Intentional Living | The Facebook Edition

I’m becoming increasingly passionate about living intentionally. It sounds vague but it’s actually really simple: it means taking a step back from daily life, looking at the components and asking myself this question “why do I ________?” (Insert, binge watch Netflix, wear makeup, drink coffee, etc.) I’ve been amazed at the depth of insight I glean about myself this way. Sometimes this method of questioning leads me to have stronger reasoning behind my behavior and yet other times I’ve been surprised by how compulsive or reactionary some of my actions are simply because I haven’t taken the time to think about them before.

*Note! If you’re inspired to try this out in your own life, I have a simple tip for you: approach this question in a firm and kind way. Firm in the sense that you are willing to ask a hard question and willing to make a change in behavior (if needed) after examination. Kind in that you avoid harsh self-defeating language. Example: Don’t ask yourself “Why do I lash out at my loved ones all the time?” ask instead “What is causing such regular irritability in my life?” The first question starts you off on a negative platform. You already feel like you need to defend yourself, or apologize, or something! The second question doesn’t put you immediately at fault, but rather allows you to look for the heart of the problem. Moving on! 🙂
As you might have gathered from the title of this post, I have an intentional living boundary with Facebook. 
 
I was inspired by a conversation I had months ago with my close friend. She had decided to give up Facebook altogether in an effort to heal her heart in a specific way. She’d discovered that she had a growing discontent with a facet of her life that was fueled by frequent Facebook use. She recognized this in herself and decided to pull the weed which was choking out joy from the garden of her heart. I thought her actions demonstrated a deep understanding of herself as well as impressive determination to heal the damage she had unwittingly caused her own heart.
Motivated by my friend’s wisdom, I took a step back from daily activities and asked myself about my own social media use. For about a week I took note of the way different social media platforms made me feel during and after I spent time on them. Not surprisingly I discovered that Facebook had become an unhealthy compulsion for me and also something that robbed me of joy. Oddly enough, I was not even a heavy Facebook user! I would go on once or twice a day for about 5-10 minutes and that’s about it – yet those few minutes had a very dramatic effect on my mood. I realized that I had begun to use Facebook as a way to feel connected to “my real life” – the community of people back in California. It was also keeping me from recognizing that this is my real life, here in Alabama not in California.
I quit Facebook after that. Not in a legalistic way – I don’t think Facebook is bad! I think Facebook is bad for me, right now. It’s been nearly 4 months since this decision was made and I am ever so glad I made it. It was a healthy decision for me at the time and it has helped me to recognize how important it is to ask questions of myself. I want to live my life with purpose and this line of questioning has provided me with a way to refresh my life’s perspective and habits.
*Disclaimer: I have gone onto the Facebook site a few times in the course of the past 4 months and each time it was for a very specific reason – again, I didn’t give it up in a legalistic way that forbids it entirely! I gave it up in recognition of the state of my heart.
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3 thoughts on “Intentional Living | The Facebook Edition

  1. I love this! It's strange how compulsive and unsatisfying our social media usage can become. I've definitely found that to be the case for me with Facebook at times, and your post is reminding me that I'm about due to step back and re-evaluate things again. Thanks for the inspiration! Also – your note in the 2nd paragraph is pure gold. I think it's so easy to be hard on ourselves, but we can learn and grow so much more if we are not. 🙂
    ~Autumn

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  2. Thanks Autumn! (Fun that you found my blog!) I thought that note might be helpful… though it is easier said than done, that's for sure! I'm glad you felt a little nudge of inspiration, I was so grateful that my friend was able to do the same for me a while back. 🙂

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  3. Brilliant! It's so good to take a step back and reevaluate, or evaluate at all, our usage of social media & etc. I think all three of us are pretty good at doing this, but probably only after we've had a good bout of being on too much. 🙂 Natalie, you said once in Chico that there was a direct link between your FB usage and your satisfaction with the community around you….SO TRUE! My how that has stood out to me over the years. What is difficult for me is that my community is all over the world, and a lot of their world is on FB, and I want to see it, so I end up on it. And oh, how easy it is to go under and come back for air and sixty minutes have passed. I guess it's all a watch-yourself-and-the-clock sort of intentional, disciplined dance! As well as a watch-your-heart as I see post after photo after post about travel, relationships, engagements, marriages, children, gah! Welp, at least I've got one of those down. 🙂 I think, maybe, people look at my posts and are dissatisfied with their own, day-to-day life…so sometimes I don't want to post things all together. Because, what am I going to say, 'you can't hold me down?' 'Here I go again, don't know when I'll be back'? 'Look at this thing I'm doing…again!' All in perspective and approach, living in response, and grateful contentment for exactly what God has given us.

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