Why Facebook and I Are On A Trial Separation {Distractions, Part 1}

It happened slowly. In minute increments. Hardly noticeable.

So at the beginning of the year when I sensed God leading me to fast not only certain foods, but social media, I could hardly imagine the shocking reality I’d soon face.

In the first few days I pried my white-knuckled self away from Facebook, truth began to dawn. And the truth is I had no clue that social media had cut in on my dance with the Lord. Over and over. Like a swarthy, impeccably dressed gentleman, Mr. Social Media tapped, and I waltzed off with him.

And soon I was spiritually distracted.

In all honesty, I was clueless. Because I stayed off social media on weekends. With great relief, I might add. But during the week, I felt compelled to engage on my Facebook ministry page because my heart is for this prayer-based community to thrive and for women to be blessed. My heart was right, but the cost was too high. Because nearly every time I took time to respond on my ministry page, I got sucked back onto my personal Facebook page. 

And when you give Facebook an inch, it takes a mile. So though we aren’t divorced, Facebook and I are separated. And I’m honestly not sure if it’s going to work out for us.

Maybe you aren’t distracted by social media (though I suspect it’s an issue for many of us, and this short series on distractions primarily addresses social media). Maybe for you it’s addictive phone apps/games/computer games. Or TV. Or novels. Or maybe it’s simply busyness. None of which are inherently bad or wrong.

But whatever it is, if we’re having a hard time controlling it that can only mean it is controlling us.

For you are a slave to whatever controls you. (2 Peter 2:19)

When we allow anything but the Holy Spirit to control us, we’re in trouble. It will infringe on and negatively impact our spiritual priorities, and we’ll find ourselves teetering on the brink of a spiritually distracted lifestyle.

A life where our hearts become dull. Where we become engaged with many things and people rather than with God. Where our brains are so full of non-essential information we can’t think straight, let alone hear His voice. Where our gaze is captured by something besides the Lover of our souls. Where we yearn for something so much that it trespasses on our time with the Lord. And we often rationalize it, promising ourselves we will get to God later.

And this, sweet friends, is how an idol forms. I know, I know. The word idol is so Old-Testament. And yet in 2015, there exists more sparkly, enticing, interesting distractions than ever. Each one with the potential to capture our gaze and make us long to spend time with it. Each one able to crowd our lives. Each with the capacity to drown out His still, small voice.

Each one with the ability to take God’s place in our hearts.

Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts. (1 John 5:21)

If our minds and hearts are so overwhelmed and overstimulated by non-stop social media engagement, ceaseless bits of information we invite in every day, or by our own out-of-control interests/activities/relentlessly busy schedules, then chances are we won’t have the desire, focus, or room in our hearts for Him.

Scripture tells us our lives are to be imperceptibly entwined with His. And it’s what He whispers to my heart over and over. 
For in Him we live and move and have our being; (Acts 17:28)

The beauty of this verse is that when we live and move and have our being in Jesus, we walk in tandem with Him. Our hearts are riveted by His Word. And we’re focused on and in involved with His current purposes for us in this season of our lives.

As 2015 dawned, God enabled me to recognize the distractions at work in my life. My heart has felt convicted and challenged by the Lord to make wise changes. Changes that free me to accomplish what He desires in this season of my life. Changes that will enable me to hear Him more clearly. Changes that connect my heart more deeply to His.

My hope is to help you do the same. Join me on the 2nd Tuesday in April  for Part 2 of this series on distractions (my new blog posting schedule is the 2nd & 4th Tuesdays each month). Your assignment, should you choose to accept it {cue the cool Mission Impossible movie music} is to pray this week and ask God to pinpoint and help you recognize distractions in your life.

Lord, open my eyes so that I recognize distractions that have slowly encroached in my heart and life.  I don’t want anything to take Your place in my heart. I want to be about my Father’s business. I want to live and move and have my being in You. Speak to my heart this week and pinpoint specific areas of distraction. In Jesus’s name, Amen.

And for those of you wondering, though my personal Facebook page and I are currently separated, my hope is that perhaps we can eventually try again, with wisdom, concrete boundaries, and great grace. (My ministry page is still active, however, with pre-scheduled prayers posted daily 5 days a week.)


Susan said...

What a wonderful post, Julie. I've scaled back on social media myself. I've been convicted that the people in front of me deserve my full attention, so I understand the distraction. Besides helping plan my daughter's wedding, I'm helping care for my elderly father as he recovers from an extensive back surgery. I never imagined this stage of life, so every day is a lesson in grace and giving up my plans.

Julie Gillies said...

Susan, I pray God's grace on you as you help your father. And may you experience God's deep JOY in the midst of everything as you help plan your daughter's wedding. ((Hug))

Preslaysa Williams said...

This is a timely post for me. I've been sensing that I need to pull away from Facebook and focus my time on managing my home and my writing. When I took a break from social media in the past, my writing life deepened and my quiet times with the Lord were more consistent. Please pray that I can do this. Social media has become an idol in my life.

Julie Gillies said...

I hear you, Preslaysa! I can't believe how much more time I have to accomplish the writing God wants me to do. I pray God gives you great grace, my friend. May He bless and reward your efforts. ((Hug))

Stephanie Rowe said...

This is such an incredibly inspiring post! Count me in! I could use less facebook and more Jesus.

Julie Gillies said...

Hi Stephanie, I think you hit the nail on the head, girl! We ALL need less Facebook and MORE Jesus! :-)

Bonita said...

Julie, I just happened upon this post when I was. . . you guessed it. . . sucked into Facebook! I'm going to take your challenge because lately I feel distracted by a lot of things and focused on a very few. Thank you for sharing! You inspire me with your consistent obedience to listen and adhere to what the Lord speaks to you.

Julie Gillies said...

Hi Bonita! I'm just grateful the Lord showed me what was happening. SO grateful! May He give you grace, girl! ((Hug))

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