We live in a culture that encourages perfection. Or at least the ruse of perfection. Thanks to Facebook, Instagram, and all the other virtual stages, we can present to the world a version of ourselves and our lives that make others drool. We can put up pictures of our kids beaming with angelic smiles and perfectly tied grosgrain ribbons, our son scoring the game’s winning hockey goal, dreamy, sun-tanned family vacations, and gourmet dinners that would make Michelin-starred chefs envious. All things appear as pure bliss on Facebook, courtesy of the airbrush reality we live in.
I wonder…when was the last time we considered putting up a picture of our “real” lives? You know the ones where the two year old is running around the house like a crazed ape, and we lose our temper. Or the picture of your child’s face, heart-gutted, when he didn’t make the hockey team. Or how about a pic of that dinner you fixed starring Kraft Mac & Cheese and pizza pockets?
I worry about our authenticity. What do we really gain from airbrushing away the imperfections of our lives?
Do we airbrush our faith too?
This past Sunday I wrote a communion meditation where I confessed that I was clumsy (I am the one who managed to sprain both ankles within the same week and had to wear my tretorns to the prom!). But what I was really talking about was my clumsiness in faith. I want to be a person on this planet that I can admire. More importantly, that God can admire. But so often I miss the mark. If I am authentic, no airbrushing, then you can’t miss my imperfections. I struggle with pride, envy, forgiveness, doubts, and I’m infamous for believing that I am the CEO of my life instead of God. I want to meet the world with the noble part of my being, but I’m afraid the world gets a lesser version of the “Farrell” God created me to be. I think it’s why I’ve always been drawn to St. Peter. First, because he was far from saintly in the beginning, just plain old Simon, the fisherman. But Jesus saw the potential of his noble soul and renamed him Cephas “the Rock” Peter.
The Bible is not a fan of airbrushing. The Peter we find in the Gospels was stubborn, self-absorbed, unfaithful, non-inclusive, and he flat out denied God, not once, but three times. Peter was imperfect, clumsy in his faith and yet Jesus never stopped believing in him. So there’s hope for all of us!
Holy Rollers make me nervous. You know the ones who have all the answers and walk around as if they’ve already received their halo. Does the title, Pharisee, come to mind? I am much more comfortable with the likes of David, Peter, Saul, and Mary Magdalene…real people with imperfections and fragile faiths. It’s darn hard to meet the world with a pure heart, to think of others before yourself and your needs, to forgive, to keep offering up hope to the world, to be faithful to God and LOVE before anything else, and to welcome the pinch of sacrifice in our lives for God. Thankfully, God never asked for perfection, only authenticity. Like Peter, when we stumble in faith, we get back up and try again.
To be authentic and worthy to bear God’s holy image, we must admit our imperfections and clumsiness in faith. No airbrushing allowed! We are in this together! The reward is love.
Live in Hope,