DIGITAL BREAKS, BREAKOUTS, AND BREAKING UP WITH FEAR
It's been 12 days since I've scrolled through Instagram or eaten a piece of bread. Can you sense my slight panic from over there?
I’m in the middle of this 30-day digital and junk food detox (you can read more here), and I’ve been getting a lot of questions about it. To sum up my observations simply: the past two weeks have been weird and hard and full of glory.
I’ve cleaned the house every day and gone to bed at about 9 PM every night because I HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO DO. I finish work early pretty consistently because I’m not wasting my time scrolling. I’ve read 3 books already, and I’m only two weeks into this thing. I think I’ve spent more time talking to God than I have all year. I haven’t needed my inhaler once and my insomnia is basically non-existent. I am so tired of cooking already. I reach for my phone out of habit and then see the absence of Instagram and Facebook, so I frustratingly throw it down (this happens a lot).
A brief backstory/confession: when I first felt the Lord nudging me toward this detox, I thought it was a little crazy but reluctantly decided to obey. I put it on my calendar. I wrote down all of the details and shared the plans with my husband. I wondered if I should see a therapist or a doctor because this idea was slightly insane. I started buying paleo-approved groceries and praying about the process.
A day or two later, I was contacted by a few different people in the wedding industry about the dates of some of my design work. And guess what? All of the important dates were in the middle of my detox plan. (For those unfamiliar: whenever styled shoots happen in the wedding business, it is clear that contributing designers are supposed to post about the photoshoot to increase page views and networking opportunities. Basically, I could be missing out on lots of business or future collaborations if I followed through with my detox plan).
I thought through my options:
1) I could change the dates of my detox and start after the important wedding launches.
2) I could take a brief break from the detox to post about the photoshoots and then hop back off social media again.
3) Or I could keep going as scheduled and risk the consequences.
So, I was thinking about these options and leaning toward changing the dates. I hadn’t started yet, after all, and it was the smartest thing to do from a business standpoint. It felt like a good compromise.
But then I heard a voice inside me, “Alex, do you really trust Me?”
I don’t know if you’ve ever felt the voice of God before, but whoa—it is an experience. I knew what the Lord was leading me to do, and I wasn’t super thrilled about it.
Dr. Charles Stanley preaches a beautiful challenge frequently, “Obey God and leave all the consequences to Him.” I want to live like that—no matter how difficult it is for this practical, analytical, rule-following soul of mine. Like the old hymn says, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way…”
Something weird happened as Kevin and I started eating clean. About a week in, both of our faces started breaking out pretty badly. I remembered that the same thing happened when we did the Whole30 a while back, so Kevin did a bit of research. Apparently, breakouts happen to a lot of people as they start cutting out the artificial foods. It is a sign that the toxins are trying to leave the body. All of the good stuff starts pushing the bad stuff out.
I think God is using this media fast in a similar way. He is healing places I didn’t know were bruised. He is uncovering sins I didn’t know were buried. He is calling me out upon the waters, and I am hesitantly stepping forward. He is answering all kinds of prayers that I’m usually too busy to pray about. He is revealing the importance of spiritual disciplines, and I am no longer too distracted to pay attention to Him. He is pushing out fear, worry, and bitterness and then replacing it with more trust, peace, and forgiveness. God is pushing away the bad stuff for His glory.
Don’t get me wrong: His glory doesn’t always feel like our good. I don’t want to pretend that you can just give up a few things for a limited time and life falls into place because that is not the Gospel (and that’s definitely not what is happening here). Most days have been uncomfortable and unsettled. Digging up sins is far from fun. Obeying the Spirit is almost never the easier route. I’m learning to be okay with all of this, though, because God shows up in the uncomfortable places. Awkward conversations are happening in the most beautiful, glory-filled way, and I can’t shut up about everything God is doing over here.
Friends, if you feel the Lord leading you into something, follow Him. Take the step. Make the leap. Ask the questions. Pray the prayer. Bring out the shovel and do the digging. Put your faith in Jesus, and risk the consequences.
Because there’s no doubt about it: He is a good, good, Father.
I'm always looking for sermon, podcast, and book recommendations, so I thought it might be helpful to share a few of my favorites from the past couple of weeks with y'all as well. I plan on continuing this recommendation section in my future posts, so be on the lookout for these links if you want to add more intention to your week (and send any my way that you've been loving)!
To watch (or listen): Work and Rest (Sermon by Matt Chandler)
To read: Goliath Must Fall by Louie Giglio
To sing: The More I Seek You (Kari Jobe)