The Well-Curated Life
This article first appeared in the May/June 2016 print edition of Daughters of Promise.
We are to be curators of our lives.
What is a curator?
A curator takes care of valuable belongings: discovering, tending, calling out the very best.
Search “well curated” on Pinterest and your eyes behold beautiful homes and museums where everything is in place. A mastermind was behind the scenes, a curator who knew what she was doing and why. No disharmony is present. The best in every object is called out. Even a simple bookshelf is an object of beauty under a curator’s touch: colors together, organized, arranged with care.
The best museums are the best curated. Nothing is there by happenstance. Only what adds value remains. Likewise with our lives: the best lives are the ones pared-down to the most valuable. As we curate our lives, learning from God what to add and what to subtract, our lives gain meaning and wholeness.
We are not meant to live one dimensional, flat lives.Our lives are to be a spectrum of color. Deep and whole, layer upon layer of goodness. And yet it is different for each person. Like a museum or art, no life is alike. We are all our own blend of flesh and blood, hopes and dreams, heart and soul.
Don’t be distracted by glancing at someone else; don’t trip on someone else’s expectations. It is not about becoming the perfect woman you see on Instagram or meeting a certain standard of accomplishment. Driveness and unrest fester in comparison and insecurity. Who has God made you? God knows what you need to become the best possible version of yourself. He knows what gaps need to be rounded and filled with light, and He is intent on calling out your very best. So dig. Dig deep inside, deep into listening to God’s voice.
We have one life with a sundry of beautiful and worthy things vying to fill it. What is most valuable to you? Be wise in what you invest your energy and time. Curate a deliberate life free from excess, unafraid to say no to the paltry and unafraid to say yes to the excellent. Narrow it down to the best of the best and run to it with wide-open arms. Live intentionally.
Curating Your Life
What does a woman curating her life to God’s mastermind plan look like, deep inside?
She is self-aware.
She knows her limits.
She is brave.
She honors her God-given interests and gifts.
She is creative.
She is always growing.
The more in touch I am with my emotional, spiritual and physical health, the more whole I become. We are intricate, complex designs of God. We honor Him by learning how to take care of ourselves in every possible way.
What do you need in your life to become whole? Listening to our hearts and bodies gives us clues. We need different things in different seasons. For some it means pulling back and saying no; for others it means plunging forward, saying yes. Likely, for us all, it means both. Embrace the complicated dance.
A well-curated life, soaked in selfawareness, knows when too much is too much, and when not enough is not enough. Sometimes we need a vacation, and sometimes we need to put in long hours of discipline. Sometimes we need coffee black as night, other times ice cold water. Part of becoming a whole woman is knowing when to rest, when to run, when to laugh and when to cry. We need both sadness and laughter, theology and comics, dance and stillness.
A curator brings balance to a scene. Her eye is trained. Not enough black, a little too much white--adjust, adjust--perfect. She sees crookedness and makes it straight. Selective and aware, she knows what to add, what to subtract and when to do it. She knows when to say hello and when to say goodbye.
Knows Her Limits
Get to know what makes you tick. We are all wired differently. Vulnerability and honesty birth a healthy woman. Here are some things I’ve learned about myself: I am an introvert who likes people but they can make me tired. I need to live in a lot more quietness than I thought back in my early twenties. Too many choices stress me out. I process life better by talking about it. I don’t make fast decisions well.
As I accept my personality, with all of its gifts and its limits, I see a clearer picture of who I am and who I can become with God’s help. This frees me from attempting to be a superwoman. Knowing my limits brings a quiet stability and a deep contentment. As I embrace the whole bundle of me, my personality, my quirks, my wiring, I grow in wholeness.
Accept both your limits and your talents. Your unique personality, limits and gifts are designed to fill an extraordinary purpose. Don’t run from them. Be full of grace with yourself; God is full of grace with you. Cup your hands under His waterfall of mercy and drink deep.
I’m sure you have heard the question: What would you do if you knew you could not fail? Ask it this way: What’s worth doing even if I fail? Answer that question honestly, and you have your marching orders.
It takes bravery to curate your passions. It’s difficult. We find it far easier to relax and not put in effort; to float through life and let it just happen. Be willing to put in the hard work of discovery and learning. Hone your skills. Push through. It always takes time and effort to create something meaningful.
Honors her God-given interests
A curator has a sense of what will add value to her collection. The item may be bedraggled and need refinishing, but she knows it is perfect. She knows when to throw in all her chips and risk all. A curator is a discoverer.
Think back as a child. What did you love? Often our God-given interests are found in our childhood before life shushed them quiet. You are made for creativity and living in your giftings. Be brave, discover them again.
What makes your heart beat faster? Do you love to run, write, nurse, teach, rock-climb? Do you love photography, science, medicine, art, children? What sparks joy? Cultivate the fire, blow on it, watch it emerge into brightness. It’s time to bring the embers back to life.
Honor your interests and desires. Worship God in everything you do
whether it’s with a paintbrush or a guitar, a magnifying glass or a computer screen. Everything is an opportunity to bring glory to God. For the Christian the spiritual and physical blend together; one and the same. The healthy inside spills into a healthy outside.
We are made in the image of a creative God. Therefore, we are creative. The ways to explore our creativity are endless. Listen to the creative voice of God: what is He saying to you?
Purposefully create and add value to your life. We were made to create, and when we don’t obey, we find ourselves in a downward spiral of mindless, soulnumbing consuming. Put down the credit card, the food, the scrolling of the phone. Be curious. Ask questions. Pick up the hard thing, take the walk, jump the chasm. Risk. Listen. Dare greatly and reach high in the sky to grab a star.
You are exactly where you are meant be at this exact moment. The world is bursting with possibilities. A thousand, thousand reasons to enjoy life greet you every day. Pick one, pick five, pick what God is asking of you today. Fiercely love and protect what God has placed in your heart and hands.
Scoop life up with both hands, gulping in its sunshine and diving into its spectrum of wild, bright color. Don’t be afraid to live, big and bold and beautifully. Grow in your flesh and blood, hopes and dreams, heart and soul. So many opportunities await you. You bring glory to God when you cultivate your passions, curating your life to the most valuable and significant.
You are in the middle of your one-of-a-kind redemptive story. There is still much to be revealed, developed and fine-tuned. He is making you whole, as together, you discover, tend and call out the very best in your life. Embrace what God is doing in your life; say yes to His voice. Always, always say yes.