On Curating…

Judges 2:7, 10 & 11

“The people served the Lord through the lifetime of Joshua and the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel…After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. Then Israel did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals.”

To curate something means, according to dictionary.com, that something has been carefully gathered, sifted, chosen, and organized. Because of Facebook we live in a time where we are curating our lives. We sift through all the gathered pictures and activities and then we choose those that show us in the best light and then we organized them for all to see when we post them on Facebook or other sites where we have the opportunity to showcase what we want people to see. When we scroll through all the posts or other media outlets, what we see is other people living their best life and we are left feeling defeated, deflated, derailed since we are obviously doing something wrong. Why do we think we are doing life wrong? Because we don’t have pictures to post like the ones we see on-line. As we look around our homes and sift through our relationships what do we see? We see unfinished projects, messy rooms, mountains of laundry, dirty dishes, arguments and disagreement with loved ones as well as many other ways we don’t measure up to the perfectly curated lives posted on-line.

Wanna know a secret? Those perfectly curated lives on-line aren’t any more perfect than our own lives. They deal with dirty dishes, mountains of laundry, crying babies and surly teenagers just like we do. They have good days and bad days just like we do. They have arguments and disagreements too. In other words, weeds grow in their garden just like they grow in ours. No one has a perfect life. No one. We pretend we do when we post only the best of our pictures on-line. We give the illusion that things are just fine, nothing is wrong, our children are perfect, our spouses are perfect, our houses are immaculate, and all is well. Until it isn’t. Pretending things are perfect does two things: it does not prepare us for when things fall apart, and it says we are ok with living a lie.

I am not ok with that. We demand people be authentic. But we live for Facebook and Pinterest perfection. We demand people be honest. Yet we use tricks and techniques to make our photos look like they were taken somewhere other than where we are right in that moment. We demand one thing yet do just the opposite. For me personally, I would like people to just be authentic, honest, and real. Be who you are. If your house is messy…guess what? I don’t care. There are times mine is messy to. If you don’t feel like you have it all together and you are struggling in some capacity…guess what? Me too. My life can feel like everyone else is living it as I try to meet the needs and demands of a large family, my job, my extended family…the list goes on. But I imagine your list goes on and on as well. And then there are the effects of Covid. But that is a subject of another post. Just know for now, we are all experiencing trauma in some form. Why? Because we are unable to do everything we have always done. Our coping methods are not as available as they once were. It has been hard.

Unfortunately, trying to act as if everything is perfect is not the answer. Curating lives that don’t reflect the truth is not the answer. Even God didn’t let that happen. Don’t believe me? Read the Old Testament. Israel was supposed to be God’s chosen people. They were supposed to be an example to all the other nations of what it meant to live in relationship with God. The Bible could have reflected all the times they got it right. But it doesn’t. In fact, the Israelite people got it wrong more often than they got it right. They set an example not of an obedient nation living in relationship to God. But of how much God loved them even when they turned their backs on God and worshipped the gods of all the nations they encountered.

And there it is. God wants a relationship with us warts and all. God wants us to share all our joys and our struggles. God wants to be invited into our lives when it is going well and when the dishes are dirty, the beds are unmade, and the mountain of laundry is going unfolded for week three. Because God doesn’t care about the trappings of our lives. God cares about our souls. God cares about us and who we are deep inside. God loves us in all our wonderful, crazy, messy imperfections. Thank you, Jesus!

So…I challenge you to share less than perfect pictures…Here’s mine:

My desk which has expanded onto a table…
And my garage which will probably never house my car…(sigh)

Peace,

Pastor Beth

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