I semi-observed Lent for the first time this year.  For Lent 2011, I gave up reading Facebook statuses, looking at photos, and clicking on links.  I still updated my status from time to time and used Facebook to send messages, but I drastically reduced the amount of time that I spent on the social networking site each day.

I’ve been a member of Facebook for almost four years.  I wasn’t the first of my friends to join, but I certainly wasn’t the last.  I enjoy aspects of the “community” that we share online – I have cousins in Japan, England, and all across the United States.  I have a nephew in the Air Force in Florida, aunts in Minnesota, Tennessee, and Florida, and a childhood friend in Hawaii.  I know more about their lives and families than I ever would without Facebook, and I appreciate getting to share the details of Henry’s infancy with them.

But, with over 700 Facebook friends – people from each church, school, and job that I have been a part – things can get kind of crowded.  Some share in ways that I deem inappropriate.  Some use language that I would not.  Some share intimate details of their lives that I would rather not know.  Some gossip, slander, and ridicule.

And it just became too much.

So, I took a break.

What did I learn?  I learned that, more than ever, written words matter.  If all people know of me is what they see online, I need to use the words that I type to their fullest.  I need to use my words to build up, to point others to Christ.  I need to be careful not to tear down, or to show myself to be prideful.

Words matter.  How we use words matters.  Which words we use matters.  Why we speak matters.

I’m “back” on Facebook now, but with a certain amount of wisdom that I hope will be reflected in my words.