This year, I decided to make a real sacrifice for Lent. Instead of giving up candy, coffee, or soda, I gave up Facebook.
It seems ridiculous that this social networking website could have constituted as a sacrifice, but it did. It really, really did. I used Facebook daily and extensively. There was always a tab with it open on my computer. I regularly thought of what I’d use as my next status update or which picture of the girls to share.
Part of this has to do with my personality–things aren’t “real” until I’ve shared them or discussed them. Since I stay home with the girls, Facebook is a wonderful outlet for that sharing. It helps me feel connected to the outside world.
But what was happening, I think, was that I thought about Facebook too much–constantly. So when it became time to give up something, a cup of coffee that I drink once a day paled in comparison as a sacrifice to something that I think about or do all the time. I’d give up Facebook for Lent.
It was the right decision for many reasons. I focused more on my family, my children, my work, and the “real world” during Lent. I accomplished more. I played more. We got outside more.
Did I spend less time on the Internet? Yes, though probably not as much as you’d think. I still wasted time online, though I utilized different avenues. I still socialized. I was forced to email Anne when I wanted to check in with her, call my sister instead of posting to her wall, and hear about births second hand instead of seeing pictures within minutes of new arrivals.
But, I survived. I didn’t cheat (I logged in once to cancel emails I was getting from a work-related group I’d been subscribed to). I thought about Facebook almost every day (sometimes just because people were talking about it, but often of my own volition), but didn’t log in. In that regard, it truly was a sacrifice. I didn’t forget about it, like I might have forgotten about candy.
What’s next? I won’t delete my FB page, but I do plan to be more conservative and thoughtful about how I use it. If I feel it become an obsession again, I hope I’ll be able to see it and let it go again, this time more permanently.
In the meantime, I’d better go post this to my profile page.