Finding the right reference image for our lives

[notice] A fortnightly column by Anna Heydenrych.[/notice]

Perhaps like me, you are a Pinterest user. Or, perhaps you don’t know what I refer to when I say Pinterest, in which case let me provide a quick introduction. It is like a virtual ideas board where you can keep a collection of creative ideas in organised folders. You just need to sign up on the Internet, create your profile and start ‘pinning’. On the Pinterest website you have access to all of the creative collections of other users. So it is a great place to go for ideas, whether it be cooking, sewing, home-décor – you name it – whatever your creative interest, you will find it there.

Now, the thing about Pinterest, is that you end up with all these collections of creative ideas that have been successfully executed by other people. In your neatly organised folders, you will have professional-looking photos of professional-looking projects that you supposedly would like to try to take on one day. You look at them and you day dream about your dream home filled with rustic home-made frames, vintage furniture perfectly interspersed across your white-washed floors with beautiful natural light spilling in over your uniquely designed dining room table filled with home-made décor elements and delicious looking designer cakes…

peanutBut in reality, you just don’t have time to even get to any of these projects, and when you actually do, it is quite likely that they don’t turn out looking exactly like the original photo reference. I tried to make home-made peanut butter the other day. Look how nice and creamy and naturally healthy this looks…

I am still trying to remove the hard, blackened chunks from my blender. Apart from the consistency that was quite obviously way off, it was the smell that horrified me the most. I will stick to Black Cat for now!

And I am not the only one who has looked at someone else’s creative outcomes and presumed that I could achieve the same results. You only need to Google ‘pinterest fails’ to come across numerous hilarious photos telling sad stories like the ones below.

pinterestfailsAs Christians, I think we too can fall into this trap. We look at what other Christians are doing and try to replicate their ministries, their messages or their manners. And then when we fall short of meeting our own expectations, we feel disappointed and not good enough. We feel like ‘lesser Christians’ because the result that we create in our lives is not like the reference image we were working from.

Therein is the problem, we need to consider our reference image of what God has called us to be. There is only one place that we can go to catch a glimpse of this unique image – straight to the Father.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. — Colossians 3:23-24

Other Christians might set great examples and help us in our walks by providing teaching and discipleship, but if we never learn to work for the Lord according to what he has called us to do, we will be overcome with dissatisfaction as we attempt to shape ourselves according to the world’s expectations.

Consider how Jesus acted and spoke only according to what the Father told Him.

“My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.” — John 7:16-18

He pointed out that when we speak on our own, when we choose to portray a certain image of Christianity because we thought that the reference picture was ‘cool’, we are in fact doing so to gain personal glory. Let’s rather strive to be people of truth.

One Comment

  1. Hugh G Wetmore

    Outstanding article, Anna. I couldn’t agree more. Your humorous illustration packs power to your punch! “Becoming like Christ” is what God predestined us to be, and He is using EVERY circumstance in our lives (especially Suffering) to make us like His Son (Romans 8:17, 28-30. That is our ultimate glory! Your final sentence fits so well with Ephesians 4:20 “The truth is in Jesus”.