Advent Thoughts: Why I’m Stepping Away From Facebook

Goodbye, Facebook.

I am taking a break from Facebook and Twitter for a while. It’s become something unhealthy in my life, bordering on an addiction. To be blunt, I use Facebook to hide away from real life. When things get uncomfortable, or when I just feel like escaping from what’s going on around me, Facebook is my go-to exit strategy. For a while I thought nothing of it, but after Rachel confronted me about my near-constant presence online instead of in the real world, I began to see just how bad its become.

This is going to sound horrible, but there’s no other way to say it: Facebook is a haven for my ego. I go there to feel like some kind of a rock star, to see how many people respond to my pithy comments or status updates. I go there to feel like I matter, to feel validated for being me. I go there to find my worth as a person.

In short, I go to Facebook for those things instead of to God.

That’s hard to type. It’s even harder to admit. I can justify Facebook 9,000 ways from Sunday: it’s a communications tool, it’s a platform for my writing, it’s a way to connect with people I wouldn’t otherwise connect with. And those reasons are true. They are also not the main purpose behind my use of Facebook. They are simply justifications.

I use Facebook to create a world that is safer than this one.

I use Facebook to avoid facing some pain in my past.

I use Facebook to avoid the face of a holy God who wants to do a deeper work in me.

I use Facebook to mask the fact that I still have some issues with that holy God to work out.

The thought that keeps running through my mind is found in Colossians:

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves…Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, bring born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:3, 5-10)

After talking with Rachel last night, I thought a long time about this passage, though I couldn’t call the reference to mind. The words just kept running through my head: conceit, humility, significant, equality with God, nothing, servant, humbled, obedient. I kept hearing those words over and over again and realizing that I have created a separate world where I don’t have to acknowledge them. I have created a personality online that reflects nothing of God, and instead holds up my own sense of pride.

And God’s been calling me on it. He’s been screaming at me to address the things I’ve left untended. The thoughts have been there in the forefront of my mind, and instead of giving them heed, instead of letting go and giving God the time and space He demands to work on me and my life, I’ve been running away to Facebook to hide in my world.

You ask how this is an Advent thought, we’ll consider this: Jesus didn’t run. He didn’t hide. He stepped out of a world, an existence, a state of being, that we can’t possibly fathom and entered into this filthy, savage universe we call home, and he did so not for his glory, but for the glory of the Father. And once here, Jesus embraced the discomfort of being human. He gave himself fully to the experience, tasting and knowing the pain and discomfort of being us. And he went beyond the pain and discomfort that we can know and experienced something so deep, so magnificent, that we can’t even express the idea with words: Jesus became the sin of all humanity, and the Divine Being who has existed from before time, was severed from his relationship with himself. The Son of God was cut off from the Father, and drank deeply the whole of creation’s sorrows, the whole of our sins, the whole of our evil and wickedness and depravity and cruelty. Jesus took within himself every black act that has ever poured forth from the heart of every man, woman and child, and in so doing was destroyed and ravaged and judged by the holy God himself.

This is the Savior wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. This is the God-man, come to redeem all who would call on his name. This is the love that called to me through my own depravity and sinfulness and redeemed me and gave me new life, that wept with me when my daughter died and in grace allowed me to go my own way when I refused to accept his will in her passing.

This is the One from whom I can no longer run. I cannot call myself his child if I am disobedient to his will.

I’m stepping away from Facebook because I have made myself a god within its confines. You may laugh at the language, but I assure you, whether you see it or not, that is the way it is. And it is time I followed the example of the One who drew near on that Bethlehem night and humbled myself before the God who made me. When I am right with him, perhaps I’ll be able to pick up the tool of Facebook once again. But until then, I’ll be gone from it’s portals.

I’ll still blog. I’ll still communicate with anyone who wishes to reach out to me. But you’ll have to get me through the comments here or via my email address mysterysouth(at)gmail(dot)com.

I’ve been running too long. It’s time to stop.

11 thoughts on “Advent Thoughts: Why I’m Stepping Away From Facebook

  1. Thank you for your honesty Jason! Facebook can become an idol and I see that you have recognized that fact for you! Praying for you Brother! Let God have HIS way with you!!!! HE has something awesome planned for you and Rachel!!!!
    Love you!!!!
    Linda Taffar

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  2. I think the internet in general can be very addictive. I’m not a big Facebook user, but I’ve spent way too much time online at various times in my life. In fact, I’ve been taking a break from things myself!

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    1. savesprinkles –

      The internets can be a tremendous time suck. It’s one of the most dangerous tools in the hands of mankind, and I’m not just being funny. I really mean it – it offers temptations like nothing before it, and people just let their guard down without realizing it.

      Kudos to you for taking a break. Hope it produces something positive in your life! 😉

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  3. Well said, bro. I’ve been backing off a bit too. Too often I find myself filling the down-time with this stuff. I actually thought about fasting from social media for Advent but, like you, justified not doing so for sundry reasons. But I have committed to backing off significantly. Thanks for reinforcing that instinct.

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    1. Well, your comment has been helpful to me. It will sound denigrating to your character, but knowing that a man like you has struggled similarly (though not identically, let it be noted) is helpful against some of the attacks being thrown my way the past couple of days.

      I’ve actually had to catch myself a couple of times, because I’ve said something to the effect of “Facebook is just a tool for me to master, but I’ve let it master me.” But the truth is, Facebook had no control over me; I was in full control and was using it wrongly. The accountability of putting this post out there has been tremendously helpful.

      Thanks for being part of that accountability, brother.

      Like

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