Last week I took an inspired break from social media, Spotify, and Diet DP. I know, what an odd handful of things to give up, huh? But those things are extremely meaningful for me, and since only Heavenly Father would know the magnitude of the sacrifice in asking me to give them up, I was pretty certain it was His idea and not mine. So I did it.
From Wednesday to Sunday, I deleted Instagram from my phone. I didn't update my blog. I only listened to DMCO music. And I still have not had a Diet DP. There were a handful of great reasons to take a break from all those things, and a few obvious outcomes that I expected. I sing better when I drink more water, and since we had a big DMCO weekend (which I promise to write about later) I knew that less Diet DP would be a very good thing. I expected a little more balance in my life. And I hoped for some divine help with things that have been weighing heavily on my heart.
There were some things I was unsure about, too. I wasn't sure if the desired outcome was for me to abandon social media forever. I wasn't sure if there was some other really important purpose in my days that I was missing because I'm always thinking about Instagram and blog posts. And I definitely wasn't sure I was going to be able to last for 5 whole days without music and Diet DP! But, I was hopeful. And after a pretty desperate few weeks of floundering around, I was grateful for a potential resolution to my distress.
What an amazing, surprising, exhausting, introspective, and totally overwhelming 5 days it has been!
First, I did it. That alone is unbelievable, and I'm as alarmed by that little feat as you probably are.
Second, I'm still here. No abandoning was necessary, and I am so grateful and happy about that. All blogs and IG accounts remain intact, although they may receive a little updating, and hopefully a little more purposeful and regular posting.
Third, there were side effects over the last five days that I could never have foreseen...which I'm sure is no accident, because if I had foreseen them, I never would have willingly eliminated all that stuff. Wednesday and Thursday were not all that challenging, but by mid-Saturday, I started to tank...shockingly fast and to depths that I have not experienced in years. I was irritable, frustrated, exhausted, discouraged, hopeless, unreasonable, and overwhelmingly sad.
And fourth, the answers I hoped for and the resolution I needed did not come until Monday morning...the designated end of my social media fast. They didn't gradually descend over the five days. Tender mercies didn't float down early because I was in utter despair on Sunday night. I wasn't rescued from my grief at 8:30pm when I finally decided to just give up and go to sleep...or at 1:00am when I woke up restless and still sad...or at 4:00am when I woke up grumpy and exhausted. It wasn't until 10:58am, after a monumental prayer this morning and almost an entire Institute lesson, that the floods of inspiration I had been looking for, finally, finally came, and that I really understood what the five days had been for.
I could write volumes about all the things I've learned in the last five days, but I will save some of the details for future posts. Really, there's a lot. Mostly what I learned is that Heavenly Father is totally and completely aware of us individually and knows exactly what we need to get us where we're supposed to be. I learned that there is wisdom and beauty in having to endure for a little while. I learned that there is power and confidence in keeping commitments and staying the course. I learned that what I could see on Wednesday was such a small part of what Heavenly Father had planned. And I learned that it is possible to be cheerful and filled with joy even while still carrying the same load I was carrying five days ago. He didn't take away the burdens...just the weight of them. And for all of those things, I am extremely grateful.