One week without Facebook, without news stories, without advertising tailored to our “needs”, without sharing what we’ve been up to, without stalking other people to know what they’ve been up to.
One week of glorious freedom, off-the-grid adventures, more head space and schedule space than before, more present living instead of real-time documenting.
As we mentioned before, we specifically chose to go without Facebook this week because we had the opportunity to get away for our anniversary. We enjoyed fresh mountain air, gorgeous views, invigorating hikes, and, most importantly, the time to ourselves. We have neither Rushing babies nor precious puppers at this stage of our lives, so we do basically everything together anyway. But this week of breaking our schedule, ignoring notifications, and spending every moment together was refreshing and a great change of pace.
Before we talk about how we’ve enjoyed our Facebook-less trip, let’s talk about the first three days of the week. We didn’t leave for the south until Tuesday after work, so what was it like Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday? Honestly, it didn’t really bother us. We both found plenty of other ways to occupy our time.
Sunday was a very busy day with church, lunch out with friends, choir practice, and a birthday party after evening small group. On Monday, the only time we–well, primarily Bethany because, remember, Josh isn’t a big Facebook guy anyway–would have had to get on Facebook was during work break(s). Instead, Bethany did research for their trip, and Josh . . . well, Josh had two VERY busy days at work before heading out of state.
Monday evening we celebrated the one-year anniversary of Bethany’s brother’s brain surgery and recovery; and then we stayed up late to pack. Tuesday, same thing at work, and by 6 pm we were on the road.
While we were away, we discussed many changes we would like to make to our lives when we returned home. Vacation is a great time to recharge and reset. We are both working on becoming more intentional. Spending some time in our favorite place, the mountains, gave us the opportunity to discuss where we stand when it comes to changes we have been working on. One of those changes is less time on social media.
People ask us why we have chosen to give up specific things this year. For some things, like pillows and spoons, we went without to appreciate them more. For others, like Netflix or YouTube, we gave them up to see if we could live without them or simply use them less. We think Facebook is the latter. We plan to continue using Facebook, but it will be less than we have in the past, and much more intentional. We want to make sure we are using it as as a tool to connect, not as a distraction from real connection.
Facebook does have the capability to be used for good. A family member mentioned that without Facebook, they would not have been able to collect the thousands of items for a homeless mission in Baltimore. They used Facebook to create a page, invite friends to “Like” and participate, even add a donation button, and share their progress in reaching the goal.
When Bethany spent six months in the Caribbean, she used a Facebook page to share updates and prayer needs. Many missionaries continue to keep their family and other supporters informed in real time this same way. Churches live-stream their services to reach more people. Urgent needs are shared, prayed for, and filled because of how many people we can reach with one Facebook post. It can be a very useful tool.
Facebook in and of itself is not sinful, negative, or wicked. But for some of us, it becomes a sinful practice because of how we use it: whether we are comparing ourselves and become ungrateful and discontent, or we waste too much time scrolling and sharing that other, more important things don’t get taken care of. How many moments have we missed because we were too busy on social media? How many creative ideas will we never discover because we don’t put the phones down to let our minds wander? How many people do we think we know because we are Facebook friends . . . but don’t truly know at all?
All of that to say, we thoroughly enjoyed our week without Facebook. It was a wonderful opportunity to take a step back and really assess how this specific social outlet has been affecting our lives. We challenge you take a step back and examine how you are using Facebook. Does it spark social interactions or stop you from talking to others because you are distracted? Please let us know your thoughts and experiences with Facebook. Stay tuned to see what we will be giving up this week!