Hi, my sweet e-friends! Hope you all have had a prosperous New Year so far. As many of you may know, I took a brief hiatus from social media (particularly Instagram and Facebook) while I participated in 21 days of Prayer and Fasting. This is something that my church does twice a year. We were all encouraged to fast from something in our lives for 21 days and spend the time normally spent doing said "thing" instead communing with God in some way. Up until now, I'd never joined in. 

Thanks to a new women's study group I've also become a part of over the last year, I have been learning more about the Holy Spirit and His presence in my life. During all the excess surrounding the holiday season, I was feeling lead to take a break from the socials anyway. When they announced at church one Sunday in December that 21 Days was coming up, I knew now was my time. 

So, starting January 6th, I deleted my Instagram and Facebook apps. I jotted down some ideas of things to do to when I was stumped on how to fill the time I usually spent online: pray (obvi), read, declutter, call someone, etc. And, I ventured forward with high hopes. 

21 Days later, here's some of the things I learned.

earrings / sweater

I didn't miss it.
Sure, the first few days I caught myself picking up my phone to open the Instagram app an embarrassing number of times. But after a while, I got used to it, and I truly enjoyed the break. I found myself finally finishing things that I'd been neglecting for months. I deleted THOUSANDS of old blog pictures from the cloud that never made it to a post. I finished the PBS docu-series on Country Music that I started in October. I cleaned out my closet a bit and made several sales on Poshmark. I felt more engaged at work. My marriage grew stronger. I slept deeper (as evidenced by the intensely vivid dreams I've had almost every. single. night.) I realized how much I loved my own life and the material things I've been blessed with. I didn't feel near as much jealousy, nor did I envy what others had. I felt less stressed overall, and my spiritual life was refreshed. 

It wasn't a cure all.
About a week into all of this, I was feeling overall more positive vibes in my life. However, while I felt no longing for social media, I also didn't feel like I'd had any Spiritual growth...which was sort of the whole point. I had an epiphany one night in bed (or dare I say the Spirit suggested to me) that I was just filling the time I normally spent on the internet with other stuff to keep me busy. The phrase, "stop being so busy," came to my mind.
I've been trying really hard to be ok with not multitasking. To be ok with just sitting and having a long conversation with someone. Or spending time in God's presence or enjoying His creation and not worrying about the things I think I need to be doing. It's still a work in progress, but I've been trying to intentionally not overfill my plate with things that really aren't important. 

I'm worried about coming back. 
Ok, let's back up...when I first started Abbylish, almost 2 years ago, I honestly viewed it as a potential career change. I had big dreams of leaving the nursing profession and working for myself making six figures, rolling in brand deals and hundreds of thousands of followers. Instagram would have you believe that most other millennials are doing just that!

So while I was preparing for this "big life change," I did offer up a prayer or two because I wanted God to bless this endeavor and to make sure that fashion blogging would be a Christlike career (I went to a Christian college, and in nursing school, they really tried to push the idea that as nurses we were the hands and feet of Jesus. So let's just say choosing a "Godly profession" was heavily emphasized during my formative years...maybe too much so). I took the plunge though, without really waiting for an answer from God, and I gave it my all. 

After months of frustration, self doubt, comparison, self-induced stress, and a little bit of fun here and there, I came to the realization that Abbylish is just a hobby for me, and I'm most definitely better off. Full time influencers are LITERALLY full time. Like 24/7 full time. They are subjected to some of the cruelest comments I've ever read. I even started thinking about how I would manage my time if I worked for myself. I can't imagine it going well. 😳

On top of all that, all of the things you have to do to "grow" your online presence and therefore gain more business, is baffling to me. You need lots of followers, but you also need followers who are engaged. So you better engage with others to get them to engage back! Comment! Like! Save! Share!
I can't tell you how many times I've created a post about something very heartfelt, and all of the comments are "cute shirt, babe!" It's nobody's fault, really. Unfortunately, it's just how the game is played. But the disingenuousness and inauthenticity of it all was just starting to wear me down. 

All that being said, I'm a little hesitant to return! I'm concerned about promoting consumerism and materialism. I've always enjoyed fashion and shopping, but you don't need the shoes, and I'm tired of telling you that you do. I'm also concerned about protecting my marriage. I realized how selfish I've been in practically forcing my husband to take part in my hobby. He's been so helpful since Day 1 with taking all of my photos and building my website. But he doesn't enjoy it. And, I'd rather spend our weekends doing something together that we both love instead of gallivanting all over town to take outfit pics. And finally, social media itself, although not an inherently bad thing, yields to feelings of discontent. I love our home. I love the clothes in my closet. I love the trips we take. But when I see what others have, even others I know and love, I somehow feel like mine's not enough.


In the end, I will always enjoy fashion, styling outfits, and sharing where I got cute pieces. 
 I enjoy sharing blog posts like these with the ten of you who read them. 😉 I enjoy using social media to express creativity and to connect with people in my own city and in cities all over the world. I like taking pretty pictures and encouraging others to try something new.
I'm still on the fence about it all. I'm wary of jumping back in but also fearful of walking away completely. Prayers are appreciated while I work through some of these emotions and thoughts. Just wanted to give you all an update and be as transparent as possible! 

I also encourage every singe one of you to take a break from social media every so often. Whether it's a week, a month, or a year, I guarantee you will emerge from the experience refreshed and renewed. Let me know if you try it!! 


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