Definition of curate (v.)- to pull together, sift through, and select for presentation.
I don’t know about you, but I most definitely have caught myself putting more effort into the presentation of my Instagram profile rather than myself.
Because it’s just so easy. Pick the picture that looks like you are having the most fun, even if they day wasn’t – add a filter that says “Tan, but not too tan, toned, but not too toned” – write a witty caption with an inside joke for the friends that just understand – check in at the trendiest place you were at that day, even if you only walked by for a second – tag friends so people know who you are hanging out with and who was excluded – publish. Sit by the phone/computer/tablet, wait for the likes + comments to roll in.
If you are a 21st century millennial like myself, you more than likely have experienced some level of this. And while I cringe at the sheer thought of this, imagine with me for a second how much time we have actually spent doing this [and if Instagram isn’t your thing, think of Facebook + Twitter + Pinterest + Vimeo + Vine (R.I.P) + Snapchat, etc….whatever it is that you curate your life through]. I don’t know about you, but for me, slightly embarrassing and horrifying. Because I can almost guarantee without a shadow a doubt that I spent even less time that day curating my heart.
Day to Day Presentation
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
– Proverbs 4:23 –
Curating our hearts is a tricky yet a must, because every decision we make is rooted in where our hearts are. By the definition, to curate is to sift through the inventory of what’s in there (a.k.a. my love/ thoughts/ feelings/ emotions/ beliefs/ hurts/ triumphs) and picking what I want to present to the world in the day to day. Much more important, in my opinion, than what my Instagram feed shows, yet I can say with almost certainty that I spend more time thinking about that. Or that post on Facebook. Or the tweet on Twitter.
This means then, that what we store up in our hearts is what we get to choose to curate from. What we get to present to the world. And for me, that opens up a lot of questions- what should I show? How can I be authentic, yet real? What is it that I want to portray? Who am I?
These questions strike up a bit of a fear in my heart that I haven’t truly figured any of those answers out yet. But also, that’s okay. I don’t have to have every one of those questions figured out. But I’ll tell you what- it makes it a bit easier to figure out when I’ve been curating my heart rather than my Instagram, and putting time and effort and intentionality into what I’m storing in there, rather than what my feed looks like.
Why What You Love Matters
“What we love in our heart has a far greater effect on how we live than on what we know in our head. How do we change what we love? Through practice. Because the things we do, do something to us.”
– John Mark Comer –
There goes John Mark, dropping some serious truth in just one quote. I heard this one when he spoke in March at The Way in Orange County (check out this post for more information on what that gathering is). While at first I didn’t quite make the connection, I’ve been stewing on it and slowly piecing together.
To curate my heart, it’s even simpler than publishing a post on Instagram- I need to practice truly loving what is good and from God and Kingdom building, and in turn, my heart will present itself in that same way. As someone who is good, who tries hard to live a life led by Jesus, and who is a vessel for the Kingdom to be brought to this Earth, as it is in Heaven.
Easier Said than Done, I’m Aware
My immediate next thought: “Great, but I’m not perfect. How can I portray myself exactly how I want when I have more mess-ups than I can count?” After stewing on this one for a bit, I was scrolling through my phone and saw a few pictures in my camera roll from when my mom and I were trying to take a picture on Mother’s Day. We both had exact specifications on how we wanted to image to look: I wanted to be on the right, with hair over the right shoulder- she demanded to be on the left with one hand on her hip. After about six tries my stepdad got exasperated and handed the phone back to us, hopeful that we had at least one shot that would work. Luckily we did, and we posted away.
I realized in that moment that, again, curating our hearts and curating our Instagram’s are not all that different. If you mess up in portraying yourself to the world, you can try again. Did you flip off that driver because they cut you off? Luckily for you, you are more than likely going to have a bad driving experience again (and for me, relatively soon, because I drive in the OC). But by leading with love [flowing from a heart full of Jesus], you can change the energy you put in to the world and instead give grace to the next driver you come in contact with rather than condemnation. As John Mark says, it takes practice, in this case, to learn to love people as Jesus would.
It’s in these moments where we are able to change the way we are portraying ourselves to the world. And this is where we can partner with Jesus >> be the vessel for God’s Kingdom to inhabit earth- by changing what we love, and allowing that which we love, to change us.
partner with Jesus >> be the vessel