9/20/2015

Blurry Photos and Lived-In Moments

I don't know about you, but I want to live a picture-perfect life. 

I want to be passionate for Jesus, the funnest person to hang out with, constant with my responsibilities, fashionable in all places except home, and confident in who I am. I don't necessarily desire a trouble-free life, but a life where I always see through the trials and interpret Jesus through every circumstance like a picture-perfect, Jesus-following, lifestyle-blogger does. I yearn for a clear life, a purposeful life, a beautiful life full of those "moments" that we love to talk about but rarely understand. 

Is that a bad thing to want? 

And so I study the Bible, smile at people, keep up with my planner, write lengthy entries, master mascara, and trust Jesus through all. 

Or at least, I want to trust Him. 

But really, sometimes I trust me more than God. I lean on my own definition of a picture-perfect life rather than God's Truth of what makes life's photos meaningful. I choose the clear pictures with correct composition, slightly artsy but still realistic. I post the beautiful photos displaying the beautiful moments that I once thought should dominate my life. I edit them to look brighter, more contrasted, and clearer. I caption them with a story that displays the realness of life through the grace of God in my own unique words that most people just skim. 

This symbolizes my yearning for a beautiful life, a "picture-perfect" life, which just means a life in which everything should be beautiful and good all of the time. Even the messes. 

Is that wrong? 

No. Well, not necessarily. Wanting to capture the beautiful moments spurs even more beautiful moments. Desiring to pursue God in every way pushes us to obedience and love (which are connected). Acting diligently and consistently honors God and strengthens our character. 

But I believe that we pass over so much more potential for life in our pursuit of a picture-perfect life. We delete the blurry photos, the mid-expression pictures that someone tagged us in, and the pictures where we smile more with one eye than the other. We ignore the moments where we just did the usual or had to wait at every red light or felt torn in a thousand directions. But what if, my dear friends, God used those pictures and moments in our life as well? What if His definition of a picture-perfect life contained the mess-up photos and not-so-beautiful moments? What would that look like? 


As I looked through my beach photos to support my post about joyful vacationing, I noticed some pictures that didn't fit the picture-perfect category. They didn't turn out clear and colorful with a good focus and subject. They instead looked grainy and blurry, a bit confused and unclear. 

But something about these pictures touched me in a way none of the other pictures could. These blurry photos captured more than a pretty image, they captured life. They captured the sound of the waves echoing back and forth. I could feel the humid air frizzing my hair and sand in between my toes rubbing away all of my hard-earned calluses. 

These pictures whispered something to me, and it wasn't until I sat down and started typing this post that I figured out what they wanted to show me: 

Life is more than "picture-perfect." 


You see, I've lived in pursuit of the picture-perfect life and even still live in it. And maybe you struggle with these thoughts as well. Maybe we both long for something more than a life composed of stranded "beautiful moments" with deserts of "ordinary" in-between. We want every moment to be beautiful and every moment to have worth, and the problem here is that we forget that not everything worthy is beautiful and not everything beautiful is worthy. Maybe that's why we both want to disregard the blurry, almost ugly photos and moments of our lives, because we don't believe that they have worth. 

But let me tell you (and this goes first for me) this: 

...wait for it...

The blurry photos hold worth too! 


The question is, how? I know no better place to check than God's Word! (All italics mine. Keep a watch for them, though, because they emphasise the parts that key into the meaning of blurry moments.)

"The stone the builders rejected [hint, hint- Jesus]
has become the cornerstone;
the LORD has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.
This LORD has done it this very day;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
(Psalm 118:22-24)

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.)

"To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." 
(Colossians 1:27)

What do these verses say about the blurry pictures and the not-so-glamorous moments of life that seem to weigh us down? How can the lived-in parts of life take on meaning? 

Let me tell you!

In Christ. 

That's it. 

In Christ, every moment holds meaning simply because Christ is in it. 


That doesn't make every moment "beautiful" or "picture-perfect," but it does mean that we possess the Spirit of God in us, and that can change everything. Jesus has saved us this very day, and that alone makes every day worthy of praise, from the days where nothing important seemed to happen, to the days where we got soaked with rain on the way to the library. And all because of Jesus. 

Emily P. Freeman, in her book Simply Tuesday (which inspired these thoughts), writes this: 

"What gives meaning is not the moments themselves but the presence of Christ with us in the midst of them. To learn to live well in ordinary time is to keep company with Christ on our simple Tuesdays and remember how he delights in keeping company with us." (Simply Tuesday, page 47. Once I finish reading her wonderful words I will post a review and a giveaway!) 

So we have a challenge now to live joyfully and intentionally in the regular rhythms of life. We can start to treasure those blurry photos because we know that they hold meaning in Christ. We can start to pay attention to the Kingdom of God all around us because now we might recognize it with clearer eyes, for sometimes the Kingdom of God is in the midst of us but we can't see it because it looks like a blurry photo. 


This is hard. And I don't pretend that I live this way, but I'm starting to. This way of living takes work and concentration; it takes Jesus. Because let's face it, we can't do this on our own. But I believe that this is the only way to truly live, my dear friends. 

So join me in letting the blurry photos become your favorites. Let the lived-in moments bring joy to your heart as you find that because Christ is in every moment, every moment holds meaning. 

Live In Christ as Christ Lives In You! 

Princess Hannah 

p.s. Would y'all like a follow-up post on this on how to apply this In Christ living in practical ways? I meant to put some examples in this post, but I had so much else to say that these new thoughts would have made the post too long. Please comment below if you would want to hear more on these thoughts! Also, please comment your thoughts on blurry photos and lived-in mome

12 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness Hannah, I loved this so much. I'm just like you- I always desire a picture-perfect life. Especially nowadays, when everything is so photo-oriented, and everyone seems to be posting pictures of how perfect their life, home, social life, etc is. But you are SO RIGHT. These blurry pictures- they can be just as beautiful. I'd love the follow-up post!!!!!!!!!! I think I'm going to go flip through my phone and look at some blurry photos;)

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    1. Thank you so much for the encouraging photo! And yes, in such a digital world, we need to step back and realize what's truly important!

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  2. I desire a picture perfect life, too. The funny thing is, I despise how my parents often have to set up to take a family photo with forced smiles... But literally, nearly all photos I took of them were like that. My phone has a bad camera, so whenever I take photos and post them on my personal Instagram, they aren't as nice as the one's on my camera. Even though they don't have the same quality caliber as my camera, I take photos (now this includes my camera) in the moment. I videotape impromptu videos of interviews with people I know while talking about glitter makeup, and really that's the sort of thing that I would love to remembe, not just the good times.

    xoxo Morning

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    1. Yes, the moments all count, and usually more when we're not looking! You just continue to find out how to live IN CHRIST and I will too!

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  3. This is such a gorgeous post, thank you so much for sharing this, I love it.

    ~Noor

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    1. All of these comments each mean so much to me! I'm very glad this post meant something to you!

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  4. This is such a beautiful post. I totally agree with it, AND I am utterly in love with your blog design. xD

    Katie Grace | A Writer's Faith

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    1. Thank you very much, Katie! And I just read your most recent pose and understand why you noted the design! I actually hired Eve from Eve's Garden of Designs for a custom template and recommend her a thousand times in a row!

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  5. yes yes yes. this is so beautiful and well-written and I could not agree more. I love the photos despite their blurriness<3

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    1. Thank you! I really poured my heart out for this post, and I hope that you begin to see more clearly, even if the world starts to look a little more blurry as result!

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  6. I love how honest you were in this post, and it has encouraged me!

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    1. You just encouraged me! Thank you for the comment! We do all need some glimpses of Jesus through the mess of life and I'm so glad to help you, Lauren!

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