Saturday, April 25, 2009

Expanding at the waistline; Downsizing the screen time.

The forty days I took off of Facebook proved to be pretty productive! I walked forward at church to pray for healing from my rage, enjoyed a worshipful concert that same day, went away for a three-day retreat a few days later, was available to attend the funeral of a family friend, celebrated Palm Sunday in Williamsburg with family, visited with my aunt & uncle, went to Richmond twice to see dear friends, brought 25 kids together to wish my son a Happy 6th birthday, sang The Messiah on Easter Sunday beside my parents, and also...GOT PREGNANT!! ;-)

I've gotten back on FB, and I must say, I am kind of disgusted with myself. I've engaged in arguments which I had no business starting, I've been invited to (& accepted) another game of Scrabble, I've posted a bunch of trivial polls about myself,'s all so stupid that I feel like fasting permanently to regain my composure!

Except for the fact that I have also, as I have previously mentioned, been able to reconnect with people I care about & discover other friends' pregnancies, and appreciate beautiful photos of family's and friends' children growing up.

So, it's time for me to set some definite & clear boundaries. If I could stay off for 40 days (it was so refreshing!), then I can follow these new rules for myself!

1) I will not read everyone's update every day. With over 400 people on my friends list, this is an impossibility, and with a third child on the way, absolutely ridiculous to even contemplate!

2) If I see an update on the front page which annoys me, I will NOT comment. I do not need to get into controversial dialogue with otherwise in-real-life friends in a flat, textual space. This is a damaging & wasteful use of both of our time. Text doesn't carry tone & intent properly. It can be too easily misinterpreted, and it's too easy to say more harsh things in writing (almost anonymously) than I would ever say in real life.

3) In fact, if I don't have anything nice to say, I won't ay anything at all. I will even avoid sarcasm which I know could be appreciated by another, who "gets" the joke. Why do I need to spend any of my time on earth offending strangers who just happen to be friends of my friends, reading the comments on others' pages? What a petty use of my time!

4) I will only post positive and/or encouraging things, myself. I will no longer post political messages, including those I am most passionate about, because, as in real life, politics & religion stir up the waters too much, in a virtual world, to be properly received or worked out. I have plenty of friends who will cover this arena. I don't need to join that movement. I do not have time! I have a third child on the way! This is the time for simplifying!

5) I will continue to use the PHONE and snail mail to communicate with my dearest friends, and not rely on Facebook to get messages to them. The intimacy of meaningful relationships fades away when electrons become our sole form of communication. I have spent many years cultivating relationships which I have had over distance & life changes. The ones that matter most still need the care they've always needed--and that is a personal touch on birthdays, and a phone call to catch up.

6) I will only check Facebook once a week--on "Facebook Fridays." This is a boundary I've crossed many times, in attempts to rein in my use of the "social network of all time." But, if I could restrain myself for 40 days, then I can go cyclically six days in a row, can't I?

7) I work part time, and that needs to take precedence over time online. I have to make phone calls on Monday & Wednesday nights, I have to write-up my research, I have to read new assignments in my inbox. I cannot keep this part of my life organized if I am scattering my time between incoming homeschool-related emails and Facebook. I have two kids to raise, meals to make, laundry to fold, vacuuming to run, and faces to kiss. I do not have time to invest in this crazy time-suck! I will only allow myself Facebook time on Friday night AFTER I have put in 10 hours at The Job. This is only fair to my family, where the income & my commitment to my job is still necessary.

Frankly, these will NOT be easy commitments. At this very moment, my children are whispering between themselves as they stretch & start the new day, and I feel more of an itch to go look in my Facebook inbox than to go kiss them all over. This is the definition of addiction, isn't it?

8) I will continue to read the Bible, My Utmost for His Highest, and Each Day a New Beginning daily. I will start my days this way, instead of checking the Internet. I am always renewed through the words of God, the words of a famous minister, and the words of recovery which I've been returning to day after day since 1991. How can I let Facebook creep into my one-on-one time with the Lord and with myself, disrupting the old (good) patterns? This is the most important of all the items on this list.

9) Yes, as much as I HATE saying this, I will be held accountable by those who love & care for me. Call me on it! If you see anything other than a blog post announcement on Facebook in my name on any day other than a Friday, comment here, call me, send me a harassing email! I will behave better if I know others hear my commitment and will hold me to it. And, today is Saturday, so today is NOT a Facebook day!

10) I want to apologize to a friend of mine (who knows who she is) for getting out of control in a recent argument we aired in public on a Facebook post which just kept going. I was out of line. It wasn't my business to go there. Please forgive me.

That's it! Growing Baby takes a front-running role! YAY! It's about time I got my priorities straight!!

PLUCK IT OUT!! Get salty again!!

"And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where
" 'their worm does not die,
and the fire is not quenched.' Everyone will be salted with fire.
"Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other."

Mark 9:42-50 (NIV)


Robynn's Ravings said...

What a wonderful post to read anyday but especially on Sunday, which is when I'm reading it. I wholeheartedly applaud you for your efforts at not spiraling into places of pettiness and practicing self control. I think of the verse in Romans 12: 18 "If it is possible, as far as it depends on YOU, live at peace with everyone." (Emphasis mine) Sounds like you have a heart desire to do just that.

And I'm so THRILLED for you about the baby! What a good use of your 40 days. :) Congratulations!

Russ H. said...

You are very ambitious. I set much tinier goals for my own improvement and often fail miserably. Sometimes, a new path opens, and a new awareness, and I realize that what I think are my failings are just parts of myself that I have not yet understood.

But God built us double-tough strong, and with the capacity to finish the journey. God, I believe, wants us to be at peace with ourselves.

And so I bid you Shalom. :)

ModMomMuse said...

Hey, Russ! ;-)

I don't agree with you that God purely wants us at peace with ourselves, if the person who we are harms others. My time on Facebook robbed me of time with my family--especially my husband--and robbed me of time working on a job I get paid for.

Saying God accepts me as I am is biblical & true--but He also calls on me to press on toward the goal--to improve myself--to act as salt & light in the world. If I just settle into a place where I feel comfortable & think that's all cool with Christ, then I think I've missed the mark.

Just so you don't think I'm speaking out of my own opinion, I am putting down some references,* though I don't ever attempt "Bible thumping." It's just that if I am bold enough to say I think I know what God thinks on a subject, I better be able to quote Him saying so, don'tcha think? ;-)

Peace isn't the state of convincing yourself you are good right where you are--it is a place of feeling right with God because you are being all you can be, and the gap is filled by his grace. Yep, I feel that! I see my foibles, and I work to fix them, insomuch as my family's well-being is dependent on my always reaching to be/become my best.

So wild to be back in touch with you, BTW! Thanks for taking the time to come read my blogthoughts.

*Thinking, specifically, of Philippians 3:12-15 (NIV):
12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
15All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.

AND, cited thrice (Mt. 5:29, 18:9 & Mark 9:47):
If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

And, finally, Jmes 2:17 & 22:
In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead...You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.