Try to look a little more candid. Smile. Snap. Upload. Filter. Brightness. Exposure. Clever caption. Share.
Sometimes, life can feel like you’re constantly sharing a photo on Instagram or any other social media platform. Within our social spheres, whether it is our friends, family, colleagues, mentors, or even with God, we get to choose what we want to share about our lives. We get it together just enough, smile, decide what we want to highlight, and filter accordingly.
We are taught to project the best versions of ourselves – online, on a date, in a job interview, at church.
I can testify to that. Often, I find myself in situations where I feel the need to appear knowledgeable, confident, and successful. I want the people that I surround myself with to care, to like me, and to think highly of me. I strive to come before God in my quiet times, presenting the best version of me.
But at what point are we crafting who we want to be and at what point are we actually being ourselves? What if, beyond the mask of perfection, I wasn’t the person you thought I was? What would you think of me? What would God think of me?
As human beings, we long to be known and to be loved for who we are. In the good and the bad. In all that is beautiful and all that is ugly. But even so, it can be difficult to face the uncomfortable truths of who we are and where we fall short.
The concept of filtering ourselves takes us as far back as the fall in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 3, we see the interactions between Eve and the serpent. We see the lies that the serpent told. We see deception. We see Eve doubt the truth of which God had already spoken to her. We see the temptation, which leads to Adam and Eve eating the fruit from the tree that God instructed them not to eat from.
Genesis 3:8-10 says, “and they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to man and said ‘Where are you?’ And he said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked and I hid myself.’”
It can be easy to hide. We all do. But in the presence of God we are known. He already knows the very depth of our sin and shame and yet God does not leave us alone to stay in our hiding place.
Who God Says You Are
In the midst of putting up a brave front and striving for our idea of perfection, God still calls us His beloved. Whether or not we intentionally choose to put on our masks, He still chooses us.
Ephesians 1: 4-7 says, “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.”
In Christ, we are fully loved. In the good and the bad. In all that is beautiful and all that is ugly. When we accept Jesus Christ, repent of our sins, and allow God in, we are no longer held captive to the standards of perfection in this world. We are set free from it.
In Our Weaknesses
To see our lives transformed, we have to allow God into the places of our hearts where we feel the need to hide from our sin and shame. It’s okay to admit that you are not okay, that you are not where you want to be in life, that you’re hurt, that you failed, that you don’t know, or that you don’t have it together. We were never meant to have it all together in the first place.
2 Corinthians 12:9-11 tells us,“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
God’s power is made perfect in our weaknesses. He wants us to come to him in prayer with our baggage and our struggles. Tell him, “God this is me. This is all of me.”
For in our imperfections we can fully rely on a perfect God.
Our Story, His Glory
Come unfiltered and unedited and walk in freedom from the lies that tell us we need to strive for perfection. His word confirms for us in 2 Corinthians 3:16-18 that, “whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.”
In those moments that we catch up with friends, reunite with family, or meet someone new, we get to choose how we present ourselves and what we want to share. May we choose to be a reflection of his glory and may we choose to share the stories of how God carries us even in our weaknesses.