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Inspiration

My Complicated Relationship with Pinterest

Pinterest-Crafts-Inspiration-Beloved

I have an on/off again “thing” with Pinterest.

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It’s quite the tumultuous relationship, really. One minute, I’m harmlessly pinning casserole recipes and cheery MmmBop scriptures, and the next, I’m sucked into the endless vortex of clothes I want to own, weddings I want to plan, houses I want to own, babies I want to have and holidays I want to celebrate.

And Emma Stone’s perfect hair. Seriously, though. Can I PLEASE just have her perfect hair?

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Sigh.

There are times when I have to cut it off altogether. I get too wrapped up in pinning and begin prioritizing it over other more important tasks…like updating my Facebook status.

Then there are other times when I dive right back into the world of the perfectly wrapped/sprinkled/dressed head first, and once again, I find myself whipped into submission by a website.

My new favorite, #Pinterthing, is DIY tutorials. Like how to fishtail-braid your hair and get smoother skin. On a DIY scavenger hunt recently, I ran across a video that promised to reduce the darkness under your armpits.

I know what you’re thinking. I thought the same thing. The only difference is, I watched it anyway.

For three minutes, some random woman from Minnesota who is perfectly Photoshopped and made up, tells me all the tricks to underarm lightening. Part of me wanted to laugh. I mean, who in their right mind massages a BAKED POTATO under their armpits for five minutes in an effort to make them lighter?

Well, I thought to myself, we HAVE potatoes.

There it was. The ugly idea inside my head. Subconsciously, I began to water the seed I had cynically planted, the one that originally said, “This is so stupid, I’d never do that!”—ready to pop a potato in the microwave.

I’m in the middle of a crazy life. Good crazy, but crazy nonetheless. The last thing I need to worry about is how dark my armpits are. Yet I care. Just like I care about how my clothes aren’t stylish enough, or how my waist isn’t curvy enough, or how my hair doesn’t lie flat enough.

I’m not owned by Pinterest. I’m owned by the idea of Pinterest perfection. It offers the false notion that I need to be supergirl, that I can’t have days where I want to take a timeout from life and snuggle up on the couch with sweats and a Pinterest recipe brownie.

I need to clean. And bake. And make edible glitter. And perfect my beach waves. And master photography. And find my wedding dress. And…

Sigh.

I mourned. Yet another imperfection was exposed, something else I’m told I need to hate about myself and need to change because I should be unhappy with it. Just like my sideways smile and giant nostrils. Because what kind of guy is going marry a girl with dark armpits?! How will she ever have a successful career?! How will anyone ever take what she does seriously?! AND WHY CAN’T HER HAIR LOOK LIKE EMMA STONE’S?!

I reassessed my profile, proudly boasting 5,000 pins, and sighed. What I had intended to be a few minutes of innocent pinning had suddenly become an emotional pitfall.

My fear doesn’t rest in how people will view my flaws. It rests in how God views them, and how despite all the times I’ve been told and all the blog posts I’ve written about it in the past, I still don’t truly believe He sees my imperfections as anything good. Maybe yours, but certainly not mine.

I just want Jesus to be proud of me. I feel like I’m best at failing Him. Like the kid who wants to help their parent bake cookies and accidentally pours salt into the batter instead of sugar. My efforts become humiliating and inedible, and all I want to do is run and hide.

Funny thing about hiding. Most of us do it because we want to be found.

We want someone to track us down and tell us they’re not mad at us, to take a bite of the gross cookie and tell us that it kinda tastes good, to hug us and let us know that they love us no matter what, and how we’re always welcome back into the kitchen to help them.

Despite our mistakes. Despite our shortcomings. Despite our dark armpits and big nostrils. Despite our unruly hairstyles and slanted smiles. Despite our weakest efforts and all our imperfections.

Like Eve, who felt so ashamed in the garden, He finds us. He calls out our name, He redeems what we do and makes our biggest faults our highest factors, even the things we hate play a part in His story, because as much as I constantly try to change what I see in a mirror, or things I’ve done in the past, or situations I’m desperate to get out of, He stays with me.

Where I see inability and humiliation, He sees the sweet face of a child mixing the dough with their germy, muddy, snot-covered hands, trying their best to tell sugar from salt and make something great.

I can’t let how I see myself distract me from how God sees me and who He says I am, even when I may not feel it. I’m valued. I’m cherished. I’m beloved. I’m worth more than all the latest beauty techniques can offer. I’m a glorious mess in the eyes of my Father. Pinterest-perfect or not.

That’s what makes me me, but most of all, that’s what makes me His.

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COMMENTS 10

  1. maddietubs

    Posted by maddietubs on February 25, 2015 at 21:22

    I came here not expecting to get anything out of this post and here I am with a couple tears in my eyes. Thank you for this. I need right now 🙂

  2. pinkgodlover

    Posted by pinkgodlover on February 25, 2015 at 20:18

    thank you so much,all the time I’m striving to be perfect in my eyes,my family’s eyes and other’s eyes.But thats not important,I should be pleasing God instead of trying to make my hair look perfect,or my makeup or clothes.If i go out in sweatpants and a holy t-shirt,I would still be beautiful in His eyes =)

  3. carr_cayla

    Posted by carr_cayla on February 20, 2015 at 18:45

    I love this! Inspiring and amazing post! Thank you so so much!!

  4. Project Inspired

    Posted by hopeflowers17 on February 16, 2015 at 17:26

    This is one of my favorite posts. This really suggests one of the biggest problems in our world! Perfection. Thank you for making this so relatable.

  5. SignerGirl

    Posted by SignerGirl on February 16, 2015 at 12:42

    Y’know, I struggled with some of this at one point in time. Not specifically with Pinterest, but with comparing myself to “perfection”. I have these crazy eyes that don’t look the same direction and my nose is a little too big and I’ve had acne bad enough that my skin will never be the same.
    But at some point, I just decided that wasn’t important. I still try to look presentable. I could even say that I try to look nice. We are women. We love to bring beauty into the world however we can, be it through our appearance or in decorating the house. God designed humans to love beauty, and we as women seem to be particularly tuned in to it.
    Maybe we can’t make perfection happen, but we can still get ideas on what we love. We can still enjoy beauty and the act of adding it to the world. And that’s what Pinterest is about. And I am so glad I got that figured out before I joined. lol Otherwise, I think I’d struggle just the same way you do with it.

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by bacon2997 on February 23, 2015 at 11:17

      This is really beautiful. I really appreciate what you’ve said. You just put this pretty delicate topic under a whole new light. Thank you for sharing this. Continue to spread your thoughts because sharing like this will impact others, I just know! <3

  6. Mariposa

    Posted by Mariposa on February 16, 2015 at 11:16

    Wow. That. Was. An amazing article. Thank you so much!

  7. Project Inspired

    Posted by martial_artist_for_Jesus on February 15, 2015 at 18:55

    Although I don’t have a Pinterest account….. I can’t tell you how much I needed this (and how much you and I actually think alike, which is quite a bit…. it’s a little scary, LOL O.O ) , Sarah…. especially the part where you point out the irony of hiding is wanting to be found…. literally started crying when I read that part, coz it’s so true for someone like me. Sometimes I get so depressed and lonely, so sick and tired of being selfish and sometimes even mean, that I just want to hide away, curl up into a little ball and cry myself to sleep, unwilling to hurt anyone else further. Yet, in the midst of this feeling, there’s a part of me…. a part that longs to be held by Jesus. A part that wants to be consoled and wants to be shown how to be kinder, more selfless and caring, despite all my messiness……I sincerely thank you, Sarah, for this article. It really touched me.

  8. Kittie Ryn

    Posted by Kittie Ryn on February 15, 2015 at 16:55

    I don’t know, maybe you shouldn’t be on Pinterest if it makes you feel so bad about yourself. It’s silly to feel so insecure when the website is only there to give people different ideas and tutorials. I’m sure you’re just as pretty without hair like Emma Stone, probably prettier.

    The only thing is, and maybe I only think this because I’ve had such a bad experience with Christianity, you might have an easier time making yourself proud as opposed to making Jesus proud. You have to remember that we aren’t loved unconditionally because if we were, then we wouldn’t have a God threatening to toss us into Hell for disobedience.

    That’s just my two cents though. Have a good day.

    • sarahisawriter

      Posted by sarahisawriter on February 16, 2015 at 06:21

      I guess it all really depends on your picture of who God is. I don’t believe I serve a God who tosses people into hell. We can either choose to seek God and follow His design for our lives, or we can do things our own way. Whatever way we choose, He still loves us unconditionally. He can’t not love us, because love is who He is. That said, He can’t make our minds up for us, and if we want to live life separated from Him, He won’t force us not to. Love is letting people have the freedom to love you back or not.

      I’m sorry you had a bad experience with Christianity. We give off the illusion of perfection, when if we were all honest, we’re the most screwed up people there are–that’s why we need grace so much. I don’t know your story, but it sounds to me like you may have heard some things that just aren’t true. I hope one day you can see how loved you are.

      At the end of the day, I’ll never make myself proud. In my own eyes, I’ll just never amount. It’s because of how God sees me, knowing He’s proud of me as the work-in-progress I am, I can walk confidently in Him and love myself. I guess that’s what this whole thing was really trying to say. 🙂