Going, Going, Gone: Why I Gave Up Facebook Games for Lent

Growing up Catholic, I learned the importance of sacrifice in our lives around this time of year. We prayed, went to Confession and attended Church regularly, and everyone spent a significant amount of time trying to think of something we could sacrifice for Lent.

As we grew, many of us used our Lenten promise as a sort of second New Year’s resolution: something we really meant to do, but needed those few extra months to harden our resolve in order to stick with it. Little sacrifices don’t hurt very much, and it’s easy to convince yourself it’s something meaningful.

Since I became a mother, I’ve returned to the important lessons of my youth, and the reason we celebrate Lent, which is the traditional observation of the 40 days before Easter in the Catholic Church, and observed by a number of Christian followers.

Last year, I gave up Starbucks coffee. It was a very, very long 40 days. Still, I didn’t feel like I was doing it for the right reasons. This year, I vowed to pray over it. I considered what was one of my most precious commodities: time. How was I using my time? What should I be doing differently?

Aside from writing, I was spending much of my time playing games on Facebook. Hours each day, when my work was done and I wanted to relax and block everything out, I’d turn on my computer and plant virtual wheat or slay the vampiric hordes, or tend my fairy garden. It was a great way to pass the time… usually relaxing, often exciting. But it wasn’t how I wanted to spend my Lent.

What I wanted to do was spend the time I’d otherwise spend “getting away from it all”, once the kids were in bed and my laundry was done, thinking about what was important and being thankful for what I had.

So I made an announcement to the hundreds of Facebook friends with whom I play these games: Don’t send me gifts or game requests. I’m blocking the games. I’m ignoring the posts. I’m using my time for other things.

After a few weeks, I discovered I did not really miss it much.  I realized I placed way too much importance in pixels on a screen.  And, more than that, I realized that I was listening to myself, thinking more about what was really meaningful, and I was more reflective about my day.  It made me think more about real sacrifice, and about how anything I could do would be a drop in the bucket in comparison.  It made me grateful that I have time to kill at all, and a comfortable way to do it, if I so choose.  It made me a little ashamed, too.  Those minutes I will never get back again, and I honestly could not tell you what I gained from it.  Much better to paint something, or write a letter, or read a book.  Pray, even.

Giving up Facebook games was healthy, even.  Good for the soul.

And, maybe, Sister Mary Liberata would be proud of me.

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17 Comments

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17 responses to “Going, Going, Gone: Why I Gave Up Facebook Games for Lent

  1. Do you feel as if you’ve hit the spirit of Lent with your selection this year? I think it seems spot-on.

  2. San

    Good for you, for all the right reasons. 🙂

  3. A good thing to give up for lent, those games can suck you in! I like the picture of you and Fabio!

  4. Derek Odom

    I hear that! Games really can eat into your life. I’ve never played a FB game because they just don’t interest me, but there are surely a few other things I could sacrifice in order to do the things I’d really like or need to be doing with relaxation time, like reading a good book or finding good music. Thanks for the post!

  5. I wrote about Lent not too long ago. I’m doing ok with my “sacrifices” for now, but I definitely ate some sweets earlier this week when family was in town after some deaths – totally forgivable, I think.

    I gave up Facebook “just cuz” several months ago, and have been SO happy since then! I waste a lot less time online, and have to come up with more creative ways to stalk.

    Just kidding./?

  6. Good for you. It would be hard for me to give up games but that’s the point, right?

  7. Theresa Leschmann

    An excellent choice for Lent. I wish you well with your effort.

  8. Good for you! I gave up all of the time-sucking games some time ago and know I’m better for it. The only games I play now are Lexulous and Wordscraper (both scrabble games) and they only take a minute or two to play a word here and there.

    Popping in by way of the A-Z Challenge. I’m blogging at:
    Write, Wrong or Indifferent
    Marie Anne’s Missives
    In the Garden With Sow-n-Sow
    Every Day Crochet

  9. My cousin gave up all of FB for Lent. I think you made the perfect choice in deciding to pray over it first. Good for you!

  10. bscarlettc

    I’ve never played the FB games but I sure can waste a lot of time on FB in general. I need to pray in that same direction–I know there are lots of things God wants me to be doing with my time. Enjoyed your post.
    ~Scarlett

  11. Good for you–giving up the games isn’t easy!

    A year ago, I was spending way too much time using Farm Town. I finally just had to steer clear of the app altogether, because ‘cutting back’ really didn’t do it. I actually got back out of bed one night because I realized that by morning, all my crops would have gone to waste!

    These days, I play a little Zuma Blitz (or as I call it, computer crack), but I don’t spend too much time with it.

    My “G” post is right here: http://www.word-nerd-speaks.com/2011/04/genetic-link.html

  12. Games yes- but not bejeweled – that’s a stress reliever 🙂

  13. As a child I had nothing to give up, because nothing really interested me that much. Now however, the Internet has become my livelihood, but because of that, I couldn’t give it up for 40 days. Today, I still wouldn’t know what to give up. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I don’t crave chocolate. Ooh, I just thought of something – makeup! THAT would be difficult to give up. If you would like to read my latest post for the A-Z Challenge, just click http://myheartblogstoyou.blogspot.com/ and look at the top blog.

  14. Good for you! I’ve never starting playing the FB games because I am so afraid I will get “addicted” and I don’t want to have to go through “withdrawal!”

  15. So sorry, I did it again–forgot to let you know I am also participating in A-Z. I’ve met you before A-Z , though, as I read your excellent articles on Y!CN!
    My blog is http://www.betterthanordinary.blogspot.com

  16. So sorry–I forgot to mention that I am A-Z Blogging, although I’ve met you before the challenge, as I read your excellent articles on Y!CN.

    My blog is http://www.betterthanordinary.blogspot.com

  17. Pingback: Gave Up Facebook? That Seems a Bit Crazy… - Informed Sharing