When I wrote my last blog post about "Navigating the Rapids," I had no idea that just a few days later I'd be navigating my own unexpected rapids!
On August 10, without warning, without explanation, my personal Facebook account was deactivated.
I truly have no idea why this happened. I do wonder if somehow the account was hacked.
I've tried a number of things to get it reinstated, which I won't go into here, because frankly it's exhausting and not really the point of this post.
A few gut-wrenching realizations:
1. First and foremost, every single piece of content I ever posted ANYWHERE on Facebook is gone. Videos of teaching and testimonies, files shared with homeschool and pregnant moms, typed out encouragement and educational resources, photos...everything...GONE. Talk about an identity crisis!
2. The abrupt shutdown of my account was personally devastating. Losing the Facebook Memories access plus all my photos, videos, and commentary on our daily life has been like watching 15 years of scrapbooks go up in flames.
3. Not only that, but the loss of the account has also greatly hindered my ability to do ministry within the Verity's Village community and my own homeschool support groups, all of which I set up personally. I can't even get into my own homeschool support groups! Thankfully the Verity's Village page is a way I can still post in our ministry support groups...but it's awkward, since it's a page and not a personal profile. I am unable to access any of the thousands of messages I've sent to other people, although people can technically still see the messages they've exchanged with me if they look for me in Messenger. Strangely, though, my profile photo is gone and my "name" is now "Beverly Copyright Infringement." What in the world?! It's so disheartening! This is NOT who Beverly Jacobson is!
And yet...despite the injustice...I know God is in control. The shutdown of my account may simply be a strange technological error, the result of the work of hackers. Or it may be more nefarious. I am a follower of Jesus, not ashamed to stand on truth, as well as an advocate for the rights of the unborn. If I knew my beliefs were the reason behind the deactivation, I'd wear that as a badge of honor! But regardless of the WHY behind it all, there have been some beautiful realizations as well.
1. First was a difficult look at what I already knew was true: Facebook had become an addictive escape, a good way to waste time while trying to feel connected and/or productive. An instantaneous shutdown meant I had to learn to live without a part of my life that admittedly had gotten far more time and attention than I ever intended to give. I never WANTED to make Facebook my identity, but the truth is, somehow it became difficult to disentangle the real Beverly from my online presence.
2. God has graciously answered the longings in my heart to "be better," to "do better." Because of #1 above, I was shorting myself and my kids of the precious moments that were simply part of our family life waaaaay back in the days before social media and smart phones. For all of my good intentions, I couldn't seem to get control over this consuming desire to check messages, respond to comments, post something funny, important, poignant, whatever. Now, I find myself having more and longer conversations with my kids. Reading books for fun again. Sitting outside and just watching, listening, being.
3. For years I've tried to create healthy boundaries around my social media use. Well...guess what?! Now my Facebook usage is extremely limited, since I can only post within the bounds of the Verity's Village page. Thus, I have extremely limited "office hours" (more like minutes!) during which I quickly to VV-related tasks and communications.
4. Related to the above point (THIS IS SO IMPORTANT): I must "work myself out of a job" in order for Verity's Village to grow beyond my little home office. It is VITAL that other people with a passion for our ministry take up the mantle. I've been forced to speed up the process of connecting with and equipping others to do this important work. Yes, I hope and pray to stay involved, BUT...I cannot do all the work myself, nor should I.
At this time, I feel complete peace about NOT trying to set up another account. I'm leaning into the present moments, praying over the future, and trusting God will keep me connected to those whom He wants me to be in touch with. My identity is in Christ, not my Facebook profile!
I pray the same is true for you, no matter what your preferred social media platform! If any of this has resonated with you, reach out!
Also...as an aside...my Instagram account remains unscathed (for now!) but doesn't have the same addictive pull for me that Facebook used to have, so I do plan to stay active over there. Find me here!