A couple of days ago, I came to a conclusion that I believe the Lord has been leading me to for quite some time. I actually fought it for a while, but I was ready to stop fighting. At the risk of offending many very good and dear friends - true friends - I removed many of my "friends" on Facebook. Let me make it clear that no one had offended me in any way. If any one looked at the people I removed and the people I kept, they would be hard-pressed to find any rhyme or reason to my method.
I am a very social person and I love to know about people, what makes them happy, sad, etc. This makes Facebook both a blessing and a curse. The fact that it takes so much of my time makes it more curse than blessing. Here's a typical scenario: "I'm just going to go on FB and post this really cool thought to my status. Hmm...let me see what's going on with so-and-so. I'll just quick check the other updates. What?! That person is expecting? Let's just add a congrats comment, here. Aww...their kids are sick. That's too bad. Oh, while I'm here, I might as well see if there've been any pictures posted from today's picnic. After all, it has been 3 hours since it ended..." The next thing I know, an hour has passed and I have accomplished nothing.
Truly, do I need to know everything about everybody? Do I need to know so-and-so is going to yet another birthday party? Do I need to know that their child blinked 5,032 times yesterday? Do I need to know every single detail about every single issue in every single person's life? Don't get me wrong - I do care about people. I rejoice with those that do rejoice and weep with them that weep. I have just come to realize that people have done that for thousands of years without social networking.
For months, I've heard husbands make fun of Facebook and pastors preach about it (not necessarily "against" but definitely messages of warning). I would defend it to my own conscience as a social outreach for those of us ladies who "stay at home" all day (though, there are very few of us on Facebook who actually do this). It was better than being on the phone all day, right? Really? I began to see the point these men were trying to make. (In case you didn't realize this - men actually have good insight on most things!) A lot of what goes on through Facebook is silly. It seems to be resembling more and more I Timothy 5:13 - "And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busy-bodies, speaking things which they ought not." Many of us on Facebook are not saying things we ought not say, but maybe our words are idle. Most of us are wandering from house to house via cyberspace. Knowing what's going on in everyone's life makes me feel like a busy-body. It got to the point I began to feel physically nauseated by the whole thing. By Saturday night, I knew what I had to do...remove the majority of my friends.
Usually, when people remove "friends" on Facebook, they remove those who have offended them in some way - either through words, pictures, or lifestyle. This was not the case with anyone I removed. I removed very dear friends of mine. I honestly removed all but one person I attend church with (a young person whose parents appreciate my input) as well as several other good friends whom I see on a regular basis. If I want to know what is going on in their lives or them to know what's happening with me, we can talk in person. I removed those whom I am "friends" with on Facebook but never say more than "hello" to when I see them in person. If I'm not going to take the time to really know them in person, I feel a bit fake for knowing all aspects of their life. I actually like seeing someone I haven't seen in a while, NOT knowing all of their life's happenings, and having a great chat just getting "caught up." So, that is why I even removed some friends who live in the area, but I only see once in a while.
So, who did I keep? Those friends and missionaries who live out of state or country. I kept my best friend who has been a part of my life since I was born (literally) and I kept my brothers and sister-in-law. I kept a couple of in-town friends that have been a part of my life for a long time and because their status updates are often spiritually thought-provoking. One friend mentioned how I was a spiritual encouragement to many and a testimony to the lost so I should reconsider. My Christian friends can live without my 2-cents, but, because of this sweet friend's advice, I did keep two people whom I know are lost and I do have some part in their real lives. Many of the people I kept aren't even on Facebook a lot, which is a blessing.
I ended up eliminating over 150 people and still keeping 99 friends. I find that my time has been freed up tremendously and, because I'm no longer updating my status 5 times a day, I have the desire to write things of worth again. Ok, maybe not worth much, but at least longer than 10 words.
If you were a friend whom I removed and you are in any way hurt, I am sorry. I had no intention of hurting anyone. My Facebook photos, my photo page, and this blog are still open to anyone to view and comment. One may say, as I did, "But Facebook is a great way to give and receive prayer requests." I will still receive prayer requests and such through other means of communication...such as, face to face conversation, a phone call, texting, or e-mail.
This decision may not be for everyone at this time. But, I really believe it's what the Lord wanted of me. It actually was very difficult to remove those I love, but, in reality - REALITY - I did not. They are still very much a part of my LIFE - my face to face real life - and I am ever so grateful for that.