Wednesday, April 11, 2012

On My 40 Day Break from Facebook

During the week leading up until Lent, I was feeling very Internet-fried.  That usually happens to me this time of year...too much input/inspiration and needing more quiet, more nature, more simplicity.  So it became a rather easy decision on the Tuesday before Lent to realize that I needed to give up Facebook.

Now, I had never done any kind of "fast" like this before.  And I had been on Facebook almost daily for 4 years.  That is a serious habit.  The first two or three days I was twitchy and actually would have a "news feed" scroll through my brain with the full names of girlfriends going, going, going.  It was nuts. I thought that I had probably screwed my brain up from social media! LOL!

In that first week I got SO much done around my house that it was shocking.  Lots more cleaning and clearing and to-do lists done. It's as if I had all this free time on my hands. Was my time on Facebook really keeping me from doing necessities around my home?! Was I blinded to how much time it was really distracting me from more important duties?

I also noticed very quickly how blessed soul-peace came.  No more reading other people's drama, their jokes, their political rants, or complaining.  I couldn't believe how much negativity I was feeding on by reading status updates.  I was surprised to notice how much of my mental energy was focused on others instead of on the children right in front of me.  Even being present with my children in body didn't mean that my heart and mind were with them.  My heart and mind were usually pondering somebody else's issues posted on Facebook. Pretty sobering.

Then I began listing the things that I was getting done without Facebook in my life.  Whenever we say "no" to something, then we are saying "yes" to something else. With saying "no" to Facebook I was saying "yes" to:
  • Starting a simple prayer plan.  I set my iPhone to ring chime reminders at 9am, noon and 3pm to pray.  I pray the Lord's Prayer, Psalm 23, Psalm 117 and for my marriage, my parenting, gratitude, my children and the Compassion children we sponsor.  I fail at following through every time, but it's wonderful to replace chronic Facebook-checking with checking-in with Jesus.
  • Engaging my children in conversations/ being with them in body and mind.  Amazing.
  • Reading my children many more books
  • Reading books for myself
  • Getting outside with my children.  Lying on the grass. Hanging out on the trampoline. Playing games.
  • Journaling
  • Setting up coffee dates with friends.  Since I realized that I wasn't seeing what people were up to, it became natural to begin initiating more coffee and real-life conversations.  Beautiful.
  • Running
  • Gardening
  • Cleaning
  • Organizing
  • Taking photos and posting them on Instagram (a much friendlier and smaller social media venue)
In the end, I have a much lighter spirit, a more focused heart on the Lord, Mike and my children, less agitation/mind clutter, greater intention in building face-to-face friendships that truly feed me, and more work done around my home. Pretty good trade-off! 

I am now back "on" Facebook, but it will be limited.  It's just not worth my time.  I feel as if it is needed in some ways to find out about social events and many people use it as a form of email now.  I will use those good things well and check in with friends I love, but leave the mindless scrolling and reading behind.  There are too many other adventures to be had with my "friends" who live right here in my home.  Their hearts and their "updates" are what I need to be checking in on.  

Lord, give the grace to make it so.


Julia Moya said...

I got off facebook for good and am so happy with the decision! It really has blessed my soul to see what I was missing and just how much I got done. It has definitely proved a good move for this mama!

Betty said...

I love this Aimee! Did you also fast from blogs? I often check FB on my phone while nursing the baby. I wonder, though, if even that is too much. I do find a way to check back in between during the day. I also have the blogs I read on the reader and it helps but there's always something to read so I seldom get to a real book. Praying about all this lately.

Tanya said...

I got off Facebook years ago for Lent and it was awesome. I spent so much more time doing valuable things. I'm back on now just because I wanted a Pintrest account and our local homeschool group is only on Facebook. But I don't accept friend requests except for my's great!

Julia said...

What a wonderful post...and it really reminds me how important it is to balance everything! Thank you for the great insight.


ginanorma said...

Really really liked readying this aimee, oh what you discovered, HOW beautiful, you basically discovered a "real" thing, real time, how it "use" to be without all this media, and internet frenzy surrounding can gobble us UP.

I commend you for giving it a whirl and admire you new boundaries...AND I might just have to give this a try soon...
because after all, being present with another human and/or God is the best thing in the world.

Pelly said...

This was the nudge i needed to remind me that I need to take a big step back. All you said was good stuff. It reminded me of a book I read awhile back called The Church of Facebook. After reading it I took a similiar break... and then came back with boundaries in my schedule. but with it accessible on my phone constantly, it's been a constant go-to lately. I have blocked in on my phone and will only be using it when I am working during the day. Thanks!

Andrea said...

ooh. so good. i love it. really enjoyed reading this!

Love.Peace.Happiness said...

I found your blog through looking at anothers! I love you blog; especially this one! Ive been struggling with the same thing of being on Facebook too much! I bought the book; Margin through your recommendation! I just started reading it! :) Thank you for your inspiration! P.S. Your handwriting is soo cool!

Rachel Hauser said...

Yay, Aimee! This is a wonderful post to see. I love that you landed on more relationships-interfacing in real life. Isn't that where we all want it most? Blessings!

Courtney said...

Bravo! Love this and now i am inspired to do the same!

Missy K said...

Aimee, I am back almost a week after you posted this when I could finally give your post the attention it deserves. Thanks so much for being honest about the effects FB was having on you and the specific benefits you gained from being away from it.

I have had periods when I have de-activated FB, and once even deleted my account, but I have found that it is the only way some people or organizations connect. But I am always on the lookout for how to use it more wisely.

One takeaway I have from your post is the reminder that in the world of ideas, in relationships, in life, I want depth over breadth. How can my internet practice feed this desire, and perhaps more importantly, how does it detract from it?


tonia said...

Great post, Aimee. I find FB the least enjoyable of all social media. And now, I can't even bear to pull it up...I can't stand all the drama/complaining/nonsense, etc. (I've contributed to it all in my time!) So I'll keep the account for contact purposes, but I'm not reading there. Waste. of. time. Now Pinterest....that's another story. :)

Alicia said...

Aimee, I've been struggling so much with whether or not I should dive into facebook. My literary agent says I must, my friends all say I'm missing it, but I read your post and feel like you're speaking to my fears.. what if I get on facebook and lose precious time with the faces in my real world? How can a mom of 5 spare more minutes on the internet? I'm still grappling with the whole issue, but I am so glad I found your post today. I actually posted on my blog today a beautiful tip from you that was in Ann Kroeker's book, Not so FAst. I've shared your "pretty plate" philosphy with thousands of women over the years in my speaking ministry. Thank you for the wisdom you share. Blessings to you, dear sister in Christ.

Kimberly said...

I dropped my personal and my blog FB accounts a few weeks ago. Can't say I miss it. It was hard at first.

I would like to keep in touch with a few people and am not sure how to make that happen. Maybe an alias I only give out to a few others...I don't know.

Anonymous said...

I've done the same thing! I realized that I really don't care about what people are doing each minute of the day. I still get on FB once a day to check messages or see my loved one's pictures, but I am limiting it to once a day and about 30 minutes or less. My mind also feels less cluttered with other people's thoughts!
Valerie in SC

really.truly said...

Found you through a friend....this post was fabulous!!
Just added you to my reader :)

Jill said...

I don't know how I found your blog, but I'm loving your single-minded focus. Clearly he has made you an intense, made-to-worship gal. I also deleted my FCBK acct and learned from Daniel about prayer three times/day. I'm in SC, too. Bless you, sister.

ruthidejong said...

Aimee, you are such an inspiration. Please keep us posted on how you maintain this balance with FB. You are a wise Mama.

Mrs. Luttrell said...

Ok I'm subscribing to you! This is amazing and exactly what I was feeling. I had a modified change where I wouldn't open the computer until after I opened the bible. Been on that for 3 months now and It has been quite a refreshing change! I may step into the total fasting of computer at some point :) thanks for the great post!

Tammy Kay said...

This is a great post. I wanted to introduce myself. I found you through Contented Sparrow and I follow you on instagram. I blog as well and I'm a homeschooling mom of five living in Charleston. Nice to finally say Hello officially. Blessings as you start your new scheduling routine that I saw on instagram. I've been thinking of getting my moth back out too. I'm very overwhelmed with having a three month old, toddler, and three school age children. Have a great weekend.

Daniel Lee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.