The smell of vinegar hung in the air, strongly, boldly filling the kitchen. Water and vinegar dripped inside my microwave in messy puddles. I had been trying a Pinterest cleaning tip that swore to easily clean my microwave by heating up water and vinegar in a bowl.
Instead, the bowl had somehow exploded in my microwave, and as if to mock me even further, the blotches of stuck-on food didn’t budge.
I’m a Pinterest fail.
But that’s not all. I’m not always the pictures in my Instagram feed, perfectly cropped and glossy. If we met in real life, you’d see I’m actually bitterly sarcastic and you’d smell the IcyHot on my neck because I’m plagued with worry and headaches.
I’m a 20-something who loves technology, who posts and tweets and pins and uses the hashtag “blessed” when sometimes it really should be #struggling.
You won’t see it on my Facebook page, but I don’t own a pair of skinny jeans. I run in ratty T-shirts from college and not the coolest compression tanks. I’ve gotten the same haircut since I was in high school, but I’d rather you see pictures of the cute things my dog does, the vacation spots we go to, the finished DIY project and the flowers my husband surprises me with.
What you don’t see is the silly fight we had last night. What you don’t see is that most days I would rather open a box of macaroni for dinner than try to make that recipe of basil pesto chicken I pinned. What you don’t see are the cracks in the wood and the imperfections in our DIY deck. What you don’t see is I actually got carsick on the way to the vacation where I got that awesome sunset photo. What you don’t always see is the wreck that I am.
I’m leaving parts out— the parts that hurt, that sting, that aren’t helped by an Instagram filter. I’m excluding the things that don’t fit into my clever hashtag. I’m worried that if we did meet in person, you would think I’m not witty or cool or graceful or poised. You wouldn’t like me.
I also worry that I’m not the person who should be writing these things. I worry that I’m not cut out for clever blogs and headlines. I don’t want you to see the hours I spend aching over a blinking cursor, the time I spend struggling with words, the rejection e-mails I get.
And I forget that being a wreck of a woman is OK. Just as the sun may highlight every flaw, every fail, it also loves them and hugs them with warmth and reminds me that I’m wholly his.
It is him who loves my anxieties and my shortcomings, and I can’t hide those. We shouldn’t hide those. Psalm 139: 13-16 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
This doesn’t fit into a Twitter post because reality is bigger and greater with God, and I think I forget that. I forget that Abraham’s wife Sarah was too old, that Gomer was too impure, that Esther was an orphan, that God uses all kinds of women.
Like me. And like you. He chooses people who aren’t qualified and people who are scared and people who stutter. He chooses people who are broken and people who don’t have perfect lives. I always hear that God loves the unique, that he made us that way, but God also loves the failed too.
This isn’t about being envious of other people’s cropped and edited lives. That’s a whole other post. This is about finding peace in our own imperfect lives.
Because maybe your life isn’t filled with chevron prints and lovely living rooms. Maybe it looks like mine, with coffee cup rings on the tables and half-chewed dog toys all over the floor. Maybe it’s messy, and maybe that’s just right.
Social media has a wonderful way of connecting us, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. Keep posting and tagging and clicking, but don’t let the posts set an impossible standard for our lives.
I’m not suggesting taking a social media fast— unless you feel called to. I’m not anti-Internet. My prayer is that we become OK with the imperfect in our lives, with the things that don’t fit into a Twitter post, with the things that ache a little.
Maybe I’m not graceful or poised. Maybe I fail and I fumble in this world, but today, I’m reminded that’s OK. No filter needed.