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why i quit being an instagram “influencer”

why i quit being an instagram “influencer”

You wouldn’t be able to convince me that Earth isn’t real because well, here I am—Watching it, breathing it, smelling it, and falling in love with it. But social media isn’t like that. It’s not even a place you go to. It’s this strange glowing newspaper we stare at— that we all decided was super important to stay up to date on. Or a platform to make ourselves known, seen, loved or accidentally hated. A playground for judgment, comparison, community, or creativity—You decide. It’s kind of like a choose your own fate game because only you can determine what symptoms from it you accept or decline. And what’s tough about that is, the choice is usually subconscious and instantaneous. Before you know it, maybe a negative thought or feeling slipped in when you weren’t looking. Maybe a spark of joy. Maybe nothing. I can’t speak for you but I am able to share my small journey and findings. //

This is honestly the strangest thing to write. Should I put my two weeks in for this kind of thing? Is this my exit interview?

I’ve come to the decision to throw in the towel on being an instagram “influencer”. (yuck, that word mildly makes me gag.) I’ve been making my living via Instagram for about three years now by accepting paid partnerships with brands and companies. And after hours on top of hours of prayer, I’m finished. (More like after a *kind* slap in the face from the Holy Spirit, but you get the idea.) I know in my body, mind and soul that it’s on to the next adventure for me. (And, I’m giddy. Like always.)

I was a tad tormented from the beginning—but like a *good daughter* of the Lord, I pushed that weird feeling of, “Maybe this isn’t completely right” to the back of the bus and said, “Nah. This feels pretty good to me.” Well, here we are. A few years later and I’m finally dealing with that weird feeling I knew wasn’t sitting well with my soul since day one. God is so patient with us and I am so utterly thankful.

I’m writing all of this to say that I’m going back to my roots and my passion. When I started sharing my writing on Instagram back in 2015—I devoted my account to writing about my journey with Jesus. One thing led to another and before I knew it, I was accepting brand deals and strategizing on how to expand my business. I was fighting to expand my business rather than working to expand Heaven on Earth—The Kingdom of God. When I should be fighting for God’s glory rather than my own—Sharing His light and love.

This isn’t a casting of judgement on Instagram Influencers—It’s just simply me running full speed ahead at my calling rather than hiding from it. Writing and creating. Living a life devoted to vulnerability and Jesus. Spreading kindness like confetti. Because if I’m completely honest, I grew terrified to share too much of my writings. So terrified that I began to share nothing at all—Which was the beginning of the end.

I’ve received my fair share of “I hate you because you’re a Christian” DMs and messages. But surprisingly, when I did receive the dreaded hate mail or comment—It was usually from a fellow follower of Jesus. And, I think that’s what always hurt the most. So I tucked my tail and figured it was better safe than sorry, let’s stick with the outfit photos and keep the captions simple. That hurts my soul to even think about, that I wanted to blend in rather than stand out. And not even really stand out, but just stand up and be the quirky, honest example of a follower of Jesus that I’m called to be.

As I’m writing this, I feel like this should be a six hundred part series. This isn’t even covering the bullet points of this journey. But, hopefully it covers a sliver of this wild adventure and learning curve justly. I’m also overwhelmed with joy while typing this. I know this is right and there are no more “back of the bus” thoughts lingering around. That’s something worth celebrating and rejoicing about. I’m so overwrought with joy for the future. I’m giddy to share my small adventure on Instagram honestly, organically and bravely. I’m thrilled to my very bones to be in love with Jesus—And that’s all I’ll ever need.

freshly painted pink walls up ahead // journal entry

freshly painted pink walls up ahead // journal entry

yes—it’s me. the girl that publishes her journal entries to her blog like it’s normal behavior.

here you’ll find a few small thoughts i scribbled into my journal this morning while embracing my first cup of coffee. i hope some piece of this give you hope—or maybe it will gives you a “hey, me too.” moment. that’s all i could ever want. //

sunday, january 20, 2019.

it’s 2019. the year i declared i’d work really hard yet i often find myself staring at my freshly painted pink wall feeling unmotivated and honestly, lethargic. (little side note, i just sighed and thought, “hey, this does kind of feel good. you know, journaling.)

the thought of breaking my gaze with my pink wall to actually go create something is terrifying. why? i don’t know. failure? fear of finding it boring? sometimes i can’t help but feel violently unequipped for life. like everyone got the jump on me. when ironically, people probably think the same about me.

i find myself wishing for more hours in a day; when in reality, if i didn’t spend eight out of twenty-four of those precious hours attempting to coax myself into doing something, maybe i wouldn’t feel that way. i guess all of this journaling, praying and rambling is me trying to work up the courage to admit yeah, i’m a bit discouraged. not because i’ve failed but more so because i look up at the mountain of dreams i’ve dreamt up and can’t help but let out the loudest sigh of my life—i’m suddenly and crippling aware of what it takes to chase those dreams and how long it’ll take to get to that mountain top.

but, what else do i have to do with my one and precious life? stare at my freshly painted pink wall?

i’ve always found a lot of courage by reminding myself i’m a dreamer—never once thinking a dream is too big or believing there is such thing as too many dreams. but lately, being a “dreamer” doesn’t have the same ring to it as it used to have in my instagram bio back in 2012. (really led me astray, john lennon.) nonetheless, i will forever remind myself that even curses can simply be blessings in disguise. maybe being a dreamer with pink walls isn’t so bad—by the grace of Jesus it’s gotten me here this far.

Scars and spines

Scars and spines
Stories aren’t always pretty with beautiful hardcover detailing and crisp pages. In fact—I would say they usually never are. I don’t mean a page or a chapter can’t be beautiful, but rather the novel as a whole. I find that the best books are well-loved with coffee stains, notes in the margins, and aged pages with folded corners.
There’s always heartache and sorrow nestled somewhere in-between our stories’ lines or maybe it’s found sprinkled through out. Some pages are filled with guilt and other pages are riddled with ugly shame.
I’m sometimes found torn between sharing my ugly chapters or attempting to hide them for good. But I’m gently reminded that some of those chapters are truly the mere backbone of my small story. Without the pain of my past, my redemption wouldn’t be near as miraculous or sweet.
Your story reveals the glory of God and when He starts a new chapter or even a new book in your saga, He’s asking you to turn the page and walk with Him. Sure—That doesn’t mean your scars will vanish and your painful pages will disappear, but who you are after you turn the page reveals the light of God. Your scars are a testimony to His beautiful healing love and forgiveness.
A scar is a wound that has healed. As you know, scars don’t bleed or hurt because they’re no longer an open cut or source of pain. Why would we be afraid to reveal something that has been healed and restored? When Jesus came back to life—He showed His scars. He showed His pain and the truth of who He is.
Let’s be vulnerable, mailable, and soft humans who show our truths and our scars. Humans who recite our poems soaked with melancholy along with our pages filled with sweet joy. It’s our backbone. These stories build our spines word by word and page by page. Stand tall—stand loved. I’ll roll up my sleeves and show you my healed wounds. I’ll tell you my story—I wouldn’t be the same without it.

Let there be light

Let there be light
I too, have laid in my bed playing with my old wounds. I’ve picked mental scabs until they bleed. I’ve replayed painful memories in my mind like watching a projection of a silent black and white horror film. I’ve felt that pain that seems to strike perfectly at midnight like clockwork. The pain that feels like someone is trying to beat down your ribcage at whatever the cost. The pain that makes you cry, kick, and scream how unfair it is but you’re faced with your own deafening silcence. I know this pain and used to hold it’s hand for hours, even days, on end. I’d practically pull up a chair for it to sit at dinner. I’d even bring it along to parties with me and introduce it, “Hi, I’m chronically depressed.”
For eleven years of my life, I carried that pain with me. I showed off my hurt like a medal I’d won in some battle. Truth is, I hadn’t won any battles. The bullets were still whizzing by, barely missing my head, and I was never drafted for war. I couldn’t see any wounds but I knew I was bleeding. Every morning before I left my house, I slapped that ache on like a nametag. I was hurt and I didn’t know who I was without the throbbing in my chest. I identified with my pain.
I’m not sure what hurt you or why you’re bleeding. I don’t know how long you’ve held your pain’s hand, but I’m writing to tell you; it really does heal and you’re not one with your pain. God’s love covers it all and He created you with love and stardust; not pain and bitter memories.
It’s just like an arm that’s been broken and had a cast put on. Once the arm is healed, you can’t keep wearing the dirty sweat-soaked cast. If you do, bacteria will grow and start to eat away at your flesh like a buffet. Then, you’ll have a new kind of wound. A wound that was never intended. This type of bacteria can only grow in dark, damp places. In order to rid your skin of this bacteria, you have to cut off the cast and expose your skin to the light.
Expose your soul to the light and let your heart heal from the hurt. Step into God’s presence and breathe. Let go of whatever memories or past hurts your hands are gripping so strongly that your knuckles are beginning to turn to a shade of white. God’s love pours over the Earth endlessly everyday; all you have to do is listen and seek Him. Hold onto His grace and forgiveness. He will show you how to love and let go of things that throb. The things you were never intended to carry and bear.
God is so patiently waiting for you to run to Him and hand over your ache. You don’t have to keep wearing the sweaty pain-soaked cast. Rather than replaying the memories, ask God to fill your thoughts with things of Him. Have God teach your heart of forgiveness. Forgiveness is truly the most powerful tool for cutting off casts and mending wounds.
Allow your heart to be warmed and softened by God’s sweet love and presence. The pain will fade like a bad dream and you’ll be left with an honest medal. The honor of having a healed, forgiving heart and a light soul. The honor of knowing you’re loved and forgiveness restores.
 — Jak
Verses of forgiveness, love, and healing.
  • Ephesians 4:31-32
  • Colossians 3:13 (I recommend reading all of Colossians 3. It’s one of my absolute favorites.)
  • Matthew 11:28-30
  • Psalms 147:3
  • Genesis 1:1-4

Back Pocket Dreams

Back Pocket Dreams
If there is anything I’ve learned so far, the most noteworthy and honest thing is: a grateful heart is a force of nature.
There was a season in my life where I felt left behind and frost-bitten. Constantly comparing my handful of high-fives and way-to-gos to other humans’ success stories. I could hardly offer a bit of well-written advice on how to survive while these other great souls were living out their dreams fully and unapologetically. I’d lie in bed at night with that queasy question, “what about me?” And if you know this question, you know it leaves you alone with your teeth chattering, afraid, and with a chill that the warmest quilt in the world can’t shake.
Because I was constantly pointing my finger like a child in a toy store at other people’s gifts, I slowly forgot about my own gifts God had placed in my pocket. My gifts were just rattling around in my back pocket like loose change. Sometimes they’d clank together and make a familiar noise when God would gently remind me of them. But, I would scoff at just the mere smell of them. “God, can’t you see? Writing isn’t all that its cracked-up to be. Besides, no one reads anymore. And people with English degrees end up right where they started once they graduate. Can I trade this out for something?” 
So with that thought, I tried my hand at other gifts. All which ended up with a bullseye of failure on my forehead. When I’d fail, I’d slump off to the security of my bedroom and throw my hands up at God wondering why He was forgetting about me. I’d lie there in silence with Him with that same soft and familiar rattling sound of my gifts clanking together once again like marbles in the pocket of my jeans. Gently reminding me of what I had to do.
After a while, my heart became tired of being stubborn. My soul was exhausted and constantly stretching out it’s arms as far as it could reach to my typewriter. But sitting down and writing was basically signing myself up for long nights that turn into days, tears, and becoming honestly raw in front of humanity. As Ernest Hemingway puts it, “It’s easy to write. Just sit in front of your typewriter and bleed.” I gulped but felt God’s presence like a warm and comforting hand softly squeezing mine.
Being grateful was one of my first weapons of choice I used to combat the enemy in this new journey of embracing my gifts. I became thankful of where I am, who I am, and the gifts in my hand rather than comparing myself to the rest of humanity. I started the day by whispering sweet and organic “thank-yous” for the breath in my lungs and the smell of coffee hitting my nose. When small things happened that made me crack a smile, another “thank you” would slip from my lips. Slowly but surely, this became my everyday. Slowly but surely, my heart became softer, warmer, and full of thanks.
A grateful heart is a force to be reckoned with. It’s one of the reasons people do live out their dreams, find their callings, and live beautiful captivating lives. The enemy can’t parade his shiny and shifty lies around your heart when your heart is too busy hanging pictures up on the walls depicting thanks and praise in golden frames. Being grateful has wonderful symptoms. It bleeds out into your happiness, your everyday life, your fullness, your health, and is even contagious among other humans. A grateful heart is warm, honest, and nearly impossible to ignore.
I hope you too pull your gifts out of your back pocket. I hope your mornings are filled to the brim with love soaked “thank yous” and “amens”. I hope you don’t let your back-pocket gifts clank together for as long as I did. I hope your heart is grateful and a greenhouse for growing your dreams.
 — Jak
 Verses that inspire thankfulness, encouragement, wisdom, and love:
  • Psalm 100
  • Psalm 34:1-22
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  (or 5:12-24 because it’s so beautiful)

Yours Truly

Yours Truly
Look! Another post! In the same week! *highfives self*
In my last post (here), I mentioned my feelings about blogging and some fears I have. Along with those thoughts, I told myself if I’m gonna blog, I’m gonna blog. That means frequent posts filled with organic and honest content. I have no desire to fluff up my life and make it seem like I’m living some kind of perfect dream. My dream is to fill this blog with things people can actually take away and equip themselves with. I want to be vulnerable and open. I want to share what is actually going on and how I’m looking to God for help. I’m not interested in writing about how I ate avocado toast this morning and then preceded to have a perfect day. (Although, I love me some avo toast.) I’m passionate for writing about the parts of this human existence where we desperately need the light of God to shine on. Of course, we still need God on the mountain tops of happiness and I will love to write about those times and feelings. But, in world full of highlight reels, I believe it’s time to be raw and honest. God isn’t after perfection. He’s after the broken and the tired. I want to help Him by showing whoever is reading this that I have bad days, weeks, or months and how I reached out to God for help.

This blog post today is more of a declaration over my blog and to it’s readers. You’ll probably find me on here more-times-than-not thumping my bible. But, I’m only a bible thumper because God truly pulled me out of a life full of darkness. (Plenty more to come on my story to salvation.) My one and only desire is to point the way to God and help others find His light.

On a completely sudden random turn of thought, I adopted Agnes over two months ago! She is a miracle dog and honestly one of the biggest blessings I’ve ever received. She turned nine a few days ago and we celebrated with a big-ol’-windows-down car ride only to learn that she despises wind blowing in her face. I later learned, bulldogs can’t breathe when wind is blowing in their face. I’m new to this dog-mom thing, okay. She’s fine.

But, here are some cute pictures of us living the good life together. Nothing but smiles from both of us. Per usual.
I’ve also placed some links below just in case your curious about my outfit. So, feel free to clicky-click on those.
Thanks for reading, y’all and keeping up with my thought train. It can get kinda crazy up here. Xo.