As Independence Day approaches, I always ponder our personal freedom, the price that was paid for it, and the awesome responsibility that is on our shoulders to use our freedom wisely; tempered with responsibility. I think the least thing we owe those who gave their lives for the freedom we enjoy is to live a life worthy of their sacrifice.
Personal freedom can actually deter us from the good things we want in life if we fail to look at the "big picture" that is the long-term effects of the causes we set forth. Yes...there CAN be too much of a good thing, and Facebook provides an excellent example of how this works in our lives...for better or worse.
I began my personal "Facebook Journey" as a means of sharing with others the things I am doing in my ministry. Then I realized many of my friends and family were also on Facebook, so I had the joy of sharing the latest news in my life.
Things started to go south when I became overwhelmed with invitations to join online games from "Mafia Wars" to "Farmville," heart exchanges, etc. etc, etc. While I had no interest in the online games, I did notice many folks were spending countless hours in fantasy lives, while their real lives were passing them by.
Now, I am not saying all Internet games, contacts and relationships are bad, on the contrary, they can be a fun diversion and stress reliever. The challenge comes in when the games or other diversions take over our "real" lives.
What actually solves the seemingly paradoxical oppositions of freedom vs control, independence vs commitment, fulfillment of personal desires vs self-discipline is the ability to discern the affect your participation has on your life.
We can ask ourselves questions such as "Am I spending too much time online?" "What outcomes do I want from this time?" "Is my online life taking over my "real" life?" and "How is this impacting the "big picture" of who I am and what I want out of life?"
A very wise person once said, "Anything in moderation, nothing in excess."
Social networks such as Facebook can keep strong the "ties that bind." They can help us to stay connected in a too-busy world. But they cannot replace one-on-one, person-to-person sharing of our lives. High-tech is great, when it is balanced and tempered with high-touch.
Each time we log on to our computer, we are sending forth cause in the form of thoughts, words and feelings. Each cause brings an effect back to us. What "effects" do you want in your life? Just send forth causes that are harmony with them and you will be amazed.
Speaking of amazed, I would like to share a Facebook story.
About a month ago, my daughter Mimi received a message via Facebook, from a woman who had searched her out by her name. She was seeking Mimi because her mother had found Mimi's class ring in a home we had sold 20 years ago. The ring had Mimi's name engraved inside of the band. Through the wonders of the Internet, and Facebook, Mimi now has her high school ring back. Now THAT is amazing!
Facebook: Good, bad, ugly, or amazing...it's not what you've got...but what you do with it that counts!