…temporarily. Facebook, Twitter, blogging, and other social media have started to take up a significant role in my life, and I’ve decided to give it all a rest for a while. There are mainly two reasons for doing this.
- It’s taking up valuable time. As a father and husband, my family time is priceless. When I sit at a meal with my wife and I’m staring at my phone checking my Facebook messages and notifications, I’m losing valuable moments that are required for the nurturing of and intimacy in my relationship with my wife. When I’m typing a status update, only to look up and see one of my kids waiting for a response from me about a question I didn’t hear because I was preoccupied with my Twitter feed, I feel as though I’m doing them a huge injustice. Overall, this reason deals with me shifting my focus toward a higher priority. When I put down my Bible because of something I posted the night before and I need to check the comments on it, I’m basically interrupting time with the Creator for something I created. I have to make sure that I’m giving my wife, my kids, and my God the time, attention, and love they deserve.
- It’s not about me. I have a history of wanting to be in the spotlight. I spent several years of my life being told how great I was at what I did, and that fed into a desire for everyone to look at me, affirm me, tell me how awesome I was, etc. After I came to Christ, that didn’t stop all at once. Especially when I became a worship leader. It was very easy to go to church and want everyone to look at me and tell me how great I did leading. I even had moments where I would come to my wife, downtrodden, and confess, “I wish someone just told me how good I did (grammar, I know).” This isn’t to say that affirmation isn’t a good thing. I mean, we all want to be affirmed and know we’re doing a good job. But at times, it’s become unhealthy for me. It’s become a mechanism for feeding my ego. The same, I fear, has at times been true of my usage of social media. I’ve been guilty of posting a status update, and checking back minutes later thinking, “I can’t wait to see who comments on this to tell me how funny or smart this is…” The same has been true a few times with my blog. I’ve wanted people to read my blog and think, “Wow – that guy is awesome. I should tell him that.” The truth is, It’s not about me. God has reminded me of that in an intense way, especially over the past few days, as I’ve spent more and more time in His Word.
Now, let me be clear on a few things.
First, I know that people do read my blog (I have reports to prove it, otherwise I’d highly doubt it), and I’ve made a ton of great connections and conversations on Facebook. While I won’t be using Facebook or my blog for a while, I still want to make myself available for those conversations, prayer requests, etc., should they come about. That’s why I’m not deleting my Facebook account, Twitter account or my blog completely. I’m just engaging in a social media “fast,” so to speak. If you still want to contact me via Facebook, go ahead. I’ll still have access to my inbox messages via e-mail should a prayer request arise, or anything else. Communication can still happen, and I hope it does.
Second, I’ll eventually return to it – I mean, in a culture where technology reigns the supreme connection avenue, it wouldn’t make sense to stay away forever – I’d be kidding myself. Initially, I thought about going through the rest of 2011 without any social media. I’m not sure if that will be the end result or not. Ultimately, it’s not about how long I can go, but how long I think I need. So, that said, I’m not really sure how long it will be. But that doesn’t matter in the least anyway, because it’s not about me.
Third, this decision wasn’t something I just decided to do all of a sudden. It actually has been something I’ve been thinking about for a while, and at a leadership conference this past week I was verbally “kicked in the tail” about the sacrifices leaders need to make for the sake of those they lead, family included.
Finally, I’m not telling you any of this so that you would feel sorry for me or want to mimic what I’m doing. My intent is not to make my burden yours. Actually, the only reason I’m typing this at all is so that people won’t have to wonder if something’s wrong with me (which is quite indicative of how much I use social media). I will, however, say that if you find yourself robbing those you love of the attention they need, and if you feel as though your motives for using social media aren’t “good” (loaded word there), you might want to at least reevaluate.
So that’s it. Hope this sheds some light on what’s going on. Catch you on the flipside.