When I envision beautiful things, I immediately have a picture of the perfect day. Sleeping in then heading to the barn to enjoy a sunny day with temperatures in the 80’s, clear blue sky, slight breeze and a calm trail ride with my horse. That right there is the perfect day – great weather, just me and my horse.
Everyone’s definition of “Beautiful” is different. Some view beautiful as long, blonde hair, no wrinkles, 5’10” and blue eyes. While others view it as a brunette, hazel eyes, short with curves. Everyone’s perspective of beauty is different!
As humans, we strive for the unachievable perfection. It doesn’t help as we look at social media, we only see the perfectly put together lives of those around us. We don’t see the imperfections of everyday life. The spilled coffee on the newly bought white, blouse. Forgetting to pack lunches for your kids before they rush out the door catching the school bus. The petty argument with your spouse over leaving dirty laundry scattered across the floor. Our good intentions of having quiet time can easily go astray with social media as we snap a photo of our coffee and journal to share proudly with the world; instantly we’re distracted versus spending time with God.
Our views are distorted. We allow others to view our lives through a peephole. Only a small, controlled, social media view of our lives. This distorted view leads us and others to believe that we aren’t social media “perfect” and are failing at this journey of life. We fail our kids. We fail our spouses. We fail our church.
We tend to view our imperfections as something to be shamed and hidden. We see them as weakness’. Hide them. Sweep them under the rug.
In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NLT) we read, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ “So now I am glad to boast about my weakness so that the power of Christ can work through me.” It is in our weakness – our imperfections – that his strength and power can become known. Our weakness is balanced by his works and grace in our lives. What if we allowed each other to not only see the social media, perfected view but the real, down and dirty view of our lives?
A couple years ago, I was out riding my horse and saw “beauty” in the unexpected. I knew God was sharing an insight into His heart for us. My horse, Bert, and I were trail riding on a Sunday afternoon. It was one of those “perfect” days that I described earlier – sun was out showing off the Texas, blue sky. Not long into our ride, I noticed beautiful white flowers scattered everywhere. They looked mystical and covered the entire field on both sides of the trail. An overwhelming feeling came over me to go ride in the middle of all the snow, capped flowers. It was a carefree moment, as we stopped to take pictures in the fields. I soon realized, these were not flowers but weeds. I was taken by surprise never picturing a weed to be beautiful or mystical. I always imagined a weed, as being ugly, or a nuisance to what the gardener was trying to grow. But this day, I felt God was telling me to look closer - look closer!
Come look closer with me as we read in Matthew 13:28-30, "Do you want us to go and pull them up?" "No, he answered, because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest.”
I consider we are ready to remove the weeds and pluck them out because they look ugly. When neighbors peak over our fences, we prefer them to see neat, clean yards and gardens. The last thing we desire is for our friends, family, pastors, and co-workers to see the ugly or not so perfect in our lives. We propose them to view only the Instagram perfect of our lives. But sometimes the "ugly" is part of the process. Sometimes it’s life. If we uproot them prematurely, we might harvest the wheat with it. And inadvertently uproot what God is doing in us too soon along with it.
Maybe we need to stop viewing each other's weeds as “ugly” and start viewing them as part of the harvest plan. Recognize them as part of the process. Part of what God is doing in our lives and those around us. They may not be beautiful and perfect, but the process doesn’t always look and smell like roses. Sometimes it looks like weeds and smells like “manure”. But manure helps the seed grow and brings forth a plentiful harvest.
Allowing others to see the dirt in our lives can feel vulnerable. But our dirt and not so perfect lives can speak truth to others by letting them know they don’t struggle alone. They aren’t the only one who says bad words or fails at being a spouse or a mom. But in the end, God’s work and power in our lives will speak louder than the mess and dirt. I am not saying we should blast our mess all over the internet for everyone to see. I do think it is time to keep things real, stop judging and comparing ourselves to each other. Let’s remember that the imperfections of our lives are a moment for His perfection and strength to be made known.