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Facebook Addict

I am a facebook addict.

I manage my addiction by justifying it.

I use it for networking. This is true. I use it to connect with people in the neighbourhood, with other children’s ministry directors, with other people who are striving to follow Christ. Indeed, my current job came to me through networking as I was invited to apply for the position when someone saw my need for work.

I use it for work. This is also true, especially as of late. I have been designing a summer youth mentorship program and I’ve used facebook to brainstorm ideas, to connect with others, to spread the word.

I use it to keep in touch with people. ‘Liking’ someone’s post is an easy way of telling someone that you noticed them – that they entered into your thought. I typically have the chat feature on and often people write me and I hear what is going on in.

But I have more work to do than I feel I have time for. It’s a little bit crazy actually. So today I did something drastic. I sent a trusted friend my login and password and had him change my password until I am done school. I cannot log in any more. I’m cut off.

And it’s been a few hours, and already, I am realizing how those justifications fail to give the full picture. Allow me to be brutally honest for a moment.

Facebook gives me the false sense that I am connected with others. I do not need to leave the safety of my bedroom to chat with people or to see what is going on in their lives. It is a low time commitment, low emotional investment, and completely under my control. If I don’t like what people have posted, I can have it removed from my “wall”. If I am done chatting with someone, I can say I have to go.

Facebook is too often my platform to share my struggles and raise support. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t share all on facebook nor do I think the support one can get through facebook is all bad. It’s just I use facebook to complain far too much. It’s easy. It’s contagious. And it’s almost competitive – look at me! Look at what i have going on in my life! I admit I’ve even looked at other people’s complaints and thought that I wish my life were that easy and simple, as if somehow my suffering trumps another.

I look to facebook, or rather facebook users, to approve of me. I take note of who and what people “like” of my postings. I thrive on encouragement. But this comes with a weakness – I also need encouragement to feel loved and discouragement, or even no encouragement, leaves me feeling unloved. Ultimately, I look to facebook to do what God alone can do.

The start of my facebook fast has made me more aware of my loneliness, discontentment and discouragement. These things were all present before the decision to have myself locked out of facebook. But my awareness is more acute, because I no longer have facebook to mask this.

Oddly enough, I am writing a paper on Matthew 16:24-26 which begins with “If anyone wants to follow me, he must deny himself”. I have been thinking of the idea of emptying oneself. But not in a way that leaves one depleted. Rather, in a way that leaves one ready for the filling of Christ. Somehow I’ve managed to let facebook (along with many other things) to fill me. Now that is taken away, I am seeing my utter need for Christ in a different way.

I am yearning.

May I, in this time of fasting, be emptied so that Christ may fill me

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