Sunday, April 11, 2010

Facebook Detox

My husband and I often have a battle over the computer and the activities which occur on the computer.

For him, his addiction is video games; and for me, Facebook has become rather addictive especially as it is a great avenue for catching up, and reconnecting, with friends from primary (elementary) and high school in Hong Kong and Australia, as well as other friends which have crossed my path over the years.

I have two predominant accounts on Facebook (yes I know, that is technically not allowed... but having a girlfriend who is a friend on both accounts, who works for the legal department of Facebook, nothing has been said, so we'll keep mum on it); one for business purposes only and the other, for play. And where have I found most of my time landing? Of course on the side that is set aside for play.

As I have found that I have lost my husband to his video game, he backfires and tells me that he has lost me to Facebook. Is there a double standard in what is better and what is not? Yes and no. Yes in that the content is different, but no in that both are extremely addicting, and anything that can separate a family for extended periods of time without any real productive results, can be detrimental.

Most of you who are friends, or regular readers of our blog, know that Ben and I are planning to enter in a very sacred covenant of Celestial Marriage (also known as Temple Marriage) on May 15th this year.

Since we've determined to do this and set the date, we have been hit left, right, and center with adversity. And when I say adversity, not in the sense that we've hit against brick walls, but rather in subtle and small ways which, added up, become mountains.

As members of the Church (of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), we've been counseled that Satan finds very subtle ways to intercede in our lives, straying us from the straight and narrow path, and leading us into a vast void of temptation and unfulfilled promises and lies. When we err on this side, we are headed in a one way street to destruction and devastation.

Distractions and discouragement are some of Satan’s most effective tools. He finds ways to help us make excuses about why we can’t do this or that. He gets us involved in wasting our time and resources in things that lead us away from improving our lives and developing our talents. He blurs our focus by diverting our attention. This can happen to the very best of you.Elder Donald L. Staheli of the Seventy

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And while I've been frustrated with my husband's playing of his game, I too have been distracted with Facebook. Oft-times in the past, I'd easily stay up all night on Facebook chatting and reconnecting with old friends, now living in different parts of the world, instead of finding myself where I was supposed to be, in bed next to my husband.

When I realised how destructive that activity was, I curbed it, only now oft times finding my husband seemingly preferring his game to being in bed sleeping.

What to do?

We are getting sealed in the temple in just over a month's time.

I have recently suggested to my husband that this sacred day is akin to having a baptism in that all our past mis-deeds towards one another be forgiven and forgotten, and that we have a chance to start over again. But how can we start over again if there has been no work done? Can a road simply be re-paved over cracked and dangerous pot holes, or does it have to be worked on a bit, smoothed over, before new asphalt can be laid?

So today, I made a decision for myself and suggested same for Ben; I'm giving up Facebook for one month to focus on growing, and preparing myself spiritually and temporally for our upcoming Temple Wedding, and I suggested that he give up his video games to prepare also.

This afternoon, I posted my last "update" on Facebook. In it I stated that I was going to take a break from Facebook for one month to focus on personal things. While I am saying "See ya later" to Facebook, I will still check my email and will still blog; but the thing which has been really getting in the way of my priorities, I am joyfully sacrificing.

During this next month, my goal is to read the scriptures daily, meditate daily and with real intent. I plan to visit the temple at least once a week. I plan to blog about this and how I am doing. In this month without Facebook, I intend to spend more quality time with my husband and smooth over any rough patches which may still be lingering so that when we kneel across from each other in the holiest of holy places, we will truly be there in purity, and with a spirituality that washes us clean of any negativity. In this, we will end our temporal marriage and begin our journey in an eternal marriage.

And while Ben has resisted my suggestion that he gives up his gaming for the next month and instead focus on other, more productive things, he is open to it.

While the outcome is still unknown, I know that the sacrifices which we are making will bond us together in a stronger, and more spiritual manner.

So, after my final update on Facebook for the next month, and catching up on last comments and emails, I logged off for the last time for the next month... How did I feel? I actually felt a bit of a weight lifted. For too long I have been updating, chatting, and getting caught up. Now I feel as if I can manage to have a bit of privacy, at least for the next month, without my nearly 400 friends (on my private page) knowing what I am having for lunch or cooking for dinner, or where I am going, what I am doing, or anything. Right now, I feel relieved to have that burden lifted.

This leads me to ponder on how it became such that lives are no longer kept private in this day and age of social media. We update constantly on what we are doing, where we are going, who we are seeing... Does anyone really care? So why are we putting it out there? Its akin to the parent who insists on showing you their portable photo album of their child's life almost from the moment of inception... do any of us really care, or are we just playing nice in our comments?

What really are our priorities today? And what are we teaching the next generation about priorities?

Family is always first, that has been most people's motto; and it certainly is within the church and in my family; so when did we start putting "updates" and "Tweets" and video gaming ahead of the family?

Today, I learned of friends who have separated because of his video gaming habit. While I know that she is not the easiest person to live with, escaping into a void that is the mindless side of the internet, never solved any issues. Escapism in general never solved any issues. But we do it because it is easy and it is accessible.

The same internet where we can learn vast amounts of information at the press of a button, or a Google search; can also result in detriment. I think there comes a time when each of us has to make that decision whether they are going to do what is easy, or make sacrifices wherein the blessings and rewards are immense and eternal.

This is my goal, keep reading and we'll see what develops.

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