Sunday, March 09, 2014

sacrifice in perspective

So I've been off of Facebook now for four solid days. Frankly, it has been much harder than I thought it would be. I thought I had done my due diligence and removed much of the temptation before I even began, but I fooled myself.

The temptation to log on has been intense. There were plenty of naysayers, but the surest way to make me succeed is to tell me I can't, so phhhtt. But the devil is a tricky dude. He knows exactly how to get to me. First, he tried the guilt trips. "But I'll miss you! Your friend is running for City Council and you promised to help promote her candidacy out here! The MAVS are at Fortress and it's your responsibility to give them excellent social media kudos."

Next came the posts that I haven't seen but have heard about. Several people wanted me to know that Dani "had my back" when folks started talking smack about me "cheating" via Instagram. Clearly those folks didn't bother to read my blog about why and how I was giving it up in the first place. I desperately wanted to log in and see what they were saying, to see WHO was talking smack, to see how Dani handled it, and to DEFEND MYSELF. Then I remembered who I'm doing this for, and it's nobody who is out there talking smack. It doesn't matter. It shouldn't affect me.

Thursday, I got a text from a friend who was absolutely giddy that I had already failed at my attempt to fast from Facebook. I asked Dani, "Why do people delight so much in other people's failure?" I didn't answer the text. I realized that her opinion of me ( however misguided) is exactly what I need to not care so much about. It's exactly why I needed to take this break. I'm doing this for ME, because GOD put it on my heart to do it. I know I'm not cheating. Who cares if she thinks I am? Clearly I still care, since I'm blogging about it. Ha. I'm nothing if not a work in progress.

I see now that my "need to be heard" is far stronger than I ever realized. This especially came to light Wednesday afternoon, the first day of Lent, when I received an email from a well-meaning friend.

"Since when did you change religions?" he wrote. "I am concerned that you would practice a Catholic tradition such as Lent."

It took three days before I could respond from a place that wasn't driven by bewilderment and defensive indignation. Firstly, I wanted to tell him to fact-check because Lent is not exclusive to Catholicism. Secondly, I wanted to lambast him about his traditional, conservative close-mindedness. I wanted to say, "I'm sorry, but that lines right up with  the opinion of those who feel it's somehow SINFUL to celebrate Christ's birth at CHRISTmas because, after all, we can't be sure he was born at Christmastime. How unfortunate." But I didn't. Except that now, I guess I have.

What I actually said was this: "You're taking issue with me feeling deeply convicted to do something that can only strengthen my faith, but because it's not a tradition of the denomination in which I grew up, it is somehow questionable? I don't expect anyone else to understand, and I don't need anyone's permission, but I'm surprised at the lack of support. This is a good thing, but I'm not doing it to please or displease anyone. This is between me and God."

I miss Facebook.
I miss knowing what's going on in everyone's life this week.
I miss Brian Luenser's photographs.
I miss weighing in on conversations.
I miss the silly memes and someEcards.
I miss being able to post for Fortress.
I miss tagging friends. So many great things have happened with fun friends this week! And with Aidan! His men's choir won SWEEPSTAKES Wednesday and I couldn't FB about it. He left for JCC camp before dawn Thursday and I couldn't post that, either.
I apparently missed a great conversation between Ric and my mom.

An acquaintance tweeted this week something that spoke to me: "if your sacrifice isn't hard, then it's not much of a sacrifice."

I'm telling you right now that giving up Facebook for 40 days is hard. Leading up to Ash Wednesday, I was a ball of anxiety as I tried to make a final decision regarding giving it up or not. Now that I have, it's a constant temptation to log back on. This is hard, embarrassingly so.

And yet, when I put this trifling "sacrifice" in context with actual sacrifice, I can only hang my head in shame, then raise my eyes in wonder and awe and indescribable adoration. I've often said that I'm a grace addict. Thank God that His mercies are never ending, even and especially for one such as me.

"God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." - Romans 5:8

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