Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Logging off for Lent

So, God, I may have bitten off more than I can chew.  

You know it was Shrove Tuesday yesterday?  Well, today turns out to be Ash Wednesday, strangely.  I suspect you have this one covered, don't you, Lord?  Well, remembering dates has never been my strong point. Ash Wednesday being the start of Lent, my thoughts turned to what I should do/not do for the duration of Lent.

As you are no doubt aware, I don't have an illustrious history with regard to Lent.  I have on many occasions written cheques I can't cash regarding fasting from chocolate, coffee, wine or indeed anything bad for me; or alternatively made wild claims about going to the gym twice daily, exercising for long stretches each week or something like that.  Nothing ever lasts very long.  Certainly not until Easter. So in recent years I haven't engaged with this practice at all, or 'given up' something that I don't like anyway, like seafood or mushy peas.

As it is in so many ways already, this year is different.  I am giving up my Facebook habit, and already on Day One I am missing it.  

Several things have already happened today about which I would usually inform my friends on Facebook and because I haven't, and won't, I can't get feedback from them or receive the support that I value so highly.   On a several-times-daily basis I exchange news, highs, lows, jokes and messages of support with my Facebook buddies and I shall miss it badly. 

I shall have to turn to you for all those things. I suppose I should have been all along.  Maybe that realisation alone is not a bad thing. But then surely neither is Facebook a bad thing?  It can be used in many ways but I have found it to be a wonderful way to get to know people better. I can pop in to see what people are up to; how an appointment went, to wish someone Happy Birthday or just to say 'I'm thinking of you'.  It means a lot. People have been so kind, so helpful, so supportive. 

And I'm giving it up.

Why?  Well, I'm asking myself that question right now.  Usually as I write this I have another tab open on my computer and I can flick back and forwards between this and Facebook (and Google, and the BBC News site, and CNN...) but I feel bereft without access to my online family. 

The thing is, when I was wondering what to do for Lent, straight away it came to mind that I should stop using Facebook for a while.  Straight away I put it out of my mind with great determination, but it kept coming back.  Anything I was so resistant to giving up was clearly very important to me. How much time do I spend on Facebook each day?  Well, I wouldn't like to say.  By that, I mean not that I wouldn't like to say in case I get it wrong, but I wouldn't like to say because then you'll know exactly how much and I might be embarrassed.  Not that you're not aware of it already.  Hmm.

So Facebook it is.  No pain, no gain.  (Though my mantra is usually 'no pain, no pain'). The trick will be to make sure that I do actually use the time I save by not exchanging the time of day with my Facebook friends to do something useful. Really, it's time I should spend with you, since you are the reason I'm reprioritising the next few weeks. Maybe I'll be rambling here with far greater regularity - is that good?  Or are you groaning at the idea of an increase in my ramblings?

So I am saying that you are first in my life.  

I don't want to let anything be more important to me than you. Maybe my Facebook habit has encroached a bit on other areas of my life.  After all, there has been many a time that I've checked in on Facebook on my phone before I open the little Daily Bible application in a morning.  And then if the children arrive to jump on me and it's getting-up time guess what doesn't get done?  So maybe it's time I get things in order.

That sounded very decisive, didn't it?

What do you think?  It might sound silly and even a bit juvenile, but I'll miss it. I like the way it makes me feel connected.  I'll have to find other ways of staying in touch. Write a few letters!  However did we manage in the old days when we didn't do everything by computer?  People had to try harder, I think.  Maybe people were more self sufficient?  Perhaps we're always so pushed for time because we waste so much of it?  Still, I'm sure there's a way through. As Gloria Gaynor once said, 'I will survive'. 

'I can do all things through him who gives me strength'.  Philippians 4:13

It doesn't matter that it's a daft website that I'm addicted to; it doesn't matter whether it's a big thing or a little thing, I need you to help me do it.  Because on my own I'm weak and I'll cheat and I'll feel depressed that I'm so pathetic and I'll tell myself it's not important and give up.  Or I'll struggle with all the things in my life that are happening for which I'd usually lean on my online friends for support and then I'll say I can't do it and it's not worth it. I need you to help me with this, and I need to look to you for the things that are missing because I've logged out of Facebook for a while.

So I've made it through a morning without Facebook.  I can do this.  After all, it's not for long, is it?  Forty days.  Plus Sundays.  Forty seven days.  Forty seven days?  That seems like ages!

I can do this. It's a small thing to do to put myself out for you. To get things in proportion. Facebook isn't bad, only the status that I give it in my life that might be a bit out of proportion.  So I can re-order.  Get it right.

Look what you did for me.  You gave your life for me. Jesus, this time two thousand years ago you only had forty-odd days left to live and you knew that and you knew what horrors were in store and nevertheless you strode on, determined, steadfast, with your eyes set on the Father.  You knew what was important and you did it.  And it was a damn sight harder than giving up Facebook. 

So there it is.  This is a small thing.  If I find it hard then it'll remind me that I'm doing it to show you that I want you to be first in my life.  I can lay aside something special to me to remind me of what you have done.  If it helps me to be more still, less busy, less occupied, more thoughtful, then that's great. I'll have achieved something.

'I can do all things through him who gives me strength'.  Philippians 4:13

So here we go.

1 comment:

  1. Its all about time out to think differently - it will be interesting to read about any new or different thoughts that come to you without facebook. Keep going.....:)


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