Last Thanksgiving I decided I was pulling the plug on Facebook for awhile. The holidays were underway and I thought, for my own sanity’s sake, that I didn’t really want to see all the picture-perfect photos of everyone’s picture-perfect celebrations when there were still occasional days in our house where my child’s depression won, and everyone would fall apart, like a domino run, one after the other. Obviously, the election played a part in my decision, too, but at the time my choice was less politically motivated and more out of self-care. I had enough on my plate without having my nose rubbed in everyone else’s apparent happiness. Our days were improving, and I wanted to enjoy that to the fullest, instead of getting pulled into the comparison trap.
I still logged in once each morning to clean up notifications and to check the “Your Memories on Facebook” page. As a homeschooling mama, I belong to a ridiculous number of groups, who are always hosting a ridiculous number of events; I did feel the need to check in occasionally there. And as someone who tends to use FB to chronicle the fairly mundane day-to-day life taking place under our roof, the memories were wonderful to look through and laugh at and sometimes share with the kids (and to remind myself that happiness wasn’t always this tenuous).
No news feed. No sorting by most recent. No so-and-so liked this or so-and-so shared this or random ads for….why would you think I’d want an ad for this?
Can I tell you something? It’s been really pleasant.
Fast-forward to now, about three months later. As I’m reading in Psalms, I come across verse 14 in Psalm 34: “Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.” I stopped to really consider those words, and it occurred to me that they summed up what had been happening over this past accumulation of weeks.
Depart from evil. No, I’m not saying Facebook is evil. But the feelings that get stirred up in me, from the political posts or the comments or the “shares” that haven’t been fact-checked; or the envy that crops up when I see someone else doing or getting something wonderful…..those feelings can be pretty ugly. And I’ve been gradually leaving those behind.
Do good. Guess what? When you aren’t sitting and scrolling through your news feed constantly, you can get more done. Add that to how much better I feel since I’ve left, and more of what is “getting done” is full of good. (Please also note: “getting done,” with a three-year-old in the house, sometimes looks like “playing kitty dollhouse.” That’s allowed. I’m not talking about business productivity here.)
Seek peace and pursue it. That’s exactly why I left in the first place. Facebook did nothing to help my peace. All it did, in various ways, was stir up stress and anxiousness in me. It’s not in the business of creating peace; that’s not its job. (Now, that’s an interesting question: what exactly is its job?) Turning away from it has helped increase my peace dramatically, and allowed me to pursue things that contribute to peace even more.
Let’s be honest….now more than ever we are a people in need of peace.