The Beginning of the End
It all started on a beautiful day in October. I was in the suburban with my husband and our 2 month old baby, on our way to our first destination on a little getaway for our 5th anniversary. We were listening to Kirk Cameron on Focus on the Family as we sped along the thruway in the bright, autumnal sunshine. Little did I know the conviction I was racing towards.
Kirk, along with his wife, Lisa, was talking about protecting your marriage, and he got real personal with an illustration. He began describing ‘another woman’ who entered his life and began pulling him away from his marriage. He talked about how much fun he had when he was with her, how much affirmation he got from the relationship, and how it began to take more and more of his time. Then he got to where he was going to reveal the woman’s name – and I was like, ‘whoa! he’s gonna do this on a national radio program?!’
The woman’s name was ‘the Church’. Suddenly it all made sense, and suddenly it was all too close to home. Because all the details of Kirk’s affair with serving the Church matched an affair I was having with…Facebook.
Admitting The Truth
I knew my computer time was out of control. Not badly, I told myself, but I had to admit it was stealing from other things that were more important to me. Like, time with my kids, time for creativity in the studio, time for connecting in real, beyond-surface-level relationships, and time with my husband.
Suddenly I remembered my Bible reading that morning. I remembered my inner rebellion as I turned to the ‘Proverb of the day’ and realized, it being the 7th, that I’d have to read through the chapter that never seemed applicable to me – you know the one about the adulterous woman seducing the young man ‘void of understanding’. I remember asking the Lord, “why do I have to read this again? I never get anything out of it! It’s a warning for guys!” I may have even skimmed…or skipped Proverbs 7 and gone onto the psalms. (I don’t remember that part).
Right then, in my seat in the car, I heard – rather too loudly to ignore – the Spirit telling me to read that Proverb again, this time comparing the young man’s temptation to sin with the adulterous woman to my own temptation to waste time on facebook. I resolved to do just that when we got to our hotel room.
We were out late that night, and I didn’t get a chance to read my Bible that evening, but the Lord made sure I didn’t forget the lesson He was trying to teach me. He gave me a dream that very night in the hotel room that scared my socks off and made me unable to forget that this was an area I needed to address and now. I won’t go into the details of the dream (you know how dreams are – hard to explain and lots of details that are only significant to the dreamer) but I will tell you it was one of those dreams – I’ve only had about a half dozen of them – that you will remember the rest of your life ’cause you know they MEAN something.
Here’s what the dream said to me, taken from my journal –
“FB is a threat to my marriage, just as dangerous as an adulterous relationship. It is invading private and sacred places and time, stealing what is most precious to me – quality time with my husband. Logging into fb is like leaving the door open to temptation – it wastes time and distracts me from what is most important. There are small benefits to fb, but the risks of wasting time outweigh those benefits. Trying to use fb as a platform to minister from is still exposing me to too much chance of distraction and time wasting.”
Between the radio program, the Proverb, the dream, and a conversation with a friend who had done the same, I resolved that I was going to take a month off facebook. I had heard of other people doing this, and thought it was cool – for them. Suddenly I realized it was crucial for me to make the same tough decision or I would be in danger of permanently damaging my relationship with my husband and many other things that I held dear.
You may ask – if my addiction was so bad, why hadn’t I done something sooner? Why did it take a whole string of ‘coincidental circumstances’ that weekend to get my attention and tell me it was time to reassess? Because, people, I had justified and excused my facebook time over and over. Here were some of my excuses. I’m sharing all this and being painfully honest because I know I’m not the only one out there who has struggled with managing their time online. I just hope your excuses are better than mine, because mine were lame:
- “I’m not like some people – I don’t post my status every hour!”
- “I’m not wasting my time – I don’t play Bejeweled or answer those silly quiz questions!”
- “I’ve gotten in touch with people I wouldn’t have been able to contact otherwise!”
- “I use facebook to reach out and encourage other people!”
- “I’m a stay-at-home-mom of toddlers who needs this social interaction with adults or I’ll go insane!”
Any of those sound familiar? I thought so. However we justify our facebook time, I know that most of us could use a little more discipline in that area. But the motivation to take control of this area of your life may still be lacking enough gumption to get you off your duff. So in my next post on the subject, I’m gonna share the 4 things I learned from my Facebook Fast (that way you don’t have to do one, you can just get the benefits!)
Meanwhile, I’d encourage you to take stock of the time you spend online. Are you controlling it or is it controlling you? Are YOU addicted to facebook, or some other site online? Is your computer time stealing from other things that are more important to you?