Thursday, July 10, 2014

What's your filter?

I have a love-hate relationship with social media. Instagram in particular at the moment, although Facebook and Twitter and blogging certainly factor into my feelings as well.

I've had it up to here—imagine my arms raised as high as they'll go above my head—with Instagram filters. I'm thinking in particular of the ones that give that white-washed look to everything. The ones that makes everything look light and bright. That morph the colors of flowers into hues richer than those found in nature; that turn blemishes and pores and skin into stark, featureless planes that used to look like faces.

I am tired of looking at gorgeously plated food with slices of strawberries scattered around the edges of a Pottery Barn plate to give the image an artistic, undone appeal. I am tired of seeing gallery walls arranged over desks with just the right amount of clutter—enough to make the desk owner look chic and busy, but not enough to make her seem messy and unorganized. I'm tired of lusting after kitchens without anything on the counter tops.

Mostly, I'm just tired of perfect. Tired of looking at it? Absolutely. Tired of trying to achieve it in my own life...and on my own Instagram account? Even more so.

There is no Instagram filter for life. There is sharp sunlight and there are deep shadows, with no friendly Valencia to balance everything out. We have to experience it, whatever "it" is. The realness. The unflattering angles. The true colors. The way that everything actually is, rather than the way we wish it could be.

These are questions for me and for you: When are we going to stop trying to arrange everything? When are we going to stop taking pictures of our food and just eat it already? When are we going to have a great hair day and enjoy feeling beautiful without taking a selfie? When are we going to go on dates with our husbands and just hold hands instead of holding an iPhone to document every tender glance, every lingering touch...all those things that used to be personal, just between the two of us? When are we going to turn the flash off, take away the props, and let things be the way they really are? When are we going to stop obsessing over aesthetics?

Real life has nothing to do with how things look.

FYI, we got into a random fight right after this picture was taken. I should have put my phone down and focused on making up with my husband, but I was too distracted with trying to select the perfect filter for our perfect Fourth of July Instagram post. I made the mistake of investing energy in fixing the way we looked, rather than fixing the problem between us. I posted the picture (like, while I was in the middle of being angry). Why? Because the lighting is pretty. Because we look so happy. Because my eyes look really blue. And because no matter how hard I try to fight it, there's a disconnect between my reality and the online personality I'm willing to show others.

There's falsehood in social media. Never forget that. Everyone holds back the things they don't want to be seen, and promotes the things that they do.

Here's what life really looks like this morning, without a filter. This is what I'm promoting today. Will I always promote this? No. I'm an artist and a creative. I love pretty things as much as the next girl. I enjoy bright colors, I love plating pretty dinners, I like taking cute pictures with my husband, and I think it's fun to document our travels and adventures together. I'll keep doing that, and I'll probably keep "liking" pictures of beautifully stacked donuts displayed in front of clean, white backdrops too. But I'm going to fight even harder for balance and perspective and realness. I'm going to start seeing Instagram as more of an art form, and less of a snapshot of "real" life.

Final thought: I think we're so attracted to Instagram and its filters because we long for perfection and cleanness. But no Mayfair or Rise or Hudson or Walden will ever give us the inner purity we crave. They can only mask the dirtiness and the rough edges of life. True transformation comes from Jesus Christ, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, and our souls, and our life. He's the One who gives us purpose. He's the One who makes us whole. He's the One who makes things right, and new, and clean, and bright.

Filter your world through Him, and I promise: things will start to look a whole lot better...only this time, from the inside out.

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2


  1. Karley!!!! I always enjoy your boldness to get an important message out there!! We all need to hear what The Lord seems to put on your precious heart! Love you, Paige :)

    1. Thank you for your encouragement! So grateful for you!


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