Peopled-Out, by Facebook
As a mom, there is a limited amount of time I have for people outside of our four walls, but Facebook is sneaky. It makes me FEEL like I can commit fully to people both inside, and outside, of our walls. The problem is, after devouring hours of social media each week, I feel “peopled out”… and I am! I know too many details about too many people’s lives and yet I haven’t actually communed with those people. I’m updated about facts, but not connected in spirit and in truth.
And I can’t live that way anymore.
I don’t want to be so peopled-out by Facebook that I don’t have time for the real flesh and blood people God has graciously allowed to be a part of my daily life.
In addition to the obvious people (my husband and kids), neighbors on Tuesday evening, church members on Sunday morning, and the local librarian mid-week all deserve my smiles and eye contact. In literally any other decade in human history, this would have been obvious.
Now I have to work to remind myself of it. Or else I’m so wearied by the non-stop nature of social media that I have no genuine smile, no patience, no “oomph”… nothing left to give to the flesh-and-blood person in front of my face at the library counter. Or worse, I have no energy left to share with my discouraged sister in Christ who’s trying to catch my eye on Sunday morning.
Facebook has made it *feel* as if we can be in daily relationship with hundreds, even thousands, of people. And yet, I can’t. Not really. We weren’t made for this.
And my heart/mind/soul is weary of it.
God made me a person with specific limitations. I have a finite amount of brain space, empathy, ability to remember details about people’s lives, people I can interface with, and time to give to these things. I really can’t be everything to everyone. I can’t be everything to anyone. Only God can do that.
In truth, I am very weak.
I am a finite person with limits. I am incapable of even carrying my own problems on my own… much less all the events, details, tragedies, triumphs, and trivialities I find each time I open Facebook. I can’t even be all things for my husband and children, but at least I *know for a fact* that God has given me a responsibility to and for each of them. That is not the case for every person I happen to connect/reconnect with on social media.
So for now, until and unless I figure out a different arrangement, my current solution is: I’ve unfollowed ///everyone/// on Facebook. Literally every. One. There are no people I follow, but I am still a part of a few groups (either for my local commitments– church/city, or for learning).
This means, yes, I miss out on some stuff, or I find it out after everyone else. Or everyone assumes I know stuff that I don’t know. And I have to go on purposefully and scroll through particular people’s feeds when I want to catch up (had a baby, what’s going on lately, etc).
But I’m starting to feel the difference: my mind is getting freer.
And I’m back to being able to focus in on the daily stuff again. I just can’t manage to be everything to everyone I ever knew, AND be the wife and mom each day I am called to be.
But bit by bit, I’m taking back the time and mental space given to me by God, and choosing to invest it in the people and tasks God has most clearly put on my plate.
IN THE COMMENTS– what about you?
- Have you ever felt “peopled out” by Facebook?
- How did/do you deal with it?
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