Filters. We all use them. I use them. Apps have made it very easy for us to show a perfected image of ourselves to the world. Now I’m not opposed to filters on pictures to enhance and smooth one bit, but the problem comes when we try to use them in real life to make our lives look perfect in our interaction with others. I have NO desire to give the illusion of perfection in my real life. I have always been a truth seeker and I prefer what is real to a facade any day. It’s hard for me to relate to a facade and I can’t keep one up in myself. I’ve also come to realize most people are not like me.
We all have those rooms we toss clutter into when company is expected (ok I do tidy up people…I live unfiltered, not unclean). We try to clean up the areas that will be seen by others. The question is why? I believe the answer is found in us believing we will somehow be unacceptable if our flaws are seen by others. Nobody wants to open themselves up to criticism or judgement. I can honestly say that I love when my tried and true friends come over and I don’t feel I have to thoroughly clean before they come. I know that my house and whether or not I’m wearing make up will NOT effect their love for me.
Whose love are we afraid of losing if we are seen, truly seen… strangers? friends? family? the church? God?
First of all God loves you no matter what so you don’t have to worry about losing His love….ever. You can make decisions that cause a distance on your end but it’s as simple as an “I’m sorry” and resuming relationship with Him. It is only through His unconditional love for you that you will be able to love yourself and others.
Friends, if they are true friends shouldn’t mind seeing the real you. In fact, they should celebrate you in your transparency and vulnerability. My closest friends are the people who have seen me at my worst and I’ve seen them at their worst and we have loved each other through it. I have had people tell me that they were jealous of my friendships because I take friendship very seriously. Honesty, transparency and vulnerability are all hallmarks of my forever friends. They could not care less whether my house is clean or I’m wearing sweats when they come over because they care more about my heart. We have been through wars together and survived and we celebrate our victories with joyful celebration.
Family, now sometimes this one is the hardest. Family see you at your worst but sometimes don’t have the grace that your friends have for you. Unfortunately these are where some of the deepest wounds are acquired, within the walls of your own home. This is why knowing where you stand with God is vitally important. Knowing that He sees you and loves you unfiltered gives you the ability to reflect His grace back at the ungraceful in your family. The beauty that is you does not cease to exist just because some people can’t see it.
Stangers, really? Now these are the people who will many times prefer the filtered version of you. It doesn’t require any investment on their part. It’s as easy as liking your pic on Facebook. Strangers don’t know how to handle flaws because many times they are scared to death of people seeing their own. The interesting thing is that when you dare to expose what you think are flaws, you become more accessible and relatable to many others. Look at what happened with the “Me Too” movement. Being real is so much more attractive than being perfect.
Church….another place which likes the christian filtered version of you. As long as you play the part and answer with the right answers you can slide by most of the time. Shouldn’t this be one of the safest places to be real? We can’t handle the truth of the pain that truly resides in peoples lives so we are more comfortable not asking and not sharing.
Maybe it’s more about making a good impression on people when you first meet them. I understand this, but you must have those people in your life that you can move past first impression relating with and move into doing life with them. That’s when it’s time to stop being polite and start getting real (anyone else remember Real World on MTV in the 90’s?). Only really real, not fake real. The stuff that comes from heartbreak and loss as well as hopes and dreams. Maybe it’s time for us to stop being religious and start getting real.
Now just because I live unfiltered does that mean I share the contents of my heart with just anyone? of course not. Wisdom will tell you to what degree of detail you can share with whoever you encounter. It is vital that we all find those super safe people and places where we can be 100% honest about what’s really going on in our world.
We had a group that would meet at our house a couple years back and it was church for many who would come. This was a group in age from 17-35 and we would make meals together, worship together and share our struggles with each other in all honesty….it was beautiful. This was a group that loved Jesus passionately. Many times prophecy would break out that dropped people on their faces in His presence. It gave me a glimpse of what the church is missing in their desire to maintain their religious comfort zones. My hearts desire is for church to truly become a safe place to come, be unfiltered, and still be accepted and loved.
So do what you want with your pics on social media but please don’t filter your real life. Find people and places where it’s ok to be real…the real you…unfiltered and still totally loved and accepted. They exist, I promise. It’s worth seeking to find your home. When you crack the facade of perfection you invite the light of love to come flooding into the darkness. Your heart will feel a hug that melts the ice that the illusion of perfection brought with it.
You are beautiful and worthy of love. You are seen, heard, and have great value. That is the truth of the matter. Don’t let anyone convince you to silence truth with a filtered response of ….I’m ok. Ask God to lead you to people who will be true friends for you so your heart can begin to blossom and come alive to who you were created to be all along.
You cannot have deep meaningful relationships living a filtered life so dare to remove the filter and let love in.