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