About three or four months ago, I got rid of my Facebook account.
It’s been a good couple of months.
I canceled my account because there was nothing about Facebook that was leading me towards Christ. I was wasting my time browsing people’s favorite quotes, judging people’s musical tastes and political views, and engaging in long-winded debates that were at times civil and beneficial, but more often than not robbed me of my inner peace.
It was time to get out.
Right before making the final decision to get off the ‘Book, somebody shared with me an interesting thought about the website that really clinched the decision for me. They said that one of their college professors declared that Facebook should change it’s name to Imagebook, since almost all of its users are not interested in showing others their real “face” but rather a carefully crafted image that they can’t live up to in reality.
I was definitely in that boat.
I spent forever deciding who I would declare as my favorite bands and authors because I wanted people to think I was smart and well-rounded and hip. I would take long pauses in my day to think of how I could most cleverly share a random event or idea with the world because I wanted people to think I was funny. Many hours were wasted perusing the pictures people posted of me, at first because I wanted to make sure nothing on there would get me fired, but later because I wanted to make sure whoever looked at them would think I was fascinating and unique.
But I’m not any of those things. Not really. I’m not that smart or well-rounded or hip or funny or fascinating or unique. In real life, my wife hates the way I tell stories because they’re never really as humorous as I make them out to be. In real life, my students make fun of the words I use and references I make because they are now officially out of date. In real life, I actually do like Kelly Clarkson and The Zac Brown Band and the Harry Potter books, even though I would never ever ever put those things on my favorites on Facebook.
This desire to control who we are is one of pride. This pride revealed to me my insecurities and my fears, showed me what I wanted to hide from people and why, and put before my eyes the truly pathetic need I have for people to acknowledge me.
I recently heard this quote from Peter Kreeft: ”We live in the most polytheistic culture in history. We worship 300 million gods and goddesses.”
I wanted worship. I wanted to be a god.
I am not a god. I am not worthy of adoration or praise. None of us are. But what we have inside of us is. The fact that the Spirit lives within us makes us greater than the deities of mythology. The fact that we can consume, literally, the Body of the Man-God is a privilege not even the angels have. The hope we have of eternal perfection is a day-dream the pagans couldn’t even begin to imagine. We are beautiful and good and the pinnacle of creation; but we are that only because of the love God gives us, not because of anything we do on our own.
I lost sight of that when I started worshipping the idol of my Image. But I’m starting to see right again.
There are more virtuous people than I who can and should use social media to stay connected with people and share ideas and art with good intentions and ease. But I’m not one of them.
If you’re in the same boat as me, maybe consider adding a Facebook fast to your Lenten mortifications. If you’re not, say hi to the virtual world for me. I hope everyone’s off to a good start with purifying their hearts this Lent, of dying to yourself as we wait in hope for the rising of Easter.