When we’re honest truth tellers and vulnerable story sharers, social media can be used for good.
I really believe that’s true. But it’s hard to do, that whole business of letting people see the real, the messy, the not-so-put-together, the hard days and dreams still unrealized.
Let’s be honest, it’s easier and happier and prettier to share the beautiful, the finished, the Oh That Turned Out So Nicely!
We are covered, guarded, layered and bundled up people.
Sometimes we stage things and set things and angle just a bit, arranging everything “just so” and isn’t there a bit of irony when we try so hard to make it all look natural? Or is this just me?
I’m all for the beautiful. I’m all about the natural light streaming in the window, the fresh flowers on the desk, the lettered quote and the smiling faces. I follow those accounts and double-tap on those pictures because truthfully, I want to see beauty. I want to be reminded to keep my eyes open and to put on Beauty-Finding glasses when I wake each morning.
When I see beautiful pictures, I begin to see the beauty all around me, too. I see it in the ordinary things that were already right around me.
But those pictures don’t hold my attention forever. The things that grab me and hold on, the images that are burned into my mind, the pictures that encourage me in the mess and the story lines that don’t have a big red bow just yet? They’re the pictures of dishes in the sink. Images of dinners ruined or quotes with misspelled words or red-faced kids, upset that they didn’t get their way.
Those are the images that meet me right where I am most days, somewhere in the in between, long before the nicely tied bow and the page that shows how nicely it all turns out.
I need the beauty and I need the messy.
The former without the latter leaves me disappointed and longing for a life different than the one I live.
The latter without the former leaves me discouraged and hungry for hope.
We need both because life is beautiful and brutal, a mix of the two.
Share your good news and post the picture of your third cup of coffee for the day. Instagram the image of what you read in the Bible today. Tweet about how you can’t remember the last time you dusted the furniture.
Let’s share beauty. Let’s let people into the real.
Let’s wear one less layer, one less defensive piece of armor that keeps others at a safe distance. Will you join me? Will you dare to post the imperfect photo and include an honest caption about the real? Will you put up the beautiful image, unashamed and with the sole intent of encouraging another?
I will. I will share and write and post both sides of the same coin. I’ll wear one less layer.
(If you’re looking for more words on the messy and the real and, frankly, the in between seasons of life without a beautiful red bow, this book will be a kind companion: Even If Not: Living, Loving, and Learning in the in Between.)
(If you want a guaranteed mix of the beautiful and the messy and the encouraging quotes, try my Insta feed.)
So I have to tell you about two recent reads that go perfectly with the idea of wearing one less layer: Looking For Lovely & Wild and Free.
They’re different from one another, certainly, and yet go together nicely. Like brownies and milk or cheese and crackers. (I’m clearly writing this while hungry, so there’s that.)
Looking For Lovely, by Annie F. Downs, is the perfect follow-up to Let’s All Be Brave. In between the two books, Annie went through a pretty rough season. Looking For Lovely is the story of how she found lovely and began collecting the moments that truly matter — while still in the midst of the not-so-great. It’s an honest read, written in typical Annie-style. Which basically means you’ll read it and be totally convinced that you’re actually sitting down for coffee and chatting with an old friend about the beautiful and the messy and the real.
Wild and Free, by Jess Connolly & Hayley Morgan, has one of my favorite taglines ever: “A hope-filled anthem for the woman who feels she is both too much and never enough.” Well, that’ll preach. Need I even say more about the book? And for real, these two women live out all the words I wrote up above ^. But back to the book — it releases on May 3rd and is a great read for the woman who wants to rest in what Jesus has done for her, while also walking courageously in obedience with the work in front of her.
Here are two of my favorite quotes from the books:
Note: I received both books in exchange for my honest thoughts & affiliate links have been used in this post