Monday, April 23, 2012


I gave up Facebook.

Pick your jaw up off the floor.

I'll give you a minute... Still waiting.

If you know me very well, you'll know that giving up Facebook is a big deal for me, and not an easy change - at least I didn't think it would be. I had plenty of arguments for the social media naysayers, reminding them how it's a great tool to stay in touch, useful for ministry, and for getting the word out about stuff or finding out what's going on with my friends. And I pretty much still think that it's very useful for those things. So lest you think I'm giving in on those arguments, allow me to clarify. It's not Facebook that is the issue, but only that I have allowed Facebook to become a harmful distraction in my life.

I've been doing some thinking - and yes it's painful. And I'm still in process on that thinking. But I thought I'd share that process with you.

I'm an addict... not to alcoholic beverages or nicotine, but to anything that will distract me from real life. And usually my drug of choice has been Facebook and its associated games and activities. I was picky. I refused to accept just any old game request, for fear I'd become addicted to that... but I still got sucked in.

Finally, two weeks, one day, 20 hours, and 19 minutes ago, I quit. Cold turkey. "Hi, my name is Cora, and I'm a Facebook addict." But if you pin me down on what brought me to the point that I knew I needed to quit (and even if you DON'T pin me down, I'm about to tell you anyway)...

I began to realize how much of life I'd been missing out on because of that time-sucker. The chance to listen to a sermon, clean our house, work in the yard, pray for friends or family, read, write letters, talk on the phone... but most of all, I feel like I'd missed out on the chance to sit at Jesus' feet, and listen to the Holy Spirit in his moment-by-moment leading. I can't tell you how often I would sit down to work on our budget (which I like to do on the computer), and would look up three hours later, realizing that I had opened maybe one file that I needed, but had spent 2.75 of those hours on social media. Or I got up in the morning, checked my email, intending to get right into the kitchen table to spend time reading God's Word, and would be alerted hours later that I had 15 minutes to get to my next appointment, so would scramble to shut down Facebook and get to my destination. I had missed out on another opportunity to hear the richness of God's voice through the discipline of reading His Word. Or I knew that I needed to make an effort to connect with my neighbors on His behalf, but the window of opportunity was gone by the time I was done "connecting" with my "friends". Seemingly all efforts at self-discipline had failed.

If you're not getting this, this isn't a rant on Facebook. It's a rant on my favorite distraction from what God has for me RIGHT NOW. Most obviously that's been Facebook lately, but that's not the only tool I have for ignoring God's voice... or my housework. I can just as easily plug in to TV. Or sudoku. Or Bubble Blaster. Or organizing my week but not actually DOING anything about it. Or...

Really the list is endless of the things I can find to distract me from the conviction of the Holy Spirit. And when it comes down to it, it's a matter of self-discipline - one of the fruits of the Spirit - fruit that hasn't been harvested nearly enough in my life lately. I always admire the self-discipline of some of the mature Christians I know. But I also know that it didn't just happen. It's a continual process, seeking to put one more "department" of my life in the control of the Holy Spirit, not my flesh (Romans 8).

So, I ask myself now... "What is God telling me to do that I'm not doing right now?" James reminds me in the Holy Spirit's power and conviction: "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin..." (James 4:17) Facebook isn't a sin. Sudoku isn't a sin. But not doing the things I know I need to be doing IS sin.

As I look at the lengthy list of stuff that would be good to do, and know I want to do them, I sometimes get overwhelmed. For me, it's usually at that point that I go find a game to play, or visit with friends on Facebook, avoiding it all. I have to temper my frustration at not getting it ALL done right now, as I can only do what God gives me strength, time, and conviction to do. But I can't hide from it all in Facebook, avoiding doing ANYTHING, because He HAS "...given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness," (2 Peter 1:3).

Something that really stuck with me the other day (though I regretfully can't remember the source) is this: He has given me all the time I need to do the things that HE has for me to do. Which leads to the next question to ask myself. Is my to-do list filled with the things that I want to do, or does my to-do list match up with HIS to-do list FOR me? How does YOUR to-do list match up?

As my pastors have always told me, "you only do what you WANT to do". At first that caught me off guard ("What about that verse where Paul says that what he wants to do, he DOESN'T do?") But the reality of it is, that my sin nature is usually governing my "Want TO" list. One evidence of true and deep love is to WANT to do what the other person (in this case, the GOD of the Universe) wants to do."If you love me, you will keep my commands." (John 14:15). The more I think of the sacrifice Jesus made, in dying a gruesome death to pay the price of my sins, the more I love Him. And the more I love Him, the more I want what HE wants.

How do I KNOW what His to-do list is for me? It starts by making sure that the VERY top of my list is to actually spend time with Him, learning His nature, talking to Him, listening to Him, getting to know Him. I marvel at how my husband knows me so well. The more time I spend with Duane, the more we can finish each other's sentences, or know each other's likes or dislikes. How much more do I want to spend time with my King so I can formulate my own to-do list according to what I know of HIS to-do list!

If you've made it THIS far in reading, I'm grateful! But I would be even more grateful if you would pause right now and pray for me as I seek to fight the fight on a daily basis. As I listened to a John Piper sermon the other day, I was challenged yet again with the vital fight for victory over sin, lest it overcome me. There are no days off in THIS war. And there is no room for distractions - Facebook or otherwise.

I may occasionally appear on Facebook again, as it indeed has its benefits (I'll probably even go on long enough to post a link to this blog on my page!). But prayerfully, it will not be a distraction from serving the King of Kings, under the moment-by-moment guidance and conviction of the Holy Spirit.

What is your first step TODAY in the fight to be governed by the Spirit's leading?

No comments:

Post a Comment