why I deleted facebook

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You’ll still see me there. I’m not gone. But I’m not there.

It’s as if God Himself reached down out of heaven, took hold of my finger with his very large, warm, strong hand and pressed it down on that app button ’till all the iPhone icons started doing that little frantic wiggle. The ‘you’re about the delete stuff’ wiggle.

And then, with no thought at all (on my part – God certainly had a plan), I touched that little dancing ‘x’.

My dear iPhone told me “Deleting ‘Facebook’ will also delete all of its data.”

And there was no hesitation.

It was gone, buh-bye. History.

Delete. The. Data.

No more little red alert numbers, no more messages appearing at the top of my phone, no more one-touch distractions.

“Why!?” you might ask. “Why would you do such a thing?”

or

“Duh!” you might say. “Why are you even writing about this dumb topic?”

Well, before you leave, I’ll tell you why.

Because it was making me crazy. I realized. Crazy.

I found myself getting upset over dumb things. Things like likes and not likes. Friends and unfriends. Worrying over how to word something, whether or not to post something and what would so-and-so think of that?

I found myself touching that little blue icon on my phone screen more times than I could count in a day. So shiny. So blue. My precious. Reading, liking, reposting, clicking through, sharing. So much to know. So much to read and learn and wonder about. So many people with news and concerns and anger and cute babies. All good things, all good things. Or most of them at least. And I didn’t want to miss something. If I didn’t check, I might miss something!

And then, in the course of just a few days, I read this.

And I found myself checking my phone before anything in the morning. Sometimes before even setting my feet on the floor. Before saying ‘good morning’ to anyone. Before brushing my teeth, or saying “Hello, God.”

I realized that I had been checking-up, messaging, liking and following all sorts of great folks, but hadn’t actually seen or talked to a real person other than my immediate family in over two days. And I have good friends who live on my very street.

My mind felt jumbled. I wanted to write, but I couldn’t seem to catch my thoughts. I wanted to work on a blog design project, but my cursor kept drifting over to the Facebook tab in my browser. I wanted to create new graphics for my yet-to-be-opened etsy store, but found myself browsing other designer’s pages and soaking up every bit of envy and losing my creativity. I couldn’t sit still and do one thing for any amount of quality time, it seemed.

And then, in response to some unreasonable request (why can’t you keep your room clean for at least a week), my daughter touted back, with the sarcasm she inherited from me, “That would be as impossible as Mom not checking Facebook for a day.

I think, with me at least, God has to do things big, or I won’t notice. I get so lost in my thoughts, in my dreaming and planning that I don’t notice the little subtle warning signs that someone else would see very clearly. I’m an ‘all in or nothing’ kind of girl. I don’t walk away from anything easily. Ideas, words, projects, people, passions. Or social media, I found out.

So, I think when God looked down on His poor little Lauren that week, He realized He was going to need to get drastic if I was going to hear anything at all. He was going to have to let the hammer fall.

And so He did. It took an act of God, but I hit delete two weeks ago, and haven’t looked back.

I’m not saying that everyone needs to do that, or that Facebook (or any social media) is evil. I LIKE social media. I work in social media for my JOB. But regardless of how involved you are in it, I think social media – Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Instagram, Pinterest, etc… – has a unique talent for sneaking into our lives in ways that we never thought possible when we first set up that account. While the people we interact with are real, the medium is NOT. But sometimes we starting treating it like it is. As if it needs us – to check in, to post, to like, to heart, to share or comment or click through. To pay attention.  And when we (or at least I) let that take over too much of our mind-space (is that a thing? I think it is.) – when it affects REAL flesh and blood relationships – oh, then it IS bad. Very bad indeed, in that form and fashion.

So, I’ve taken it off my phone. I still get personal messages on my phone, as sometimes clients or friends contact me via FB messaging. I still have my work pages on my phone, so I can check in with those accounts. I haven’t totally fallen off the face of the earth. I still check my account on my laptop each day (I deleted it off my iPad, too. And then my daughter dropped and shattered the iPad, so it didn’t matter anyway). But I don’t leave the tab open. I check it occasionally. But I rule IT, it no longer rules me.

I don’t know why I share this with you. I may be the only person on the planet with this experience. Maybe, but I doubt it. I just wanted to let you know. So, that if you’re like me, you have permission to delete. And know that you’ll be happier, more free, more engaged, more present.

And then go grab a friend and sit at a coffee shop for three hours and TALK talk talk. And watch how their eyes crinkle when they smile, and watch them unknowingly twist their ring around their finger while they talk, and hear how their laughter is so bubbly that it echos off the windows and makes other folks turn their heads and wish they were at your table. And then you’ll remember why this is so much better.

And then you walk down the hallway to her room and tell your teenager, “now you get to keep your room clean for at least a week!”

whyIdeletedfacebook

 

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Comments

  1. says

    I did exactly that in January, and I’ve been fine without Facebook for 6 months. But on my wedding anniversary, two days ago, I opened up a brand new Facebook account. Some of the aggravations you described kick right back in! Ha-ha. However, I have to believe that it won’t overpower me. For example, today, my third day back, I will not use Facebook at all. Well, the day’s not over yet, but that’s the plan! Furthermore, I returned because I want more contact with my loved ones: my brother, sister, daughter, nieces, nephew, some cousins. I will deliberately keep my circle tiny. This is a trial reversion, though. If I get obsessed with it, I’ll go cold turkey again.

    I hope your daughter will keep her room clean for you now!

    • Lauren says

      Thanks for your thoughts Ruth Ann. And that is one of my favorite things about social media – staying in touch with out of town family and friends from high school and college. I love seeing their updates and being able to contact them easily. That’s why I can’t delete it completely. I guess I’m just putting it in its proper place!

      The room might stay clean for a few days. We’ll see! :)

  2. Emily R says

    But how will I live without knowing what Lauren likes?? Does she like me? Did she like the 5th picture of my kid I posted, today?? Does she agree with me on every little thing?? What will I do without knowing which odd place Colleen or Catherine fell asleep today? ;)

    Seriously, I have stopped myself from clicking through on each little dumb thing. Particularly quizzes. Do I really need to know which Harry Potter character buzzfeed determines I most resemble after 8 questions? No more getting purturbed for no reason other than the quiz said I’m more like Chewbacca than Princess Leia.

    How on EARTH did we survive before all of this??

    • Lauren says

      Ha! I know! :) Yes, I’ve wasted a ton of time on those quizzes!! They’re fun, but there’s just so many of them!

      Chewbacca is awesome!

  3. Lisa Cox says

    But how will we see Colleen sleeping? And, by the way, you have the BEST posts! I always enjoy reading what Lauren has to post! Love you!

  4. Whistler says

    Well done!
    I have a mission plan for social media, that I’d love to share with you sometime.
    My only reason for FB & other social media is mission work.
    The most beautiful thing in the Springtime (of the New Evangelization, & otherwise) is the flowering.
    The loveliest gardens are a result of lots of hard work, which would include some weeding.
    Glad to know that the Loveliest Hour is honoring God & family with the loveliest minutes.

    • Rich says

      I did the same thing a few years ago, and I’m still alive!

      You’re prioritizing, Lauren. You’re putting actual relationships ahead of virtual relationships. Live in reality, not virtual reality.

    • Lauren says

      Thanks for the encouragement Rich and Whistler. :) You’re spot on! And it can be a mission field. I like it better that way.

  5. Betty Cox says

    Good thinking! Please don’t stop the pictures and letting us know when you have added something to theloveliesthour.com.

  6. R says

    I am so glad you wrote this! I have felt God tugging at me for the past couple months and knowing that it just needs to go. But it’s almost like an addiction! Silly as it sounds. Truly.. I feel it’s taking me away from The Lord and me dwelling too much on creatures. With that, keep me in your prayers as I attempt to do the same.

    • Lauren says

      I’m so glad to know I’m not the only one. And while I was intimidated to put the word “addiction” to it, you’re probably spot on!

  7. says

    I love this post! I too struggle with the Facebook overindulgence. I love how it keeps me connected with family and friends far away, but I struggle with whether it keeps me from connecting with people right next door to me (or in my same house – gulp). It’s an easy escape when life with little kids gets crazy or tedious, but I feel like I’m constantly trying to regulate my use and make sure it doesn’t verge on pure addiction. There’s definitely a call to keep praying about this, to make sure that the Word is what always means more to me than any “likes” or comments…thanks for good food for thought today.

    • Lauren says

      Thanks for reading Laura! And yes – we should be in prayer over it – to keep it in its proper place.

  8. says

    I deleted the app off my phone right after Lydia was born, too! Haven’t looked back since. I still have the messenger app installed so I can respond to direct messages on a timely basis. I, too, am finding myself texting my friends more, calling them up, inviting them out for a coffee or dinner date. Actually, been trying to set up some type of outing with a friend on a weekly basis and have foster in-the-flesh relationships.

  9. says

    What a great post! I also use social media in my work, so it’s hard to know exactly where to draw the line. But maybe deleting it from my phone would be a good boundary to set. Thank you for sharing your experience!

  10. says

    I just deleted Facebook. Well, except I just friended you on there! Ha! (I just got back on to check the Edel page, then I am going away again because some info you can only get there!) I’m on a 9 month fast (think novena) from FB.
    I share many of your sentiments. It really takes over.

    It was so wonderful to actually meet you this weekend, Lauren!

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