I love the idea of something being effortless. A, “I took no time to do this such-n-such a thing” sounds nice to me. Often social media gives this impression. I don’t want the the fussy, stiff and unapproachable.
Living the Effortless Life
A few years back during prom and wedding season my hair stylist and I had a discussion about what was “in” for up-dos. She said, “You know, they are suppose to look more natural, as if the girl put little effort into it, kind of messy, like she just got out of bed. Yet in reality, she put out a lot of money and I took a lot of time to make it look like she just got out of bed.” I wouldn’t mind having some effortless hair though– no washing, styling, graying or hair products. My husband tells me that is called, “bald.”
A recent trip to Round Top, Texas got me thinking about all this. Recently, my friend had to cancel at the last minute for our trip to the Round Top antique shows. She was not so happy about it. And if you have been there before you can understand why. So, I found myself in Round Top for sort of a “day-cation,” and escaped into the wonderland of decor, creativity, and junk made good. It is a place you can buy something like I bought — an old bench to create extra seating. Yet my son wonders when I will fix it up.
My eye landed on a coffee table that was oval, painted and slightly distressed. It was also a good price and a good replacement for the one which cracked a leg –the result of having four boys. I loved the “lines” of the table, and it had that comfortable, “don’t worry about me,” lived in look with just the right amount of distressing. Though it looked lived in I know the man I bought it from spent some time and talent to make it look this way. It wasn’t effortless for him.
Cooking has also appeared more effortless (which is something I desperately need), as attractive women blanch asparagus, pinch sea salt, or whip cream, and bloggers share easy recipes with professional –like photos with life commentary included. It makes me want to whip it up right then. I am always a fan of the effortless, when it comes to the kitchen.
Effortless in Social Media
As I scan social media, I find lots of effortless living. Life for others often appears light, carefree, vacation-filled, and undemanding. Things are made to seem simple. Life out there is easy, and almost a click away! Even selfies seem so– effortless. But, as I scan social media, I can begin to believe that what I see is “real,” life.
The Effortless Scam
Effortless is not always Easy
Of course, probably like you, I am not totally fooled by all this effortless living. In reality, I know much thought, time and work is exerted to make the outfit, hair, furniture, event or whatever to “appear” effortless. I get that. I am not a fan of “fussy” either.
Effortless can be Disappointing
Even the simple and mundane things don’t always turn out for me. My hair needs “products,” my jeans go out of style, my painting project is not quite right, my pie is soupy and the kind of event that looks so great actually takes money and time! I become disappointed with effortless.
Easy not Effortless
Really what I want, if I am honest, is easy, undemanding and painless. I want to be carefree in New York like the Instagram photo. I want a vacation with a cup of coffee in hand. Those ladies at Round Top walking around in their Palazzo pants, tanks, and Raybans, while drinking a beer and chatting — look so effortless. Their life looks easy, carefree and painless. That’s what I think I want.
I know that what I see is not everything there really is. The problem is this: if I search for the effortless life — if this is really what I want or seek after — a life of ease, to just “be happy,” to do what makes me feel good — then I will be sadly disappointed. I naturally begin to think life is about being happy, having more and more, a more comfortable house, or a more adequate income to make an easy life. I need to stop, for daily I am tricked by social media, the world I walk in, and just by being, “me.” If I want a life of value, significance and meaning– then I must daily come to a better example.
The Emptied life not the Effortless life
I read this in Philippians the other day:
Have this attitude in yourselves, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8)
His emptied life: this is our example.
True life costs something. It is not found in the easy, but in the emptying. Very few things in life are effortless. Even our redemption came with a price. Jesus emptied Himself and gave His life for ours.
Of course, we have no selfies of Jesus. What we have is a reminder of His life and death and resurrection. His life now is in me. My life is identified with Him. Life is now found in the emptied life, not in the effortless life.