It was a cold January night, and I was sitting at my dining room table eating dinner with my family. My husband looked at me and asked, “What are you afraid of?” I responded, “I’m afraid He won’t be there. I’m afraid I’ll be lonely and left wanting with an empty hole in my heart that will never be filled.”
A few weeks prior, a friend had decided to leave social media for 2021 and was inviting others to join her. I saw the invitation and immediately felt a tug on my heart. I began to wonder why. Suddenly, I found myself face-to-face with Christ as He asked me, “If social media was the last thing you needed to give up in order to follow me, would you do it?” I felt a deep pit in my stomach, not knowing whether I would be able to say yes or no. I realized that something much deeper was going on beyond giving up scrolling.
“After this he went out, and saw a tax collector, named Levi, sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he left everything, and rose and followed him.” -Luke 5:27-28
Christ’s “follow me” to Levi was a call to search my own heart and listen closely to what Christ was asking me to leave behind. The moment I deleted social media, I felt a huge relief. That relief made me realize how blind I had been. For years, social media had been slowly filling the most important places in my heart with fleeting distractions. I was suddenly free to open my heart more to my children, my husband, and most importantly, my life as a disciple.
However, after giving up social media, He gently and swiftly showed me that this would be the first of many things I would need to leave behind to follow Him. I began to feel like Eustice in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by CS Lewis. He had been turned into a dragon because of his greediness. Upon meeting Aslan and desiring to return back to his human form, Aslan strips off the dragon’s scales, bit by bit. It was the painful tearing of the scales that transformed Eustice back into a boy. Eustice says, “The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt.” I am beginning to realize that leaving social media was the first layer of scales that Christ was removing from me. As I go forward, I can see how scale by scale, Christ is transforming me to become more like Him.
Like Eustice, it is painful but also sweet. When Aslan removes his scales he experiences pain, but then promptly he feels well again, realizing he had been transformed back into a boy. After letting Christ remove a scale in my life, He immediately filled that place in my heart with new life. It is in clinging to Him through the pain which is leading me to a deep and abiding joy. It is allowing me to stand with my heart and eyes open, waiting for Him to remove the next scale. I know now that there is more to leave behind. It might be big or it might be small. Either way, it’s a continual call from Christ to follow Him.
So, my dear brothers and sisters, what is it that Christ is asking you to give up today? Are you frightened? He will not leave you empty or wanting. Rather, you may just find something you thought was filling your heart actually just left you wanting for days, months, or years. Do not be afraid of where He is leading you. Do not be afraid of the little or big things He is calling you to leave behind to draw you closer into His Sacred Heart. Be ready, like Levi, to leave everything, rise, and follow Christ.
Originally from a small town in South Dakota, Theresa McDonald now makes her home in the Twin Cities with her husband, Joseph, and their two young children. She studied Theology and Catholic Studies at the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND. Theresa has a passion for books, theology of the body, and photography. What she loves most is experiencing God in the simple, everyday life as a wife and mother.