I love old photo's. Y'all know the black and white ones of your grandparents or great-grandparents? Or maybe they are more sepia toned. I love the nostalgic feeling they bring to the ones who maybe were in the photo. In this day and age -- thank you Instagram -- we can make any photo have a certain look by choosing different filters. Now at the Influence Conference, I learned that filters are not the way to go. While I agree to some extent, I really do enjoy 1977, Nashville, Rise, Lo-Fi… You get the picture (ha, a pun!), I love filters. They may not always be cool, but oh well. I like them! I think it's funny to imagine my Great Granny Weezy -- yes, that is what she was called, her actual name was Louise -- asking her girlfriends if the Willow filter made her look less pale (Willow is a black & white filter for those of you who may not have Instagram). Ok, so now that I have chased a few rabbits, and laughed at my own silly jokes, I am hopefully getting back to my thought…
Black and white photos are often equated with the past or previous, older times. How often do you find yourself stuck in the past? I am not talking about reminiscing on the good ol' days in a positive way. I think there is a time and place for that. I mean being stuck in regret, shame, disappointment. or bitterness because of bad choices you made or difficult situations that you had to endure. Maybe this isn't an issue for you. If not, I'm so happy for you. But for me, I know that I have carried a lot of my struggles with me from my past in an unhealthy way.
I mentioned in my previous post that at the Influence Conference, Shauna Niequist encouraged us to avoid cramming so much into life that you can't taste or feel or experience it. I could not agree more. I would like to add to that, if you are too busy rehashing your mistakes, your disappointments, your grudges, or the times that just weren't fair, you will also miss out on tasting, seeing, and experiencing life that is happening now. You won't see the beauty that God has placed around you. You won't take time to stop, breathe, and give thanks. You will be too busy living in a black and white, previous time that has already passed, rather than living in the the present, in color.
As much as I love a beautiful black and white photo, I love one in color even more. I love the details. The different hues. I love the way that they take you to to the specific time and place and you can vividly remember it. I want to live in color. I want to soak up the details of life. I want to let go of my black and white past and experience the present in the brightest shades possible. I'm not speaking of a "you only live once" crazy type living. I mean the type of living that stops on the side of the road to take a picture of a field that is soaked in the most beautiful sunlight. I mean the type of living that looks for one thousand gifts and writes them down, even writing them in color. I mean the type of living that is in the freedom of Christ, rather than the bondage of disbelief.
Are y'all with me? I pray this rambling post hits home with some of you. We can't afford to miss another day because we are kicking ourselves over what happened 5, 10, or 15 years ago. Yes, we must remember where we have been, where God has delivered us from and be thankful for His grace. We can't be like the Israelites who forgot what God had done for them by bringing them out of slavery. But y'all, we also can't go back. We can't undo what has been done. We can't get stuck in the black and white and miss all the color that is around us, all the joy, all the love, all the grace.
So let's commit to living colorfully, in the present, in the now. Let's look for the one thousand ways that God blesses us and live a life that says "thank you." Let's put down the boring black pens and write boldly in color. Let's reminisce on the good times, but leave the shame and bitterness behind. Let's see and live life through God's filters of love, joy, grace, kindness, and peace. I must say, this isn't something that I just figured out one day. I am still learning. He is continually doing His work in my life and heart. He places people in my life who share His Truth and I'm forever grateful for that. I pray daily for Him to open my eyes to His beauty around me and for me to then share it. I also pray that God opens your eyes to Him and the colorful life we can live right now.
Have a blessed day, y'all! Live colorfully!
*no filter, promise! ;)