How Does Someone Lose Over 1000 Friends?

Originally posted on February 17, 2019

For the link to some great verse graphics to share online, click HERE

Some people may have noticed a recent change in my Facebook status/usage.  Most probably did not.  About a month ago, I downsized my use of and friend list on Facebook.  I went for over 1000 Facebook "friends" to 47.  First of all, I want to share with you how I made such a big cut.

Two criteria were used to downsize this list.

  1. My family stayed on as friends.
  2. Two of my closest longtime friends and ministry partners (and their immediate family), Shane Miller and Casey Jacobs stayed on as friends.  I forgot to mention a third friend, not quite as long time but a Gospel ministry partner - David Sellers.
If you are a family member who was deleted, sorry about that.
If you are not in one of these categories, please let me explain why I made such a drastic cut.

I have written many times about the challenges of the last two years and two ministries not working out as planned.  My heart and mind became very weary especially in January and in that weariness, I lost my focus.  Instead of focusing on God and His glory, I began to focus on myself.   This led to comparing my life and challenges with other people's Facebook post lives, especially those involved in ministry.  To be very honest it was hard to see other people's ministries falling into place while I felt like mine was falling apart.  Facebook provided an opportunity for me to share Bible verses, great quotes, and online resources.  It also became a daily fight against my own selfishness.  

One day I decided, without any public announcement, to go through my friend list and do a major purge.

Now some people might be thinking "You didn't need to do that.  Just don't go on Facebook." OR "The problem isn't Facebook.  It is your heart."

First, Facebook provides a way for me to see what is going on in our families lives.
Second, I know that Facebook wasn't and isn't the problem.  At the same time, because of where I was in life, a flooded newsfeed wasn't helping me think right and glorify God.  What I was posting wasn't really the problem.  My attitude while reading my newsfeed was the problem and it wasn't helping my spiritual growth.  

My Facebook usage was not helping me live out Psalm 115:1
Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness.
It took a little time but since making these changes, my thoughts are continuing to move from "Give me what they have" to "Give Me Jesus"

Do I think everyone needs to do the same exact thing I did?
Do I think everyone,  especially those who desire to glorify God, should examine their hearts and their social media usage?
So here is a passage of Scripture and some questions I am going to ask myself regularly.

Matthew 6:19-21, which begins with "do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth" and ends with "for where your treasure is, there your heart will be."

The questions are...

  1. Is what I am posting demonstrating that my hope is in the LORD and encouraging others to hope in the LORD?
  2. What is my heart attitude when I am looking at other people's posts?  If it is God-glorifying, after praying, what do I need to do?  Unfriend or Unfollow someone?  Take a break from social media?
I have been slowly reading Deep Work by Cal Newport that has also challenged me to think about my social media usage.

Here are some great quotes I have been thinking through and deciding how to implement them in my life.
The problem with this binary response [quit the internet or accept our current distracted state as inevitable] is that these two choices are much too crude to be useful.  (183)
Here is a third option:  Accepting that these tools are not inherently evil and that some of them might be quite vital to your success but at the same time also accepting that the threshold for allowing a site regular access to your time and attention (not to mention personal data) should be more stringent and that most people should therefore be using many fewer such tools.   (184)
It is my prayer that God would use His Word ( Psalm 115:1, Matthew 6:19-21 and other verses) to grow in me and you more of a passion for Him and not the things of this world.  
It is my prayer that God would use His work in my life through so many different people to point people to Him.  As I share updates, book reviews, and other things, I want to glorify God.

If you are interested in reconnecting through Facebook, let me know or re-friend me.  Be aware that I really want to use the platform to help me and others glorify God.

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