Nobody’s life is perfect. We all know that. If you, by some remote chance, think you know someone who has a perfect life, think again. You’re dead wrong. At the same time, if, for some reason, you think your life is perfect, then I’m pretty sure our definition of perfect isn’t the same. I’m not talking about living happily, contentedly, or gratefully, I’m talking about sheer perfection. Never a hair out of place, never a work-out missed, never a library book overdue, never a C in any coursework made. Perfection, my friends, doesn’t exist. That’s truth, plain and simple.
I was talking with my friend Rachel Shingleton a while back, and she brought up an interesting question that someone had once asked her: what was the eternal significance of her creative efforts? I’m pretty sure the person who posed the question must have been living under the assumption that for any of us to do any good on this earth that we must forsake all our wordly belongings and go preach the gospel to natives. And if that’s the way the way anyone thinks, then I’m sorry, because it means that you probably feel very limited in your own abilities to make an eternal impact right where you are. But the question stuck with me, and I’ve thought about it several times since chatting with Rachel.
Fast forward a few months. I was emailing with my friend and client, Holly Mathis. I had asked her to think about what her calling and purpose was. She had responded with the wording that “beauty ministered” to her. I related immensely to the statement. When the world around us is crazy and out of control, whether it’s our home, our neighborhood, or even our community in a larger aspect, sometimes a “little slice of heaven” can be a calming relief.
If you’re a mama and an entrepreneur, or one or the other, I have a feeling you might know what I mean. Yesterday, I spent the day scrubbing the grout on our utility room floor, and straightening the shelves that serve as our pantry for our little crowded kitchen. At the end of the day, to me, it was beautiful. I felt productive. I had used my energy to make something in this world BETTER.
If left to it’s own devices, the world would deteriorate. It’s the in natural order of the universe for things to roll down hill, to get worse rather than better. We, as humans, have the ability to put energy into things to make them better. They can be big things, or small things, it doesn’t matter. What matters is if we each, in our own efforts, make our own little corners of this world a more beautiful place, then maybe we’re offering (gifting?) someone else with a little “slice of heaven”, a little respite, a little rest from the weary world and the rat race that I sometimes feel like we’re all stuck in.
My Instagram friend Aedriel wrote an interesting article on her blog last week, about an article out of Relevant magazine. The article was titled, “Stop Instagramming Your Perfect Life”, and challenged the reader to stop and find connection, and live passionately with gratitude and grace. I completely agree, but I also hold fast to the belief that if, as graphic designers and event planners and creatives and entrepreneurs, we stop doing our jobs–our jobs to make our own little corner of the world a more beautiful place–we would be contributing to the natural downward spiral of this world. In short, we’d be lazy. We’d be falling short in not using the natural gifts that God has given us.
I’ll be honest. I work pretty diligently to make my Instagram feed as beautiful as possible. Not because I’m trying to show off or make people think my life is beautiful, but because I want to remember these moments that ARE beautiful. I’m not going to say that my Instagram feed IS beautiful to the rest of the world, but to me it is, and that’s all that matters. It’s a collection of my days, a chronicle of what I’m learning, a tiny scrapbook of my kids growing up, and I want that collection to be the best it possibly can be. I’ve worked hard to research apps that produce the kind of pictures that I like, and I’ve consulted with photographer friends who have given me tips on photo composition. I analyze professional photographers’ Instagram feeds to see if I can learn anything that might challenge me to make my own feed, my own photos, my own art, and my own work better. And I do it because I believe that beauty makes this world a better place.
Life isn’t perfect, but moments are. I challenge you to look around your world and start creating and capturing your own beautiful moments, and collecting them somewhere, anywhere, that you can reflect on and use to inspire you later. If life is made up of moments, then putting the effort into making the most of those moments, and making them beautiful, will add up to…well, it will add up to a well-designed life.
Happy Instagramming, friends.