Going Dark – My Experience of Being Off Facebook

stepsToTake_unplug  Those of you who read my first blog post: “God Rejoices Over You with Singing” (https://debdebbarak.wordpress.com/2016/08/17/god-rejoices-over-you-with-singing-finding-self-worth-and-self-esteem-solely-in-christ/) will already have some idea of what I am going to be sharing in this post.

For those of you who haven’t had the opportunity to peruse it, I will explain a bit here.  Basically, I deleted my Facebook for a short time because I needed to re-focus on my relationship with Christ with minimal distractions.  I realized that as amazing as Facebook can be, as helpful, as convenient, as fast, and efficient – it was causing me to stumble.  Or at least I thought it was.  I truly believed that limiting my exposure to so-called “triggering” events was somehow going to shape my internal image and remind me of my worth in Christ…but ultimately I learned that unless I was willing to put forth an effort in my spiritual life, it was a rather pointless exercise.

Don’t get me wrong, a lot of good has come out of taking myself off Facebook.  For one, I was able to get quite a bit of writing done.  If you read my blogs, you will know that I published 9 blogs while offline and have several more scheduled for the near future.  I’m sure this has made my fellow MennoNerds very happy!  Not only have I had a the chance to increase my blogging presence, but I also had quite a few moments of quiet reflection and journaling on my own.  It also boosted my self-esteem somewhat to know that people missed my status updates and it was touching that my friends sent me text messages and emails to make sure everything was alright (thanks, guys!).  It also showed me how although it’s usually easiest to reach someone by Facebook, your real friends will find all sorts of ways to keep in touch.  Nevertheless, it also taught me a few other important lessons:

  • Like I mentioned in my previous blog, henceforth called “GROYWS” taking myself off Facebook didn’t necessarily give me any more free moments in my day, instead, my time-wasting efforts were just shifted into other tasks. CF: the fact that I added about 10 game apps to my phone when previously I had none.  However, I can at least justify this somewhat by saying that some of those apps have actually started developing some good habits in me (for example: I have a work-out game app and I am starting to learn Polish and Hungarian, and I have also been working on improving my French and have been surprised at how much I still remember from high school).  Nevertheless, I have to admit that playing Candy Crush and Panda Pop probably are not really all that much better than mindlessly scrolling Facebook in the end of the day.
  • In a moment of vulnerability, just like I mentioned in GROYWS, deleting my Facebook did not take away that gnawing sense of anxiety or that stifling fear of insecurity. I talked to a few of my really good friends during this whole process.  It wasn’t so much like “rehab therapy” because to be honest, I didn’t find I missed Facebook as much as I thought I would.  But it was more about getting to the core issue – the real reason Facebook was affecting me so much.  I mentioned to them, and I will share openly now, that getting rid of Facebook was really just like treating the symptoms without getting to the root cause.  But thankfully, it allowed me to at least start thinking about what the root cause was.  In this case, I realized that my insecurity didn’t just come from scrolling feeds, but it came from my inability to see myself the way Christ sees me.  It came from my lack of discipline in reading the Scriptures and in spending time in prayer asking God to form me and show me a healthier way of viewing myself.  To combat this problem, I’ve made a few changes in my life, which I can also recommend to you here:

* The only way you will ever get over your sense of insecurity or people-pleasing and stop worrying about how others view you is if you make the conscious decision to care more about Christ’s opinions than the world’s. And the only way you can learn what Christ actually thinks is if you spend time with Him and ask Him.  So that’s what I’ve been trying to do.  When I finally was able to tear myself away from any kind of screen, it gave me the ability to go out and actually spend some time praying in nature which is what I love best.  It was then that I learned how great God’s love for me (and for all of us) really is and that He really and truly does REJOICE OVER US WITH SINGING!  More practically, I’ve added a few apps to my phone which might also help you.  Once again, realizing that adding apps DOES admittedly cause me more “screen-time,” but also knowing that without my daily notifications and the fact that it’s on my phone anyways, I wouldn’t be doing it as much as I have.

I have one app called “Daughters of the King.”  Ladies, if you are struggling with the same types of issues I mentioned above: with low self-esteem, lack of self-worth, identity disorientation, or constant and chronic comparison syndrome, this is just the app for you.   Every day, I get to read a new short devotional that is especially geared at women.  It’s super encouraging and relevant, but it doesn’t read like one of those self-help books or like a motivational speech.  Instead, it’s deeply rooted in Biblical truths – it’s about adjusting our perception of ourselves.  Additionally, there’s another add-on to this app called “Who You Are in Christ” it’s 7 minutes of pure awesomeness!  I usually put it on and let it play right before bed letting these words of truth and wisdom seep over my soul to destroy the lies of the Evil One.  Once again, it is incredibly Biblically rooted, and in fact, is not so much of a sermon, but literally repeating verse and verse of words that God speaks directly into our situation.  Here’s a little excerpt from Who You Are in Christ that I find particularly helpful and that sums up my experience with this little app: “It is important that you know who you are in Christ.  If you are going to accomplish anything in the earth for God’s glory, it will first begin with you knowing who you are.  Be blessed as you listen to Scriptures from God’s Word that will give you clear understanding into your identity.”  If you’d like some more information on this app, you can check it out here: http://www.dot-k.com/. ***SEE BOTTOM OF POST***

I have also added the Bible to my phone.  This is something that the majority of my friends have done, but that admittedly I never thought of doing until just now.  You can add any Bible version of your choice, but I chose to add Eugene Peterson’s The Message to mine.  I know that The Message has long been fraught with controversy and to be honest, I am eventually planning to do a theological study on it (so that blog will be up in about a year or so), but The Message is not all bad.  If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that I studied theology, so when I read most versions I all of a sudden go into some sort of “hyper-nerd” function.  With The Message I actually get the liberty of sitting back and letting the Gospel story unfold as a narrative.  I don’t have that same urge to contextualize everything or to go into some lengthy discussion about historical criticism.  Previously, I was really struggling with my Bible reading (a terrible, terrible admission to make as a pastor – I know!!) but reading a whole new version has really been helping me out in that regard.  So it definitely hasn’t all been bad.

  • Lastly, being off Facebook has caused me to re-think a lot of what I post online. Sure, I know that for the most part I try to post uplifting and helpful comments.  I try to stay away from all that vulgar rubbish – you know, sexual jokes, mean sayings, and crass language, but being off Facebook has made me think about many other “more innocent” things I have posted in recently weeks which quite frankly have basically been a waste of time.  It’s also made me think about what I subject my mind to.  Yes, I have many friends who post WONDERFUL things on their walls that are very helpful to me.  I enjoy reading Bible verses, testimonies, even (okay fine… I’ll be honest…ESPECIALLY) theological rants.  I enjoy seeing pictures of weddings, babies, and baptisms.  BUT I was also subjecting myself (consciously or unconsciously) to a number of other things that get posted up.  Stuff that my parents would probably cringe at or things I know my church (and God) wouldn’t approve of.  It’s not because I was intentionally going to seek that stuff out…it’s just that…well, it was on my newsfeed, I was scrolling down, and it hit me like a bombshell.  Things I thought I was long over, temptations I thought I was long past, were welling up in my soul.  I take full ownership and responsibility for that.  As a mature Christian, I shouldn’t have been at that juvenile stage in my faith walk, but at the same time, I realize what a blazing inferno such things can create.  Now that I’m back on, I realize that perhaps what I needed to do was hide some of those statuses all along.

Don’t get me wrong, Facebook is an absolutely wonderful innovation and I am so glad to be back on!  It’s going to be super helpful in connecting with my friends, getting caught up with family, and talking to people a world over.  It’s also a much more effective way of promoting my writing and blogs (but hey, if you missed any of them while I was away, feel free to scroll through Z&P, everything’s still here!).  But ultimately, it was good for me to take a break.  Submitting to the Lordship of Christ means being willing to make these kinds of sacrifices because in the end of the day, it’s going to make you a way better and stronger person.  I hope you all continue to enjoy Facebook for what it can be – that brilliant people-connector, community-builder, and spiritual initiator, but always keep this in the back of your mind: if Facebook causes you to stumble, disable it.  Get right with God, and what you post on your feed will reflect that new found desire to follow Him.

***P.S.. Speaking of affirmations, here is one of the devotionals I read from Daughters of the King on August 21st that really spoke truth into my life.  It’s important for us to speak and declare words of truth over our lives and over our situation understanding how Christ sees us despite worldly pressures to believe otherwise.  I created a list of affirmations about a year ago that I read daily.  I also encourage you to create your own individual personalized affirmations rooted in Scripture because it is always more meaningful and speaks more deeply when we come to those realizations ourselves rather than just someone stating them for us.  However, if you are having a difficult time knowing where to start or if you’re not much of a writer, here is a great springboard to give you some ideas because it basically has all of the key elements for what you would include in such a list:

Know Who You Are

“But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”
1 Corinthians 15:10

You are not your past. You are not your failures. You are not your state. You are a daughter of the King. You already know who God is, now be reminded today of who you are in Him. Declare this today:

I am smart. I am important. I am a world changer. I am brave and courageous. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am beautiful. I am called by God to do great things. I am strong. I melt in His presence, yet stand strong in the face of adversity. I can’t stop running because Jesus didn’t stop for me. I am a finisher. I am the right woman for the job. I am a winner. I am so loved. I am richly blessed. I am rooted and grounded. I am abundantly graced. I am my brother and sister’s keeper. I am empowered to lead. I am an overcomer. I am more than a conqueror through Jesus. Greater is He that is in me than he that’s in the world. I am a daughter of the King no matter how I feel. No matter how it looks I will see His promises manifested in my life. I am patient and kind. I am truthful. I am hidden in Christ. I am an end time soldier in His army. I was born for such a time as this. I have what it takes. I am resourceful. I am wise. I wear God’s grace beautifully. I am who God says I am and I will do what He says I will do.

Prayer: Father, help me stay reminded of who I am in You. Help me not to let my problems define me. You define me, Lord. You are my God and I belong to You. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Post taken from: http://www.dot-k.com/know-who-you-are-4/  Author unknown

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