True confessions of a Facebook stalker
There he was. With her. Arm looped comfortably over her shoulder. Their heads turned toward each other. Smiling. Happy.
The photo appeared on Facebook when a mutual friend posted an album chronicling a recent party. There they were, crudding up my otherwise-sunny Tuesday morning. Instantly, I clicked over to his profile to gather more intel. They weren’t listed as “in a relationship”—not yet. But the flirtatious posts she’d left on his wall, coupled with his cutesy responses, left little to the imagination.
The more I looked, the more jealous I got.
The simple answer—the grown-up answer, perhaps—would have just been to de-friend him. It had been over for more than a year. Relationship experts, social commentators, and opinionators have already railed against me, and others like me, in thousands of words scattered across the web. Get over it. Cut the cord. Stop stalking him on Facebook. Social networks, they say, have turned the break-up into a kind of relationship purgatory: So long as you remain “friends,” you can never really get over him.
I can’t say what the right course of action is for anyone else, but for me, the answer to the jealousy seemed to go beyond a simple de-friending. Sure, keeping tabs on him was part of the problem—but only part of it. The bigger issue was the roiling envy. And let’s face it: Isn’t that what most of us face, on or off the web, when an ex gets a new boyfriend or girlfriend?
As I examined my own thinking in this situation, I realized that the jealousy I was feeling came down to one word: fear. This surprised me. I didn’t think of myself as fearful. But as I picked apart the envy, I realized that fear and jealousy were more closely related than I initially thought.
I was jealous because I was afraid I couldn’t be happy again.
I was jealous because I was afraid she—the new girl—was better, prettier, nicer, smarter, whatever-er, than I was.
I was jealous because I was afraid I wouldn’t find what they had.
And so on.
The Bible is pretty clear on the antidote to fear. “There is no fear in love,” it promises, “but perfect love casteth out fear. 1 But as I prayed to feel more of God’s love, I ended up getting a more specific answer. I was loved, yes—I felt God assuring me of that. More specifically, I was chosen.
What does it mean to be chosen? More than just reminding us of our value, chosen implies that our value is recognized and needed. The worth given to us by God isn’t passive—it’s part of His active covenant with us. We are worthy, and we are being called upon, each moment, to exercise that worth—to express it in ways that bless us and others.
I love the way Jesus expressed this in the book of John. “I have chosen you, and ordained you,” he told his followers, “that ye should go and bring forth fruit.” 2
Jesus’ words changed the way I was thinking about ex-boyfriends and previous relationships. Instead of trying to get over envy, I asked myself what it would be like to live with the knowledge that I was chosen. Chosen by God to be appreciated and loved. Chosen by God to live a life of abundance, as established by His law. Chosen by God to be fruitful—to live a life of joy, and fearlessness, and purpose, regardless of what anyone else was doing on or off Facebook.
What I like most about the concept of being chosen, though, is that it keeps us out of competition with each other. To be chosen is to be valued beyond our wildest dreams. To be made to feel special beyond what we could hope for. Feeling that deep down not only washes our hearts clean from envy, but it allows us to be happy—truly happy. Even when an ex’s status changes from “single” to “in a relationship.”
- I John 4:18 ↩
Topics: Happiness | Tags: bf, competition, contentment, dissatisfaction, ex-boyfriend, ex-girlfriend, Facebook stalking, gf