I think the first admission that I spent too much time on Facebook was made about three years ago over coffee with some girlfriends. I felt the trouble then--maybe it was from staying up late, or thinking too much about other people's lives, or maybe just hand cramps from thumbing the news feed on my phone. But however my problem came to the surface, it would rise, and then diminish, or be dismissed, or laughingly excused. I'd even subtly ask for prayer about it, knowing that there is something spiritually unhealthy at the heart of my habit. Unlike looking at pornography or drinking too much alcohol, media binging is an "acceptable addiction" and consequently help is hard to come by. So for these several years, no matter how many times I signed out, or took a break, or deleted the app from my phone, or tried my darndest to manage my habit, I kept reaping the rotten fruit of this social-media addiction. There was grumpiness from staying up late, guilt for being so distracted that I neglected important things, relational problems because I always had a phone in my face with a need check my Facebook or update my status. The status wasn't good.
But still, the longer I stared at the lowercase "f" the less I could see my way out of it. Mostly because Facebook isn't the root of all evil; social media is not a sin. Scrolling a news feed is, for the most part, morally neutral. In fact, a lot of good can come from Facebook, and that's what kept me sitting in that hot tub. Surely I read a lot of good articles and links from the things friends shared, and did my share of sharing good, too. And what harm is there in posting pictures of my darling children? Or that funny thing that will make everyone laugh? Or the viral deep-thinking article that all my friends "liked"? But it seems like other friends could dip in for a few moments and move on, I couldn't. You know there's a limit to how long one should sit in a nice warm hot tub, and I over-stayed my limit, often. It wasn't good for my heart no matter how many of my friends were having a fine time in there. Unlike others, my addictive personality doesn't help me do things in moderation...I had to get out.
So as hard as it was to leave the place where most of my dear family and friends were congregating and sharing life, for the sake of my own well-being, I faced the "deactivate" button, and clicked.
What happened in that tunnel of light on my computer screen will be described in a blog to follow...