It's a quirky, and polarizing little world. At best, it can be a treasure trove of tips, tricks, and beauty that inspires, and at worst it can be an envy inducing time-suck that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and inadequate. For me, it's a mix of both extremes, that leads to a bit of a love-hate relationship with the site, and concept in general. On the one hand, it's a super convenient way to organize little online gems for easy reference later. And on the other...it's another endless stream of input, more more more things taking up space in my mind, and to-do list.
But why am I going on and on about something as silly as a virtual filing cabinet?
Well, because recently I've been thinking about how Pinterest is connected to my spiritual life. That might seem like a stretch, because the two spheres don't often literally overlap; but, I do think there are similarities in how I approach them.
I just described Pinterest as either Good/Inspiring, or Bad/Discouraging, but the truth is, most often...it's neither...it's a bit of nothing. A lot of mindless scrolling, pinning here and there when I see something yummy/cute/pretty/funny, and then...nothing. How often do I go back and cook the yummy thing, buy the cute thing, make the pretty thing, or reference the funny thing? Not often. Sure, some of the pins actually end up fueling projects in my Real Life, but so many more are just...there. Sometimes I have delusions that I'll actually attempt the projects I save, but most of the time, I just pin stuff I like, knowing I will not only never do/wear/be that, I won't even try to. And I've become totally okay with that.
So what in the world does that have to do with my relationship with God?
Well...a lot, in that I often find myself approaching Christianity in a similar way:
Hear a new worship song? Let's add that to my Pandora station (Praise Hands Radio!**)
Pastor says something inspiring? Jot it down in my iPhone notes app.
Friend is going through a tough time? File that away in my mental "things to pray for" list.
I take in all the spiritual inputs -- the wisdom, the needs, the inspiration, the challenges -- and I organize them, attempting to sort and save them for future action. But the trouble comes when that future action becomes more theoretical than actual. Things find their way onto different metaphorical boards: "Devotionals to Read", "People to Reach Out To", and the aforementioned and ever-popular: "Things to Pray For", but then the boards lay dormant, untouched, while I focus on the contents of the "Everything Else I Have To Do" plus "All The Reality Television That's Not Going to Watch Itself"*** board. And the biggest problem with this system: I've become totally okay with it.
Intending to do the thing, (or read the thing, or pray for the thing) has somehow become close enough to actually doing the thing. I save my notes, jot down that author's name, bookmark that passage, all in an effort to build up my spiritual life. But it's easy to get so busy with the trappings of a relationship with God, that I miss the point entirely...It's about having the relationship with God. Not collecting endless ideas on how to draw closer to him, but actually acting upon the ways He's called me to draw closer to him. There's no harm in having an arsenal of inspiration and wisdom at my disposal, but there is a huge problem if I'm focusing on acquiring that knowledge without the intention or diligence to use it.
So while I don't think my actual Pinterest habits are going to change anytime soon (I mean...I still have boards dedicated to "Weddings" and "Paleo Recipes", two things I will never realistically need or use****) when it comes to spiritual things, I'm going to try to be more mindful of when I'm strictly "pinning", and challenge myself to step forward in obedience to the mission Christ has for me.
*Totally not a real thing I've seen or done. Though it kinda sounds like it could be pretty sweet.
**Totally a real thing I have, though it's not named that. But now I'm thinking it should be.
***Totally a real addiction I have. Real Housewives of All the Places, I can't quit you.
****Totally both real boards of mine.