Sometimes our approach to the current world makes me laugh. We all clamor for “the real deal” but we want it to be in a perfectly packaged box so we can say “I never would have known if they hadn’t told me.” We want to see our leaders be vulnerable, yet when they show that side? We aren’t quite sure how to react so we often respond with silence when in fact that silence can be the most painful reaction of all.
We do it on social media too.
We take pictures of our imperfect world and run edits on those photos so we can post a perfectly framed image of our imperfect existence. And to that perfectly framed image, we search for a caption that will both captivate the audience and also encourage communication and conversation, not to mention just simply engage their attention in a world where we constantly have multiple voices vying for our attention at once.
Is the irony lost on you? Because it’s not on me. Imperfect world crammed into perfect images. Perfect images described with perfected captions. And yet, we still are left wondering and comparing ourselves, even as our own image of perfection is laid down.
What would happen if we decided that a photo underexposed a couple shades is ok? What if the caption spoke to the raw vulnerability inside our hearts and we didn’t worry so much about the thoughts of others?
What if we dared to be imperfect?
See, I’ve learned one thing over the last five years of my life: People can relate to our weaknesses and vulnerabilities. They can relate to the to-do list, mis-prioritizing and spilled drinks on the floor. What we can’t relate to is a picture of perfection that is projected and not factually accurate.
Most importantly, I’ve learned that while I may be afraid of vulnerability – God is not. He does not fear our inadequacies, or project a certain failure onto us because of our weakness. He created us not because He needed us – but because He chose to use us. As the imperfect creation that we are.
Romans 3:23 is a scripture I memorized as a little girl and is one we don’t necessarily talk about anymore. “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” We don’t necessarily like to a) talk about sin and b) remind ourselves that we are all, in fact, sinners short of the glory of God and in need of grace.
To address both of these points – guess what? We often don’t talk about sin because it’s not comfortable and we have somehow decided that it’s not seeker friendly to those outside of the church. Can I tell you how often those outside the church have addressed me, knowing I’m a Christian and used the phrase “living in sin” or labeled themselves as a “sinner?” They aren’t ashamed or afraid to use the word – therefore why should we be? We shouldn’t go around calling others sinners, but if we were to realize our own state without Jesus, would we not be more excited to share him better? Would we not be more open with our own flaws?
Our social media caption doesn’t always need to say “sinner in search of grace.” But it can read to our daily lives and our moments with grace and our vulnerable responses. The interaction that you had with a stranger where you could share the love of Christ. The delay that kept you from a wreck on the freeway. The miracle in the operating room that even the doctors can’t figure out. The barista that said “y’know what – this one’s on me!” In the big things and the little things – the more vulnerable we are as ladies of Christ, the more vulnerable we show ourselves to a world that wants to be real.
So next time you’re searching for the perfect caption? Why don’t you write what you really felt when you took the photo? Show the world the real you – scars, flaws, weaknesses and all – and let them love who as you were created to be.