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How You Can Avoid the Pinterest Perfection Trap

Brooke Cooney

How You Can Avoid the Pinterest Perfection Trap

I recently had a woman from my home town ask me if I cooked all the recipes that I pin on Pinterest. I had to laugh! She was almost convinced that I mange to homeschool my children, write a blog, and actually try my hand at the pins I pin on Pinterest.

First of all, I was flattered. However, I was also a little unnerved because I somehow managed to give off the impression that I may have achieved what the rest of humanity has yet to do: have it all together. Let me put your ponderings to rest: I am not that good.

Anytime I cook real meals for dinner more than three nights in a week, I joke that I am in the running for wife and mother of the year awards. I do not believe that any of my friends will accuse me of being Sandra Lee or Ma Ingalls! Secondly, my staple meals are black beans and rice with guacamole or homemade chicken salad with Vegenaise mayo. Not quite a Pinterest perfect spread now is it?

Let’s just look at Pinterest for what it is—an entertaining, virtual magazine that enables men and women to organize and store ideas for future reference and inspiration.

Seriously, when my husband wants to “veg out,” he turns on Alaska State Troopers. I, on the other hand, open my Pinterest app and start pinning. In fact, my husband will look at my swiping movements as I sit on the iPad or phone and without my even saying a word, he can tell I am pinning away. Further, if I say, Wow! or No way! He, without even changing his gaze, says, Pinterest? Or, What did you pin now?

Most men I know will flip open their iPads and enjoy a quick game of Temple Run, Dots, Fruit Ninja, or Angry Birds. Conversely, many women I know would rather pin than win any of those games if given five or more minutes for mindless entertainment or a diversion while waiting on their next flight, in the grocery line, or what have you.

It’s great! Where else can you learn to put your iPhone in a Ziploc baggie and place it on the tray table latch in front of you to watch for inflight entertainment, and in that same place learn how to get that pesky ring around the toilet bowl clean? Or, who knew that you could make your own laundry detergent, homemade mascara, graham crackers, almond butter, or sweet potato dog biscuits? I didn’t, but now I do.

Pinterest is a great place to gather information for travel plans, workouts, weddings, and home decorating.

However, when I pin a pin on a Pinterest board, I do believe that what I am sharing is an endorsement and an extension of me and my values. With that in mind, I stay away from pinning scantily clad women or men on my Fitness and Style boards.  I keep in mind that many people are watching what I pin and I wouldn’t want to lead them in a manner that doesn’t promote discipleship, love, and virtue. Yes, I know not all pins are spiritual, but that doesn’t mean they need not promote an overall sense of holiness.

Holiness is fun! There is freedom to laugh, love, learn, and live the great adventure. Our boards say something about us. They tell the story of what is important to us, what makes us laugh, causes that we are passionate about, activities we enjoy, places we want to travel, dreams for the future, and what provides us inspiration.

Another area we should be cautious about is pinning with the unrealistic expectations or unhealthy aspirations based on false assumptions. What I am primarily referring to are young women who spend hours pinning pins about for their future I Do but put less time into developing their character to be godly women in the present and godly wives in the future. Women, we may falsely convince ourselves that a perfect wedding ceremony and reception are the culmination of a wonderful marriage when in fact they are a fleeting start to a long I still do.

An additional category of caution would be the fitness boards. I am all about using Pinterest to find a good workout. It may perhaps be my most utilized board on my account. However, I would caution those of us who may use fitness pins as inspiration to get in better shape and achieve physical goals to not buy into a lie. The lie that to be happier and more content we must look like the women on the pins we pin. First of all, for most of us, those provide unattainable physiques. We are each given a specific frame and we must work within the parameters of that body frame.  Secondly, a number on the scale does not equate contentment and joy in our hearts. That is a working in of the Holy Spirit and a working out of sanctification.

Inspiration is good; idolatry is a sin.

Use Pinterest as an unspoken platform to promote a Christian worldview and a chance to show others what you value and things that you aspire to accomplish or try. However, know that no one is Pinterest Perfect. No life is Pinterest Perfect. In reality, few of us actually attempt most or all that we pin on a board. These boards are picture books that tell a story about us and give us places to organize our lives, albeit on gigabytes, so that we can refer to recipes, helpful posts, and DIYs when we need them.

Now, the real question is, if you try a pin in real life and don’t document it on social media, did it really happen? 

Brooke Cooney is a pastor's wife, mother of two, and foster-mom of one. To capture the eternal in the everyday, she blogs about family, faith, and lessons along the journey at ThisTemporaryHome.com.

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