If you haven’t been introduced to the mildly addictive online world of Pinterest, I’m kind of happy for you. But you’ll need a little backstory for any of the rest of this to make sense. And I think it’ll still be valuable, so hang wid me. Pinterest is basically a very simple way of sharing different things you find and like while browsing these here interwebs, where you ‘Pin’ pictorial links of favourite outfits, paint colours, recipes, arts and crafts ideas, amusing ecards you want to laugh at again later, and so on. And on. And on.

Your links are arranged into nifty little pin boards, organised with titles like “Yummy Recipes to Try” or “I Looooove this Outfit” or “Dream Home” or “Baby’s Nursery Inspiration.” And, kind of like Facebook, people follow each other in order to see what the other person has pinned so that they can like it or repin it, or, for the adventurous types, actually go to the website where the information came from to find out more.

You might think of it as a web gathering for a lot of people who are perhaps already living the dream, but just want to live the dream even dreamier.

{This could quite possibly be the most ironic pin on Pinterest. If it gets pinned.}

Alongside the creative inspiration, I’ve been enjoying the useful, organizational side of Pinterest for some time now. When the Hubs said ‘The Gallery is Going to be Your Baby‘ I promptly started a pinboard on Pinterest and began collecting ideas and inspiration wherever I could find them. And that turned out pretty well.

But for the average every day gal whose job isn’t decorating or even blogging about decorating, while Pinterest has come through on a number of occasions, on the whole, I’m not sure I ought to spend too much time there.

Cos here’s the thing. Let’s say I find something on Pinterest that I think is super-cute, and I love the inspiration and I therefore have to pin it. There are kind of three options. (For me anyway.)

1. I get excited because I can try it. And then hopefully I do. Yay.

2. I feel bummed because I can’t try it. It involves painting furniture. Or recipes that have ridiculously expensive ingredients. And I don’t own the house I live in, or even the furniture we live on. And my grocery budget won’t accommodate the purchase of six items that are each at least five bucks and will only be used for this one recipe which could rock or be rubbish. So maybe next month. Next year?

3. I pin something, but I see the ‘pin’ as an unattainable / unachievable goal I’ll never reach. You can probably guess what these types of pins are. Gorgeous DIY kitchen island projects for an island that would literally take up my entire kitchen. Living rooms that look like they’ve come out of a magazine because they actually have come out of a magazine, where half the items I love from the room are a) within arm’s reach for toddler paws and breakable or b) so expensive by the time I saved up to buy them they’d be out of style or c) so completely impractical that if I did save up to purchase everything to make my room like that room, I would immediately feel insanely guilty because I am more personally aware than the average American of what people in poverty live like and how that one piece of furniture could probably feed a family of four for a year. And change.

It’s not always about a house or furniture or food — I’m just kind of giving you an idea. And it sometimes sparks creativity and I come up with a way of doing something for close to $0 and get similar results and then I feel #awesome.

But herein, we find the heart of the struggle: Because I’d roughly estimate that 87% of the things that I pin on Pinterest fall into categories two and/or three, pinning usually makes me discontent, which is not a great choice for how to spend my time.

I don’t really want to be a dreamer. I want to be a doer. So if I spend time dreaming about perfect ways to fix my hair or awesome ways of creating world maps to decorate my boys’ room, well then I better spend some time doing those things, or I’m just wasting time…right?

What I see in my heart, I struggle with. I struggle because I am not content with the home we live in. The furniture’s not mine and we have a mild insect issue and there is only one drawer in the entire kitchen. Bugs. And one drawer. And then, I struggle because in remote villages on the Yucatan Peninsula, I have seen people live in huts made of long branches, wired and held together by who-knows-what and covered with thatched roofs. And they’ve proudly invited me in with a smile on their faces. Chasing their chickens outside and welcoming me in. With Joy.

And I looked this girl in the eyes, this one child in a shack in a township outside Cape Town. And I thought — couldn’t that have been me? And why wasn’t that me? And what was it Bono said about how Where You Live Should Not Decide Whether You Live or Whether You Die?

I left South Africa less than a year ago — I left Mexico exactly ten years ago — but… have they left me?

I’d really like to tie all these thoughts together with a pink polka-dotted ribbon {you know, in honour of our recent gender news!} but to do so would be to gloss over a truth that I am struggling to navigate — a month away from being back here in the US for a full year.

Am I now overly focused on making my happy North-American life even more happy and — dare I say it — comfortable? Could this frivolous escape cause me to forget the fact that I’m actually ridiculously fortunate and that there is so much I can do to make the world we live in a better place?

And will I stand before the throne one day, sorry I spent so much time on my hair?

Today I read this really encouraging post about why we need to struggle. (Remember Kristen from We Are That Family who collected shoes for SFSA in 2010?) I’m encouraged that this struggling is healthy and good.

Jesus blessed those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. He never said we were going to get it all right, but I think He was saying it pleased Him to see us hungry to try. So how do I balance making my home a comfortable place for my family to live in while still managing to be a generous and cheerful giver? And Jesus, should I stop pining (and pinning? funny those words are so similar) for things… especially if I see that it’s 9 pm and I haven’t opened my Bible today?

Is it possible I’m signing up for a daily dose of discontentment?

And where is the small gate? Where is the narrow road? Which boys’ room world map will show me how to get there?

I wish there were seven steps I could copy and paste right here for you that would clearly lay out the answers, but I don’t think there’s one right way for all of us, a one-size-fits-most solution. Rather it involves each of us, in our own ways, hungering for God and for godliness, and asking for His help to figure out what that’s supposed to look like in our day to day lives. And in our cars, homes, nurseries, and kitchens big and small.

Because even if we don’t get it all right, if our hearts are changed and our minds are transformed and we do make a difference in the world around us in the process of the trying — all of that is an outcome that’s glorious.

Are you on Pinterest? Do you think it makes you discontent with what you have? A little?



P.S. This post from Ann Voskamp also speaks to this struggle — in volumes and with wisdom, as if she’d been reading words from my heart. I just feel like I link to her every day so I’m trying to slow down. 🙂