there a reason they need to keep up with you? Or are you secretly hoping your life looks better than theirs? Or even better than it did in high school?

What now?

Personally, I don’t miss it. One single bit. Really. Why? Because my life was full of negativity and uncertainty with it. Most especially my worth. Now? Well, my life is just full. And I don’t have to tell all my 500 plus “friends” it is so.

Not ready to pull the plug completely yet? Try it for a month. Then tell me if your experience is anything like mine. I’d love to hear all about it…just not on Facebook, of course (see the Get Social Page for alternatives).

I’ll Keep My Joy, Thank You!

For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17

I am not usually a glass half full type of gal. Rain puts me in the worst of moods, and I can at times have quite the self-defeatist attitude.

These are also areas I have been asking God to help me overcome. Asking Him to help me see each day and situation in a more positive light.

So, of course the devil sneaks in to tempt me into using my words as piercing swords. To turn my mood into something as dark as the clouds outside. To try his hardest to steal my joy.

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. John 10:10

And, I can let him, or I can take Paul’s advice in Galatians 5:22 and show the joy that is part of God’s spirit in me.

This thought makes me examine a few things. Do I let others determine how happy I am? Do I let my circumstances destroy my faith in God’s promises? Am I a beacon of joy that will bring others to Christ? Or a ball of negative energy that will cause them to turn away?

I had someone ask me recently if I was having a good day. I responded in truth, admitting that the morning had been a bit rough. After staying up into the wee hours of the morning to complete an assignment, and entertain two giggly girls over for a birthday sleepover, my exhaustion certainly made me want to feel anything but joy! I was tired, and I was pretty sure it was written all over my face.

“Yet, you are still smiling!” was the response. And yes, I do…I smile through a lot of the pain and sorrow that makes up this life.

 Why not? What’s the alternative? To grumble? To complain? To curse my circumstances and the God who allowed them?

Do these actions keep life from happening? Messes from growing?

Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes with the morning. Psalm 30:5

Sure, I can choose to respond negatively, or I can choose to rejoice in the God who promises joy each morning.

I can be the example of Christ, “who for the joy set before him endured the cross,” and live out this same kind of joy in the midst of my own suffering.

I can rest in the promise that no money, no bigger house, no job, no pursuit of worldly happiness will ever come close to the joy that comes from God’s spirit living in me, or his promises for me.

So, you can have the rest-the money, the house, the world. I’ll keep my joy, thank you!

From Positive to Negative in Less than 40 Hours…and Back Again!

You must be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. James 1:19

It has been close to a week since the end of the Lenten season, and most folks have started to engage in activities or consume treats they scarified in the name of Christ for 40 days. My son has started making his popcorn every night around 10 pm. My husband has perused the frozen aisle for Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream. Starbucks is once again hopping with latte lovers, and folks on social media hiatus are back in the mix.

And me? Well, I slowly wandered back into negative thoughts, angry outbursts over minor irritations, and yes, gossip. Just like my ice cream, popcorn, and Facebook starved counterparts, I was apparently making up for the 40 days in which I worked so hard biting my tongue, and staying positive

A forgotten day at work earlier in the week threw me into pity party mode. I was hormonal (because this is the excuse we women allow ourselves, A LOT). I woke up on the grumpy side of bed the other morning. I survived two meltdowns courtesy of our five-year old son over uncomfortable clothes, weird shoes, and dead flowers. I was staying up late to work on a large project due at the end of the week. I was behind on housework, work for church, school work. I was in an overall tizzy.

As everything began to crumble around me, so did my “happy” meter. And I wanted EVERYONE around me to know it!

My husband knew how irritated I was that lunches were not packed. 

I got a little snappy with co-workers because they had missed my “Hallmark” holiday.

I yelled at my kids, well, because I had a lot to do. And, darn it! I wanted to have a meltdown over clothes and dead flowers for once!

I moved from 40 days of positivity, to Negative Nancy mode all in the span of 40 hours!

Starting a quarrel is like opening the floodgate, so stop before a dispute breaks out. Proverbs 17:14

And, boy had I opened the floodgates!

I had clearly forgotten that building others up meant praising my kids for the things they do well, not just harping on all the things they do wrong, or don’t do at all.

I had forgotten that not tearing down, meant I stopped the self-defeating talk that made a list of all my weaknesses and flaws. 

I forgot the importance of not getting caught up in solving the problems of the world-my way, of course. 

I had forgotten the power of prayer and an encouraging word.

And I had forgotten that the call to be slow to speak or get angry could be the difference in whether one has a positive outlook, an overflowing “happy” meter, or a change in mood. 

While I was snapping, stomping, complaining, and yelling-I had forgotten how to be like Jesus.

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. Ephesians 5:1-2

Our lives will always be defined by circumstances and situations we face. Some will be good, and some not so. Most of them we do not choose, and cannot control.

But, we do have one choice. We can choose to change the way we see our circumstances. We can choose to change the way in which we respond to the annoyances that trickle into our daily activities.

Are we going to put on our rose colored glasses and see our situation as something positive? A learning experience? A chance to grow? A chance to become closer to God? A chance to encourage someone else? To share a word of praise or encouragement for what they have done?

Or are were going to put on our grumpy pants and see our situation from every sharp and stormy angle possible? A reason to stress even more? A reason to give up? A reason to lay on the floor and have a meltdown? A reason to not rely on God?

I know I want those rose colored glasses. I want to challenge myself to continue to speak life to those in my midst. To speak words of encouragement. To remain positive in a world that is anything but.

I want to remember that the call to speak the truth in love, to praise, to encourage, to be slow to speak wasn’t a call for 40 days only, but for all times. Even when I have been forgotten. Even when the side of my bed is a little grumpy. Even when my kids are driving me nuts. Even when I have too much to do, and too little time in which to do it. Even when all I want to do is give up, lay on the floor, and meltdown.

My choice? To speak life. To remain positive. To be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. For 40 minutes, 40 hours, 40 days, weeks, years, and beyond. How about you?

 

Speak Life

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I have a confession to make. It is probably a confession that could easily apply to many a man or woman, Christian or not.

I am a gossip. I am a Negative Nancy. There is a lot of unwholesome talk that comes out of my mouth. And I don’t think that it is any coincidence that at the very time I begin to study a book on the power of words with the women of my church, that I start to feel convicted about the words that come out of my mouth.

Are they used to build up? Not always. Are they wholesome? Nuh-uh. Are they positive? Nope.

I have been asking God this week how I could be intentional about the Lenten season this year, and yesterday he placed the words of Paul in Ephesians 4:29 on my heart. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

My gossip and negative words don’t do much benefit to anyone.

Keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies! Psalm 34:13

Gossip. When we think of this word we often think of the he say/she say stuff that rumors are made of. But, gossip can often be quite subtle. According to Webster’s gossip is defined as “the act of sharing information about the behavior or personal lives of other people.” And while the definition may imply a deceitful nature, gossip can actually be quite innocent.

It starts with talking about a co-workers “behavior” at the copier. It’s just a simple discussion about things you have both observed. A discussion that then turns into judgment, condemnation, and resentment, and before you know it, you are in the midst of full-blown gossip.

It starts with a text to someone asking simply, “What’s wrong with him or her?” And quickly your simple act of concern moves to speculation and condemnation about one’s personal life or behavior.

You think you are working towards a solution to help a friend, co-worker, or family member, but these types of conversations quickly turn into talk that is unwholesome. Words are shared about your mutual friend that don’t build up. More than likely, your mutual concern to work towards helping, never actually comes to fruition.

Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut. Proverbs 10:19

Ouch. That was harsh….but then again, so are negative words.

I will admit, this area-it’s a hard one for me. I am not a glass half full girl! I play devil’s advocate-A LOT, and I tend to be a wee bit sarcastic (ok, more than a wee bit). I prepare for when the glass is empty, and in doing so find that the words that fly off my tongue are often negative.

Look up the word negative and its descriptions, and words like “unfavorable,” “gloomy,” “weak,” “colorless,” “unwilling,” and “repugnant” are listed. Do you want to be around these kinds of people? Probably not. And I don’t want to be one of these people either.

I get it. It’s hard. We are surrounded by so much in society that is anything but positive. And, I know-life is tough. Believe me, I know. If you have been reading for a while, then you know that I have experienced “tough.”

And, with social media constantly updating us on the personal lives of those who live and breathe among us, it is no wonder we have the propensity to gossip, to slander, and to pass judgment so quickly.

But, I don’t want to be the one who slanders, who gossips, and I certainly don’t want anyone to think being around me is “repugnant.”

Instead, I want to do what Paul instructs in Philippians 4:8. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about the things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

I want my words to be wholesome, helpful, beneficial, and used to build others up. Not used to condemn and tear others apart.

I want to stop talking to others about helping a friend in need, and actually do it.

I want to be bold enough to ask someone, “What’s wrong?” instead of fishing for the information from someone else.

I want the words that fall from my lips in times of struggle to be pleasant and not rancid.

I want the words I speak to be true, lovely, admirable, and pure. I want them to reflect the heart of Christ.

I want them to speak love.

I want them to speak truth.

I want them to speak blessing.

I want them to speak life.