Or what I’m supposed to be missing on Facebook

A few nights ago, we finally watched The Social Network. My favorite parts of the fictionalized account of the creation of Facebook was seeing the shout-outs to Live Journal {home of my most intimate and rewarding blogging experience ever}, the questions raised about balancing friendship and business, and the even bigger questions raised about online reality and actual reality.

Facebook has mostly been kind to me. There I have found people I thought lost to me forever. I have certainly captured my most captive and interactive reading audience, and to a writer, that is so very important. I have been able to share in the victories and burdens of people all over the country and in some cases, the world.

But with all of that, with all the 800ish friends and many more “networked” connections, I have witnessed some truly disgusting behavior (and engaged in it a few times myself; thank God for the delete button, but unfortunately, words put out there can’t really be taken back). A friend of mine hypothesizes that people say things on FB they would never say in real life, because they plan their version of perfect wording to get across a point that will bring its share of cheers, awkwardness, and anger.

I wonder why we sometimes find our own real lives so boring that online controversy becomes attractive. {This type of drama did not begin on FB; I can remember it happening on my old “RATSA” General Hospital newsgroup back in the way back day!}

I resisted the idea of “giving up Facebook for Lent” last year because it has become so intertwined with how I communicate with friends, clients, and associates. This past week, I heard news of my cousin giving birth on FB. I have too many times heard about deaths in my friends’ families via FB. I have followed a friend’s fight against cancer, victories over infertility, milestones reached by special needs children, hospital stays, job losses and gains…all of it on this website that did not even exist to me just over two years ago.

But on Ash Wednesday, made sacramental in a special, quiet way by my amazing Pentecostal church, I indulged in a war of words with a fellow Christian on FB. And then I went to our Bible Study and heard the term “media fast” used more than once. And here I am.

While I have not disconnected completely from The Facebook (its original name according to The Social Network, and apt according to me), I have backed away. With my thoughts kept more to myself than usual just in these past 24 hours, I have had the reflection and peace necessary to come to important realizations, to meditate on some key scriptures, to engage in deep conversation with my husband, my friend, my sister-in-law, to organize my to-do list of work and ministry projects into something that seems manageable, to write more than thirty words at a time, to read more than threads, and well, I haven’t missed Facebook once.

The season of Lent is about sacrifice. Some of us will use it to sacrifice things in our lives, be it a media outlet, food, caffeine, whatever. Some of us will use it to give sacrificially. Some of us will use it to simply be thankful for the sacrifice Jesus made. I guess I am engaging in a combination of the three. I want to be intentional in the things I give to Christ, in the service I do in His name, and in how I treat His creation, including me! The idea of simplifying life has been foremost in my mind for over a year, and during this season, I feel that being refined in me. I don’t have to be involved in every conversation available to me. I don’t have to address every issue that stirs me. But I do need to grow closer to my Lord, and by the means He lays on my heart, I will strive to do that during these precious weeks leading to Easter.