I gave up Facebook for Lent. The denomination we attend doesn’t formally participate in Lent but I thought it was a good opportunity to exercise some self control…one of the Fruits of the Spirit that I tend to struggle with most!
Facebook is by far my favorite social media. I love connecting with friends, family, and neighbors, getting to see cute pictures of my friends’ kids and read heartfelt posts about motherhood all while simultaneously keeping up with things going on at church and my boys’ school. It is the ultimate one stop shop when it comes to relationships, news, events, and more. Unfortunately, however, I found that I was spending far too much time perusing Facebook without any real purpose. I never added up the time I was spending (even though I have an app on my phone that tells me) because honestly I don’t really even want to know. Just like the calorie count on the menu at The Cheesecake Factory…ignorance is bliss! Or is it?
I started the New Year with small changes, thinking that would help me cut down on my mindless Facebook perusing. And it did for a while. I deleted the Facebook app from my iPhone so I didn’t have it accessible every moment on the day. I blocked Facebook for certain time periods while I was working online. But I knew that to see real improvement in my time wasted, I would have to quit cold turkey. When Ash Wednesday rolled around this year, I figured it presented the perfect opportunity to practice a bit of self control. Although I kept my blog profile/page page, I completely deactivated my personal Facebook and didn’t cheat a single time in almost 6 weeks.
Here are a few things I learned through my 6-week Facebook Fast:
1. I spend way less money when I am not on Facebook. Facebook marketing has gotten good and I found myself frequently clicking on ads for clothing and random Amazon products far too often. I didn’t bought a single piece of clothing for myself during the 6 weeks I was off Facebook because I was not constantly tempted to look.
2. I like the people in my life more when I don’t know their opinion on every little thing. When you have real-life relationships, most of the time you don’t where someone stands on every issue from the get-go. You get to know their personality and appreciate that person for who he/she is and the friendship you share. Slowly, as the friendship progresses, you open yourself up to discussion more “hot button” issues. When you are “friends” on Facebook, however, sometimes you see their strong opinions on hot button issues first without knowing their heart. That is a backwards way to do relationships, in my opinion. Although I don’t agree with my real-life friends on every issue (and in fact disagree quite a bit with some), I appreciate and respect who they are and see that our differences actually make us even better friends!
3. I have more time to read. I read nine books during the nearly 6 weeks I was off Facebook! That is more than a book every week! Considering the fact that I have constantly complained about “not having enough time to read” before my little experiment, I think this settles the question of what the biggest time suck in my life is! I have never read as much in my adult life as I have over the last several weeks and it has reignited my passion for reading!
4. I am more content with myself and my life. I never really thought I had a problem with jealousy or envy but every now and again, I would feel that tiny green monster rear its ugly head whenever seeing certain things on Facebook. Whether it was comparing my size/hair color/wrinkles/clothes to someone else and suddenly feeling less-than or seeing pictures from someone’s 5-star vacation, I started to become convicted that this comparison game was not good for me. Thankfully, my 6-weeks off Facebook gave me a much-needed reprieve from comparing every one else’s best versions of themselves to my very imperfect self.
5. I am more patient with my kids. Because I had more extra time on my hands, I did not feel like I was always scrambling around trying to get things done. Life was more peaceful and I was able to be more present with my kids — which was the ultimate goal for this little experiment!
Here is the ONE negative thing that happened in my 6-weeks off Facebook:
I missed a super awesome discount on a season pass for a zoo 30-minutes away from my house (that I will rarely go to anyway…especially since I already have a family membership to a different zoo). And I missed seeing some cute pictures of my friends’ kids!
Yep, that is it. The only negative experience of NOT being on Facebook for 6 weeks.
Now that Lent is over, you might be wondering whether I chose to stay off of Facebook permanently or not. The answer isn’t an easy one…I am currently back on mainly for the purpose of pictures. Ever since my oldest child was born, I have uploaded all of our family favorites into Facebook photo albums. It is the easiest and quickest way for me to quickly find pictures from specific dates in a pinch. The thought of having to move all of my pictures to a different storage site is really overwhelming to me.
I do, however, seem to have a much better balance now that I have broken the addiction to mindlessly scrolling my Facebook feed. I do not have the Facebook app on my phone and I try to only check my personal profile at certain times of the day. I will not hesitate to take another break, however, if I feel like it is becoming an addiction again.
How about you? Have you ever given up Facebook (for good or for a period of time)???