At the beginning of this year, I promised I would audit my time because it always seemed that I didn’t have enough hours in the week to do “stuff”. As a CPA, I make my living as an auditor so it seemed like this would be easy. As we’re halfway through the year, I can tell you that a week in my life (168 hours, mind you) is more-often-than-not allocated to the following:
- Work (including actual work and getting to various clients): 55 hours
- Sleep (most often 6 hours per night): 42 hours
- Maintenance and Primping : 10 hours
- Church (volunteering, attending, and going to community group): 8 hours
- Maintaining personal e-mail: 8 hours
- Working Out (when it seriously does happen): 4 hours
- Thinking About Working Out: 4 hours
- Quiet Time: 4 hours
- Driving from Place A to Place B to Place C in Puget Sound Traffic: 4 hours
- Volunteering with Sorority: 3 hours
- Cooking and/or Making Lunches: 3 hours
- Running Errands and Grocery Shopping: 2 hours
That leaves 21 hours to what? Let me tell you: Facebook. Ok, so seriously… do I really spend 21 hours on the world’s largest social media outlet? Probably not but as I think about what I’m doing with my time and talents, I do find that I often will jump online to see what’s going on in the lives of my friends and family. Sometimes, I have good intentions. Sometimes, I don’t.
I will disclose right now that this is not a tirade against Facebook. Number one: facebook.com is an inanimate object which I proactively have to visit on my computer and phone. It does not lurk in the corners only to attack me with messages from friends and timely messages from Banana Republic. Number two: facebook.com is a wonderful way to stay in touch with people. If I didn’t have it, I would have no idea that high school classmates are having babies or former summer project friends are getting engaged. Nope, facebook.com is definitely a good thing. I am becoming the ever more aware, however, that it is me who is making it an idol-thing.
Idolatry? Isn’t that something that the Aztecs did when they worshipped the sun? How does a college-educated woman become an idolater in the twenty-first century… especially of a website? Well, I can tell you, it begins with my profile. In twenty or so fields, I paint a picture of what I look like on a good day. Hence, I put my best “face” forward. So, in Facebook, my interests include:
- Vanilla cupcakes
- Baby watching
- (Future) home design
If I were being a little more realistic, my Buttbook page (the honest profile which captures me au natural) would tell you that those activities above translate into:
- Gorging myself into a sugar high because I stress-eat
- Baby COVETING
- Getting a little too excited about an $800 white damask duvet cover
Do I think really like the things that are currently on my profile? Sure…but in my heart of hearts I think they’re more crafted to impress people than express who I am. What’s worse though is that rather than just listing out my interests and letting that be that, I nearly double-check my profile everyday to do a quick assessment of my profile. Do I still sound “cute”? Will people read this and want to be me? While ancient cultures tended to put their hope in created things (the sun, certain astrological signs, cows), it’s my opinion that the common form of idolatry in my life (as evidenced by where my time goes) is the hope that I put in myself and my Facebook page.
When Moses prepared the Israelites for their inhabitance of the Promised Land, he takes nearly 25 chapters in Deuteronomy to lay out the laws that God would require them to uphold. The first seven chapters of Moses’ address (chapters 4-10), however, seem to say the same thing to me:
Remember how God has helped you and loves you. Worship no one besides Him.
Reading through Deuteronomy this morning, I found the weight of my Facebook habits to be heavier than usual. What good am I doing spending so much time perusing through peoples’ walls, scanning peoples’ fabulous albums of vacations or weddings, and analyzing discussions? Am I doing this to serve them or to benchmark myself? Am I checking my newsfeed in order to identify opportunities to pray for my friends and family or because I want to see how many people thought my status update was clever? Will people defriend me because of this post or will they relate to what I’m going through?
Hmmm… the more I face the beast that I’ve made of Facebook, the more I’m aware of my selfish motives. In faith, I’ll turn these over to Jesus and ask that He redeem this good thing and make it less of a god thing. I know, however, that He’ll ask me (just as He did of the Israelites) to step out in faith and start shuffling some of those 21 hours above into new wildernesses that He wants to guide me through. It begins by stepping away from the computer…
15″Therefore watch yourselves very carefully. … 16beware lest you act corruptly by making a carved image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, 17the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, 18the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth. 19And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.
23 Take care, lest you forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make a carved image, the form of anything that the LORD your God has forbidden you. 24For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.