• Dana L. Butler

Why I Left Facebook…

***Stopping by this post on 9/19/12 to link up to Sarah Markley’s

Social Media Linkup.  Thanks to Sarah for making us all stop and think… :)***

Well, I did it.  I deactivated my Facebook account today.  I have received lots of questions about WHY I would want to quit Facebook, and have had a couple people tell me that it seems very extreme, perhaps unnecessarily so.  I want to answer these questions, at some level….not because I feel obligated to, or pressured to, or because I feel that I have to “defend” my decision.  I just trust the hearts of those who have asked, and therefore want to openheartedly share, to the degree that I can, some of the “why’s” behind my decision.

Many people leave Facebook because they’re concerned about privacy issues, or because Facebook has “sucked” too much of their time and they’ve neglected other responsibilities because of it.  I can honestly say that neither of those things are my motivation.  I will try to explain….

For the last several months, God has been leading me deeper into learning about communion with Him and the “interior heart atmosphere” that is conducive to cultivating depth of communion with Him.  He has reminded me over and over again that a heart condition of STILLNESS creates the best setting for true encounter with Him in the secret place.  When I refer to the secret place, I’m talking about the deep places of our hearts where the Holy Spirit dwells inside of us (if we’ve given our lives to Jesus Christ) and where we  can intentionally tune our hearts to hear His whispers, the secrets of His heart, His leadership in our decisions, His heart for other people in our lives, etc.  It’s the place where, the more we surrender our hearts to His Lordship and leadership, the more He comes in and makes Himself at home within us…. the place where the “deep” of His Spirit calls to the “deep” of our hearts (see Psalm 42:7)… the place where we learn to know Him deeply and simultaneously learn to know and understand our own hearts deeply.

Anyway… as the Lord has been bringing these concepts to my attention over the last few months, I have also felt this nudge…this vague, but growing feeling in my gut… that Facebook was (to put it mildly) not contributing to this atmosphere of inner stillness that I’m wanting to cultivate.  It wasn’t necessarily the amount of time that I spent on Facebook…. but the constant stream of information from however many hundred people who, tho they’re important to me, I don’t need to know every detail that they post on Facebook.  It’s like it creates “clutter” in my heart, making it more difficult for me to be “still” inside and tune into His voice.  And the Lord challenged me: “Why do you extend yourself at a shallow level (via Facebook) to so many people when it is so not helpful to the interior condition of your heart before me, and when it actually decreases the inner resources that I want to give you in order to pour into the intentional relationships that I’ve put right in front of you?”  Let me clarify:  Every single person who has been my “friend” on facebook is important to me, no matter how intentional or NOT intentional our relationship has been.  I have made efforts to contact MANY of them, to make sure they have my email address, blog address, and can get a hold of me if they ever want to.  BUT…. the cool thing about this, is that it will require people to be much more intentional in pursuing a friendship with me if they desire it.  I like that.  And if some people DON’T keep in touch, I will not be offended in the least.  I’ve just gotten to a point where I would rather have more SUBSTANCE inside of me, just in my own personal walk with the Lord, AND for the purpose of intentionally investing in those who He’s put before me…. than have 800+ relationships on facebook that are so much less intentional.  But, to those from my Facebook friends list who would like to stay in touch at some level via email or my blog, I say, YES, let’s go for it. 🙂  I value each of you.  I might not always be able to respond right away, and sometimes I may completely fail to respond (though I will try my best!)… but I really do value each of your hearts.

Let me say one other thing…. God has invited me to cultivate this still, quiet place with Him in my heart… some of you may say, “But you’re a MOM!  How can you pull this off?  Stillness?!  And HOW many kids do you want!?”  But here’s the thing…. stillness is an interior heart disposition, and it has very little to do with your external circumstances.  God has challenged me to look at the distractions and sources of “heart clutter” in my life that are UNnecessary (i.e. Facebook, TV, and any number of others)…, versus the ones that are important, valid, and valuable.  I have a toddler running around my house these days, and hopefully soon will have a new baby in addition.  Are kids loud and messy and wild?  For sure!  Can I still maintain the heart disposition I’m after before the Lord even in the midst of mommy-hood?  Absolutely.  By His grace I can.  And what I DO have control over are the UNnecessary distractions, like Facebook….and I want to steward my heart before the Lord well around these issues, minimize the unnecessary clutter and noise in my heart, wholeheartedly embrace the season of motherhood that I’m in, AND create spaces (spaces in time, spaces in my home, definitely… but more importantly, space within my heart) to meet with the Lord, still my heart before Him, and listen to His heart.  And He wouldn’t have called me to motherhood if He didn’t intend to meet me deeply in the midst of it.  I have faith that this is His heart toward me (toward ALL of us) – to continue to reveal Himself to me in the secret place, in the stillness of my heart – even while I obey Him in serving and loving my family well.  So I want to respond to Him in this stuff.  I want to choose what is best (see Luke 10:42).  I want to get wisdom, though it cost me everything (see Prov. 4:7).  I want to steward my heart before Him with excellence.

Sorry, ONE more thing, and then I’ll be done:

In case I haven’t been clear enough, I want to say that this decision is not motivated by fear that God will be disappointed with me or angry at me if I don’t do it.  It is also not motivated by guilt.  It is motivated by love. He has won my heart with His goodness to me and I want to do what it takes for me to have ALL that He’s inviting me into.  This decision may sound extreme… but to my heart, in light of His invitation, it doesn’t feel extreme at all.

I also have to say that if quitting Facebook is not something you sense the Lord inviting you into, I will NOT think less of you if you chose to stay on Facebook. 🙂  Just for the record. 🙂  God leads everyone differently when it comes to things like this.

If you DO feel the Lord inviting you to do something similar… Can I encourage you to take several weeks to pray about it?  To not make a quick decision?  To really count the cost before you do it?

Okay, so maybe that was 3 things. 🙂  Oops.

Thanks friends.  Thanks for hearing my heart.  If you’re still reading, thanks for your time too. 🙂

I love y’all.

P.S.  Here’s a link that shows you how to archive and download ALL of your Facebook data.  I did this before I deactivated my account, and I love that I have access still to all of my pictures, as well as everything that’s ever been posted on my wall, my private messages with friends, etc.  Super cool to not have to lose all of that.   Click here for archive instructions. Whether you feel led to quit Facebook or not, this is a really helpful tool, since it’s good to have a copy of your Facebook data on your own hard drive.

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