Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Unplugging from social media

"Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind. With respect to luxuries and comforts, the wisest have even lived a more simple and meagre life than the poor."~ Henry David Thoreau

I remember a time not so long ago BEFORE social media consumed my life. I remember a time when I didn't feel the need to check my Facebook page and Twitter account multiple times a day. I remember a time when people used to have MySpace pages and I couldn't understand just what the big deal was. It wasn't that long ago really......

I remember a time when creativity flowed in my writing and blog posts came with EASE. I remember a time when I had more moments to reflect. I remember a time when I enjoyed being with my boy warriors and didn't see them as interruptions to what I was doing on the computer.....

I remember a time when Fearless Boy Warrior didn't grab my face when I was on the computer and turn my head around away from the screen so I would look  him in the face when he was talking to me. I remember a time when Leader Boy Warrior didn't say out of frustration, "you are always on the computer, Mum!" I remember a time when Courageous Boy Warrior didn't ask me every 10 minutes if he could have computer time (monkey see, monkey do).....

I remember a time when I used my mobile phone for making phone calls and sending text messages, not browsing through news feeds, twitter streams, and answering emails. I remember a time when the mobile phone was rarely used and I didn't feel the need to be at its beck and call. I remember a time when I was fully present in the moment and was not a present-absent parent - there, but not really there.....

I remember a time when I couldn't work out what to do with twitter, or how it worked. I remember a time when I only added friends I knew in real life onto my Facebook page. I remember a time when I knew what season I was in an relished every moment of it. I remember when I was so close to Him and felt His whisper through out the day and His Word consumed my life.....

I remember a time when I didn't have witty and clever Facebook statuses running around in my head every hour of the day. I remember a time when there weren't as many voices in my life and I was able to think clearer. I remember a time when I knew the commission from Him for my life for this season, and was satisfied to live in that season. I remember a time when I knew that all He asked me to do in this season was to love my husband; educate my boy warriors at home; and share my life lessons on my blog.....

Somewhere along the way with all the voices on social media I started to STRIVE. I no longer lived in the unforced rhythms of grace. I tried to make things happen in my time. I wanted to make a difference. I started to STRIVE. I thought I could make things happen in my own strength. When I started to STRIVE, things no longer happened with EASE. I looked at what others were doing on social media and thought that I needed to so the same.

Late last year doors opened for me. I was asked to speak to a group of young mums at a Christmas party and I had articles printed in magazines. All of these things happened with EASE. But then I started to listen to voices that said, "You need to do more, be more, STRIVE more." My heart was in the right place, I wanted to help women with my words.....but it came out of a place of STRIVING and no longer from a place of EASE.

So I am at a crossroad- do I unplug for good or just have an extended break, and limit my time when, and if I plug back into social media? Do I really need social media? Can I just ring a friend or email someone for social interaction? Can I find social interaction by visiting other blogs, like I did before I joined Facebook and Twitter? If I did return to social media, would I be able to stick to the boundaries I set? Or will I fall into the same old trap of wasting time? Will I really be missing out if I unplug from social media altogether, forever?

I LOVE social media for well the social aspect! Being an extrovert and educating my boys at home, social media sometimes may be the only adult interaction I get for hours alone at home with the boys. I LOVE many of the friends I have met online too and genuinely cherish the friendships I have made. But I seem to lack self control in the area of limiting the time I spend in social media. I do miss my Facebook friends. I have been unplugged from Facebook for the last 3 weeks, and I must say, it took me 2 whole weeks for me to start to function without Facebook in my world. This week has been amazing and I have felt myself being able to breathe again.

Proverbs18:24 says:

The man of many friends [a friend of all the world] will prove himself a bad friend, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.{AMP}

A man that hath friends must show himself friendly, and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.{KJ21}
I think this is what I have been trying to do. I have been trying to be a friend of all the world and prove myself. I was STRIVING to keep up with replying to comments and checking others Facebook statuses. I had so many Facebook friends and 'like's on my Facebook blog page and I was trying to 'show myself' friendly.

NIV translation of the same verse says: One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
I did come to ruin in a lot of media is full of unreliable friends.......

I read this post yesterday which really hit home for me. Today I decided to unplug from Twitter for the remainder of May. I found I had replaced the time I spent on Facebook with time on Twitter. Even though it is not as personal as Facebook, I still found myself checking it a ridiculous amount of times a day, replacing one addiction with another.

On the way out of church on Sunday night, someone looked me in the eye and said to me, "I just feel that things are going to start to come to you with EASE. You'll no longer have to STRIVE and you will live out of a place of EASE." The Holy Spirit indeed had spoken to this person about what was in my heart. The person had no clue about the inner turmoil going on inside of me.

I so desire to live out of a place of EASE. Not trying to prove myself. Not STRIVING for anything - just living out of the overflow of Him- a place of EASE.

Still taking lessons from the King,

To read the rest of the story:
Goodbye Facebook (29 April, 2011)
Oh boys....Mummy's home (20 May, 2011)

This article appeared in the Summer 2011 issue


  1. Love what you are doing.. but I'm missing my IRL friend on social media... does that even make sense? xx :D

  2. Jo I'm in such a similar place to you.
    It's constant. I take 3 months off facebook then I go back. I get down again. And so starts the vicious circle.
    I really really believe that, whilst Facebook is great to connect with those we love and miss, it's a trap and something that adds to depression, anxiety and stress.
    Because we are human we care what people think. Who comments. What they say.
    I feel such a weight lifted from my shoulders when I deactivate my facebook acocount.
    And it's only facebook. Not twitter. Twitter for me is a source of encouragement. The words of those on twitter 'evoke my beauty' {Ephesians 5:26} (had to add that in!! hehe!). But truly, they do. If I were you I would take an extended break.
    It's good for the soul.
    I have been back on Facebook for one week now and I think on the weekend I'll be deactivating for another couple of months. I'm thinking that I should close my account during the school term and then allow myself the 2 weeks of school holidays.
    Just an idea.
    Sorry for the lengthy comment!
    Will miss your sweet tweets my friend.
    With love,
    xx Stacey

  3. "I remember a time when I didn't have witty and clever Facebook statuses running around in my head every hour of the day."

    That's one of the most annoying things, I think. Every time something happens - even ridiculously mundane things - my brain is going "So how can I word this in a Facebook status?" UGHH! So wrong!!

    I admire what you're doing in giving it up for a while. I hope it'll help you to make the cutbacks afterwards. I know a few people who completely gave up Facebook for Lent, and they said when they came back that they now didn't feel such a strong need to be on it all the time.

  4. So true and thank you for sharing your post and thoughts. I tend to be the same way with my e-mail too-checking it dozens of times a day!
    Hope you are doing good.

  5. the only way for me was to completely delete it. I was so sucked in that only having it deactivated meant it was still a security blanket. I'm not saying that is necessary for everyone, but for me it was.
    I was also reminded of something a few weeks ago about addictions. We need to give them to God to fight. We can't do it on our own, but before we do we need to stop loving them and LET him take it. He won't get rid something we still LOVE to do. we have to hate the sin. And the sin for me, regarding fb/social media was idolatry.
    Being free from that is so much more important than keeping up with everyone.
    I have friends who say they wish they could do what I am doing but can't because of their business opportunities on fb, but I say to that, isn't God bigger than that?! If it is His will for us to be free (and I'm not saying it is His will for everyone to leave fb,twitter etc I don't think it is a problem for everyone, but certainly many, and definitely those that feel convicted about it) wouldn't He then, in turn bless those for leaving sin? I believe he would. I believe in a fear of Him that doesn't want to even take the chance.
    It's only social media.
    Even in it's hugeness He is so so so so so so soooo much bigger.

  6. Your unplugged posts are really convicting my heart. It's the unspoken being spoken into my life. I read one after another of your "I remember a time when" and my life was showing up in so many of them. I am so grateful for your honesty and willingness to share this. It made a profound difference for me. I need to take some down time and prayer time to redesign my time with my son and husband versus time on the computer. No more excuses.

  7. Wow, that is very admirable! Something maybe I will give consideration to trying this summer! It definitely can become an "idol" for many, and it's easy to put it before God! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Really wise words Jo. I'm pretty good at staying off FB these days but Twitter and hotmail have definitely filled the addiction void. To consciously have a reason for coming on here will be a good place to start with an ease off me thinks. Thanks for sharing.

  9. About 2 months ago I unplugged..everything. Facebook, Twitter, was wonderful. Refueling. Refreshing.
    Something happened to spark up my desperate need to connect again...
    it is such a hard thing beautiful one. I pray your heart is safe and strengthened.

  10. I want to thank you for honesty with this post. This: "I remember a time when Fearless Boy Warrior didn't grab my face when I was on the computer and turn my head around away from the screen so I would look him in the face when he was talking to me" stuck such a cord with me. Everything with me lately has come from a place of striving rather than ease and what God has called me to do. Thank you - this has given me much to think and pray about.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts on my lessons!

I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

Jo Princess Warrior xo