The truth is, I really would like to have a person to go on adventures with. Someone to challenge and sharpen me in my thinking and my deeds. Someone to love and protect me, as I do the same. Someone who doesn’t think I’m ‘too intense’ for having conversations about things that matter, and someone who flirts with the silly and the serious interchangeably.
The truth is, I would really like this.
But I’ll be damned before I go chasing after shadows of this someone. Because there is only room for one Person at the first place in my heart and I want His name to forever and always be Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Because only He is fully satisfying of all the needs of the human heart.
Last year, 2012, I deactivated my Facebook account. For some, that’s not a big deal. For me, that was a big deal. Why? My name is Steph, and I am a social media addict (I think).
I’ve been watching through The West Wing again, and I love the way Leo McGarry (Chief of Staff) owns his condition in Season 3, ‘Bartlet for America’:
I’m an alcoholic. I don’t have one drink. I don’t understand people who have one drink. I don’t understand people who leave half a glass of wine on the table. I don’t understand people who say they’ve had enough. How can you have enough of feeling like this? How can you not want to feel like this longer? My brain works differently. […] I don’t get drunk in front of people. I get drunk alone. […] You think it has something to do with smart and stupid. Do you have any idea how many alcoholics are in Mensa?
Now, I don’t think that my addiction is the same as alcoholism. But I certainly resonate with the pattern of behaviour - all or nothing. I either go on Facebook all the time, or I cannot allow myself on at all.
I have thought for a long time that this is just a lack of self-control, and that certainly might be the case: I don’t want to fob the blame off to a ‘condition’. But, if I am to take responsibility for myself, I need to name what I’m dealing with, and not trivialise it as ‘just a bit of lack of self-control’.
This thing, whatever it is, robs me of life.
Yeah, of course Facebook facilitates things and connects and bla bla bla, but that’s not what I’m talking about. 5 minutes on Facebook once a week could do that. I’m talking about a need for the little red flag, to know what’s going on. I don’t feel better for it.
In January, I wrote some reflections on 2012. Amongst them were things like: ‘Less concerned about what people think. Don’t feel obliged to maintain all my relationships at once - depth not breadth. Don’t feel as concerned about others’ opinions of me - feel more centred and sure of self - able to focus on the other person - an effect of no FB? Not spending as much time maintaining a digitally altered version of myself?’ and ‘Better at getting things done - not putting them off.’
Here’s the thing: I felt BETTER last year. Yes, it was a bit hard from time to time when I wasn’t invited to this or that, but that was because the very thing I wanted to prune in my heart was being cut away at - my pride, sense of self-importance, and various other ugly incarnations of this ugly trait.
Let me be clear - I am not trying to criticise your use of Facebook in a round-about way. Many people got defensive of their own Facebook usage when they realised that I wasn’t on Facebook last year.
But just as an alcoholic isn’t suggesting that a non-alcoholic’s consumption of alcohol is bad by their decision not to drink, so too my choice to severely limit my Facebook usage wasn’t a comment on the merits (or otherwise) of your Facebook usage.
I just want to live a fuller life, you see.
And now that I’m back on Facebook, I’m finding it very hard to be balanced. Initially, I wanted to only allow myself to be on Facebook once a week. But then, I was sucked back under. At first, it was making contact with people I hadn’t contacted for a year. Then it was admin for various things I’m involved with at uni. But then the old patterns crept back in. Not as bad as they were before, but still not harmless. And it’s not just Facebook. In fact, I’ve just decided to delete Instagram, because it fosters the same spirit of comparison and performance in me. It might not in you, and that’s fine! I just don’t need to give it any more oxygen.
It doesn’t help me live life in light of the reality that my life is but a subplot in God’s grand narrative. It doesn’t help me remember that my life is not about me - it’s about Jesus.
So, the point of this long-winded post is this: I need your help! I’m going to try to break this bad habit/addiction/whatever it is, and only go on Facebook on Fridays. If you see me on Facebook at other times, send me a text and ask how I’m going with my plan. It would also be super helpful if you didn’t private message me on Facebook - a phonecall or text or email would be great. If you want to invite me to something at late notice, then call me.
Again, you might be different to me - but please don’t discourage me from doing this just because you don’t struggle with the same things I do. I’m not commenting on your heart or habits. So don’t get defensive about them.
This is a pretty massive over-share, and I’m not heaps comfortable with it, but I think there are heaps of people like me out there, on the spectrum of addiction. If you want to join me on my #FacebookFriday endeavour, send me a text, and we can help one another :)
I look forward to living a fuller, more productive, and more community-oriented life with you.
This is a load of CRAP. Where is its scriptual backing? When did God promise this? It’s premised on the idea that (a) you deserve any gift that God gives you - which means it isn’t a gift; and (b) the purpose of honouring God as the ultimate treasure of your heart is so that you can have a romantic relationship - a kind of quid pro quo in which treasuring God is the means to the end of romance. GOD IS NOT THE MEANS! HE IS THE END!
At this point, some would cite Matthew 6, in which Jesus says not to worry about physical needs (food, water, shelter, clothes, etc.) because your Father knows you need them - we are instead to ‘seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.’
This abominable quote is a genuinely sincere application of that logic to romantic relationships: seek God first, and He will give you a great guy/girl.
The problem with this, is that it is not true. God never made that promise - indeed, His Word says that whilst marriage is a creation good, celibate singleness is, for some, better (1 Cor 7)!
So then, we must ask the question: What does this ‘seek first… and then all these things will be given to you’ passage actually mean? What of the faithful follower of Jesus in the drought-stricken Wema in rural Kenya who dies of hunger?
I think it comes down to worrying. If you don’t have, don’t wear yourself down with worry - it’s not fruitful. God knows what you need, and will provide it if it’s in His purposes for you. This doesn’t mean He will provide the things you crave - just that He is attentive to your needs, in pursuit of your good (objective, not subjective) and committed to His glory.
In short, treasure Jesus and choose to love Him with the exercise of covenant will. Period.
And none of this passive ‘whoops-I-fell-in-love’ nonsense. Choose to love Jesus and honour Him - for no other reason that He deserves your deepest affection and utmost devotion.
To do so for the ulterior motive of getting a husband/wife completely misses the point. Human romantic/sexual relationship is the shadow meant to point us to the reality of the relationship of non-sexual intimacy between Jesus and His people. Not the other way around.
Just to reiterate: This photo is crap, and a lie. Seriously. What a load of bullocks.