The Slow Creep of Conformity

This post is part of a new project that I’m working on. Visit Jess Alston’s website to learn more about the Dig Deep Podcast.

“Become what you contemplate.”

― Ashley’s Mirror (also wisdom brought home from a seminary class trip to Italy)


Here’s what I want to say to you (with a bold confidence): I would not follow the pressure to turn around backwards in the elevator—even if everyone else faced the back and I was left as the only one facing forward.

But the truth is this: Most days, I think I might conform.

It’s a wishy-washy phrase, “I think I might.” But the whole ordeal makes me uncomfortable, a lot like the guy sweating and smirking and darting his eyes and checking his watch as he slowly creeps around to join the group in this 1962 psychology experiment on conformity.

Does anyone wake up, check their iPhone, wash their face, brush their teeth, all while contemplating how they can’t wait for a brand new day of conforming? I highly doubt it. We’re unique individuals, designed by a God who counts our distinct strands of hair. And yet, it’s human nature to follow.

For me, it happens with a slow creep.

Joanna Gaines publishes a cookbook. I need it. I flip to a recipe for what Joanna calls The Best-Ever Fluffy Pancakes. I don’t even love pancakes (more of an omelet girl who loves the idea of pancakes). These Best-Ever Fluffy Pancakes are filled with flour, sugar, and buttermilk. I tell myself I don’t eat delicious things made with flour, sugar, or buttermilk. But Joanna Gaines loves them, so I love them.

Therefore, I need these pancakes.

The pancakes, they’re a silly example. I have bigger ones—like stacks and stacks of pancakes worth, in every banana and chocolate chip and blueberry flavor. But I don’t think that they fit in this space where we’re separated by screens and trolls and a tangled web.

Just know that I get it, that it’s hard to know who to follow and to where and for how long. It’s hard to recognize when patterns of this world, like operating out of fear and anger and injustice, have successfully seeped into our entire being.

Seep: verb, meaning, 1: to flow or pass slowly through fine pores or small openings. 2: to spread.

The seeping and creeping? It happens slowly, sometimes without us even knowing. It spreads, to every part of us. To others.

I’m digesting a lot after this week’s Dig Deep. (So much so that I rewrote this post multiple times in my head and in my journal). Here are a few highlights:

  1. Trust. Jess shared this week, “For real transformation to take place, you have to put your trust in the designer.” Trusting in a long-term vision in a quick-fix world is a daily, uphill battle. And letting go of control of the execution of the long-term vision for a life wholly transformed? Well, that’s a whole ‘nother.
  2. Butterflies. Honestly, I could write an entire book on butterflies. I have a butterfly tattoo with a butterfly that forms the B in “Believe” on my writing hand. It’s in honor of my grandmother who we released live butterflies for at her funeral. When Jess shared about the metamorphosis in the life of a butterfly, I felt overwhelmed with the picture of transformation that has straddled both an airy cliché and a deep-seated place in my soul for many years. Mysterious beauty.
  3. Following. We are all consuming something. We are choosing what we consume and digest. And we are all following something, someone in this world.

Who will you choose to follow? What will you trust in for true transformation?

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