You hear all this stuff about how bad Facebook is for you. All the screen time and social media and blah blah blah blah blah. I typically write off all the articles Boomers post about what Millennials do being bad for you. Of course we have shorter attention spans, we have more stuff to do. But I started thinking about this Facebook thing. Is it bad for me? What affect (I have given up on using affect or effect correctly, don’t @ me) does it have on my mental health? Only one way to find out, I took Facebook off of my phone, and replaced it with my Bible app instead. And then carefully logged my experiences through February to see if it helped.
I realized almost immediately, I have a nasty habit of checking my phone when I have a moment of silence or time to myself. Typically Facebook would be the go-to app when I did that. Deleting Facebook made me realize exactly how rampant that was. I pull my phone out of my pocket 50+ times a day. Easily. Nothing in the whole entire planet gets my attention 100 times a day. That matters. That’s a meaningful amount of ware and tear on my brain. I think it should come as no surprise that early on in the experiment I went to click on my FB app, hit the bible app instead, and it said:
I am certainly not on the “Facebook is evil” bus. But I have to admit, like all things from this world, it needs moderation and can spiral out of control in ways I don’t think I had originally anticipated. My day could be broke or made by how many likes I got on a GAMENOTES instead of me judging the quality of the writing itself. I would write a love note to my wife and feel like I needed to post it on Facebook so everyone can see how much I love my wife, as opposed to letting my wife know I love her. I lost the need to check up on my friends and family because I felt as if liking their status was enough to show I cared. And a lot of crap hit my eyes in between all that. You know, the not-holy, not-commendable, not-pure type of things that tend to be on the internet.
Ignoring the bible elements that I dove into during this challenge (I’ll come back to that in a minute) I think I settled my original question. Is Facebook bad for me? No. I think it’s my use of the smartphone instead (or rather how I use my smartphone). Because after I got out of the habit of checking Facebook, I broke in to new habits instead. Reddit and Twitter and Snapchat and Instagram suddenly got my attention more often.
The fact is, I never allow myself to be alone with my thoughts (or God). Music in the car. Video games when I am alone. My phone in the bathroom. My switch when I am at Biolife. Conversation when I am with others. Work when I am at work. And my social media for all the moments in between. I pretty much only have that eight second window from when my head hits the pillow and when I fall asleep to be alone with my thoughts. And normally during those eight seconds I am thinking, why am I not asleep yet?
Believer or not, I think those moments of silence are moments in which you can improve yourself. I think the stuff that comes to your mind when it is just you and your thoughts are often the truth you need to face, or the fears you need to overcome, or the urging of the Holy Spirit you need to hear. I think the younger generation has taken a great many of steps to make sure those thoughts are muted. I am nowhere near where I want to be with all of this, but I can start with what I just wrote above, I have identified the problem. Is the solution to get rid of my smartphone? Not sure on the course of correction yet.
One last thing about this whole experience.
Because I was being so mindful about my Bible reading and my internal monologue I was very attuned to how I was feeling and what I felt like the Holy Spirit was trying to lay on my heart. And the message was explicitly clear.
Pastor Grabill talked about taking the next steps as a Christian and one of them was Experience the Presence of God. Besides Sundays, how often was I really doing that? I am taking measures every second of my life to make sure I had no time for that! I let the voices of others get into my head daily, from the internet, social media, TV, news, co-workers, and was combating that only with the occasional Bible reading and Sunday morning service. My time in Galatians was chocked full of messages that feel like they are aimed for the modern day church, and me.
I need to live a more active life in my Christianity.
I have become a believer in the gospel of “Facebook”. I was entirely convicted by Galatians 5 which urges us to walk in the Spirit, and not gratify the desires of the flesh. And reminded that my walk with Christ is a battle I need to actively be fighting, as opposed to a joy ride I can return to when convenient. During this process I found that instead, the more time I spend with Jesus, the more time I want to spend with Jesus… Sorry, I’m wandering all around now!
I don’t think Facebook or Smart Phones are evil, I just think the devil will use anything we idolize to get our eyes off God. I’m going to keep trying to improve myself on all this, but next time you see me, I’ll probably be checking my phone.
(Written on my phone and posted to Facebook. Lol)