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INCOMING: Long post alert! 
This might be the longest blog post I've ever written.
I apologize in advance, but I promise it's worth reading! 

If you're an avid watcher of my Insta Stories (bless your heart if you find me entertaining), you may know that I took a little break from Instagram recently because I thought I had been "shadow banned."

"What is a shadow ban?" you might ask.
Answer: Who the H knows?

But after a few hours of going down a research rabbit hole, this is what I learned. 

It's basically this theory that Instagram is hiding your stuff from potential followers (current followers can still see everything) because things you are doing are either breaking Instagram's rules and/or making you look like a bot. Some people don't even think it's a real thing, but assuming it is legit, I'm sure Instagram implemented this for security reasons. 

Unfortunately for me, I discovered two fake accounts using my pictures and bio information on Instagram. I reported them both, and they were removed. Also, unfortunately for me, I had put the hashtag #styleoutsidethescrubs in my bio, so therefore it was in the bios of the fake accounts that I reported. So, long story short, because that hashtag had been reported (either inadvertently by me when I reported those accounts or by someone who may just be annoyed by me 😂 that is a possibility...), it's considered "broken." And apparently you want to stay away from using broken hashtags as it may cause you to look spammy.


So somehow, last Friday night, I started to get the impression that my Abbylish Insta account had been shadow banned. I searched for hashtags I had used that day like #fridayflatlay, for example, and my post was NOWHERE to be found. I was frustrated. Tears were shed.

Several articles discussing shadow bans suggested taking a few days off of Instagram in hopes that the ban would be lifted. So that's what I decided to do. I didn't comment, post, like, or reply to anything for a few days. Only a few days, but honestly, it was just what the doctor ordered.

The shadow ban, whether it's real or not, actually helped me a little lot.


It's been almost one year since I started Abbylish. 

To be completely honest, last March when I hit "publish" on my first post, I hoped that by today I'd be rolling in brand deals, have upwards of 100k Instagram followers, and no longer be working as a nurse. I see so many other women out there who appear to achieve just what I mentioned above: start up a space on the internet, grow an incredible following seemingly overnight, and become renowned "influencers." I used to be one of those people who (out of jealously most likely) would say that Influencer is not a real job title. However, now that I've decided to dip my toe in this particular pool, I want success SO. BAD.

I spend all of my free time creating blog posts, taking pictures, forcing my husband to take pictures, shopping, emailing brands, researching, listening to podcasts, studying the Instagram algorithm, choosing strategic hashtags, and constantly yearning to make my dream a reality. 
It's a lot more work than I thought it would be, but it's so fun. 

But then at night, when I'm scrolling through my feed looking at everybody else's little squares of fake perfection (even though I said for the millionth night in a row that I was going to have no screen time an hour before bed), I can't help but wonder why I haven't achieved such quick success like all of these other girls did?

Is it because I'm not a size 00?
Is it because I can't afford designer pieces?
Is it because I don't have long, flowing, supermodel hair?
Should I get extensions??
Why didn't I get into this sooner before the market was saturated?
Why can't I achieve the freakin' messy bun?!?!
Am I not creative enough to do this?
Should I do more giveaways?
Am I not "engaging" enough with others on the 'gram?
What brands will work with someone with 2,500 followers?

And then it usually takes a really deep turn, and I start asking myself questions like:

Is God keeping Influencer success from me because he knows it won't be good for me?
Is blogging and influencing a Christlike career?
Am I trying to be something I'm not?
Am I lacking in faith?
Is blogging even something that's going to last?
Should I keep gunning for this, or is it time to tap out?

I start having thoughts that it would all just be so much easier if I went back to life as I knew it pre-Abbylish. 

In the last year, I have spent so much time fretting over this blog that probably 50 people read at best. 
I have fought with my husband over taking pictures because I can't afford a photographer. 
I have spent so much money on clothes, filter presets, domain names, and online courses, and have only brought in about $500 in commission and gifted products. 

On top of all this stress that I'm piling upon on myself, things have been changing at my real job. A few of my co-workers are leaving and moving on to other things (cue seething jealousy). My name was suggested to my manager for doing a job that I really don't want to do and to be working with certain people that I really don't want to be working with. I'm grateful that my co-workers think I can handle it, but I've been so apprehensive about it that I've cried and considered calling out sick. I've been dreaming about leaving nursing for a while now, and with all of this going on, I desperately want to.

I think that's why I was becoming so feverish about all things Abbylish. I saw it as my way out, and it was quickly becoming something I had to do to escape my current reality instead of something fun that I wanted to do and share with y'all.

And then this *maybe not even* real shadow ban happened.
I decided to take a few days off: something I'd secretly been wanting to do for while but felt like I never could if I ever wanted to be a legitimate "influencer" for crying out loud!!!

I hit a really low point on Saturday after I decided to take my hiatus. I was dreading the upcoming work week. I felt out of control. I felt a little panicked. And, looking back, I was probably just a few steps away from a panic attack. Greg comforted me while I cried about work, and he said some really clarifying statements that only a man can offer (eye roll emoji). I know that I can get so caught up in my own thoughts. Greg's concrete way of thinking can be so annoying sometimes, but this time it snapped me back to reality.

I asked for his thoughts, and he told me, "I think you're putting way too much pressure on yourself with your blog. It doesn't seem to be making you happy anymore. And I think it's because you want to quit your job and you know you can't."

I love that man.

On top of his words, I just happened to stumble upon (I see you, God) the blogs of two of my friends who kind of seemed to be in the same boat as me and that was refreshing.
See those posts here and here.
And then, at church the following Sunday, the sermon reminded me that too often we try to fill voids in our life with stuff, or people, or good feelings when we should be filling them with Christ. The guy delivering the sermon shared a quote from St. Augustine: "our heart is restless until it rests in You."

I want that tattooed on my forehead.

When I was a kid, I used to think that people who seek to fill voids in their heart with things other than Christ must be addicts, junkies, or bad people.
But now I get it.
They're just adults living this crazy life.
They're human. 

No matter how much I want to fill my heart and life with Christ, I find myself getting distracted by the things of this world. And each time I get caught up in some new plan of my own, it usually drives me to such frustration, that I come back to Christ and wonder why I can't remember that He will be the only thing that truly fulfills me. Why I can't remember that happiness is not a destination. And why I can't remember that He has numbered my days. He already knows what's going to happen during every second of my life, so why am I working so hard to try and make things go my way?

Thank God for His grace that allows me to start fresh again (and again and again and again).

So, I guess what I'm trying to say is that, once again, something that seemed so disappointing and detrimental has turned out for good. He works all things together for good (Romans 8:28). And I praise Him for the story that He is writing.


I know this was a doozy of a post, but my heart had been feeling so troubled and now feels so light. I wanted to share my joys and insights with you in hopes that if you're going through something similar, you can find hope and endurance in Christ.

Love you all so very much!