Saturday, April 30, 2011

Facebook and the Vanity of It All. . .Blog Day #6

I find it interesting that for the past few years, my Lent season has always been about vanity. I gave up wearing make-up for two years in a row (much more difficult than it should be).  That lesson was about relying upon the attitudes and love reflecting from my heart, rather than trying to live up to someone else's expectations on what beauty is. Not that I'm a beauty queen or anything. Not even close. But I believe that in those years, wearing make-up symbolized the use of a mask to lead people into seeing a false version of myself. It took two Lent seasons to learn that if I followed and obeyed God, loving Him with all my heart and all my mind and all my soul just as Scripture says, the beauty of the Holy Spirit would emanate from me.  People would be drawn to me because they would be drawn to Him, the God I would be representing.

How does this compare to giving up Facebook? What does Facebook have to do with vanity?

Only this: I have always wanted to be famous. Beautiful and famous. Talented, beautiful and famous. Skinny, talented, beautiful and famous. And a super-spy. But that's another story.

Slipping into a fantasy-land was always a defense mechanism for me, especially during the most lonely and empty times of my childhood. I would pretend that I was a part of a favorite TV show (like the Cosby show episode when Theo decided he wanted to move out so Dr. Huxtable pretended to be a landlord). Or I would pretend to be the heroine in some fictional story I would make up, usually involving bad guys with guns and me discovering I had super-spy fighting moves. . .

Even now as an adult, I find my mind wandering into daydreams where I would have the perfect words to an earlier conversation.  Or imagining scenarios that would answer my "what if. ." question for the day.  But more dangerously, I find my mind delving into daydreams of how my life would be if I got exactly everything my heart desired. 

The Discovery: I still want to be skinny, talented, beautiful and famous.  All my sinful secret wanderings involve the elevation and admiration of me. My imperfect self involuntarily feeds on this dark and ugly part of my heart and the monster of narcissism wants to be seen.  When I'm low in mood, lonely or spiritually struggling, this desire to have my bucket filled with human admiration and approval seems to grow from that pit.

I have been working on taking my thoughts captive. . .Prayer helps so much in that area, as well as meditating upon Bible verses.  The Facebook fast seemed to be one of the most effective ways to gain control of my wayward thinking.

I think it's because FB feeds into my desire to be admired. I pick and choose what people see of me. So FB friends get to see my kids in their cute moments. . .and read about all my accomplishments as a mother, wife and _(insert hobby)-ist.

In Facebook's absence I had no one to impress.  No one to look on me and notice that I can be funny and witty with my words (well, online anyway). No one to give me encouragement whenever I wanted and no searching for compliments just to boost my ego. It was a tough 40 days.

*sigh. . .a world in which I am not overly-admired for my good looks and movie-star qualities.  Who knew that it would bring me back down to earth and remind me that life is not about the Self.

But I'd still like to be a super-spy. . .


Bronwyn said...

The "Real world" episode of the Cosby show was my all time favorite. We should take a trip down memory lane and watch it some time.

We are the Ganyos.... said...

I can relate to every single thing you said.... except, I never wanted to be a super-spy. (My fantasies were all of the ultra-feminine, princess-y, ballerina type in addition to beautiful amish-like farm-girl with her own strawberry stand. ;)) I really appreciate your humble willingness to admit such things as well as your ability to articulate them. I think everyone could stand to evaluate why we do what we do with FB and the all the social media like. It offers little to none of what true physical intimate community offers yet we are obsessed. Us introspects are taking the brunt of the phenomenon, wrestling through all the why's and what to do about it. I get tired just mentioning it. :)