Have you ever just wanted to organize something? Not a specific something - anything really. It's this strange urge to get things in order and it's probably got a deeper meaning that leads to my issues with control...but that's not where I'm headed with this. I got this feeling a few days ago and naturally wandered over to Pinterest. It was definitely time to curate my pins. I had boards for places that I no longer work, boards flavored by relationships that I'm no longer in, and boards for bucket list tasks that I checked off years ago. Dig a little further and you find pins of wedding colors (gimme' a break, you know you have a wedding wish board) that I would never envision now, hair styles that I'm thankful I never attempted, and so many recipes for cake pops that had I tried them I would probably have a cake pop cooking show by now. As I dug through the piles of likes and pins and boards and repins I started to feel a bit like a geologist.
Geologists* study layers of rock on the earth to try and figure out how the planet formed and what has happened since then. (Good news, guys! There's a book about some of that called Genesis.) I'm grateful that Pinterest only takes me back like 5 years, because starting at the beginning might have been a little overwhelming. I began to discover that the things that caught my eye from month to month and year to year created a pretty clear picture of where my focus was at the time.
I saw this in my recipe choices. 5 years ago I was pinning pancakes and cupcakes and the most colorful smoothie that I could find. It progresses to everything pumpkin themed, takes a turn when I discovered quinoa, and you can tell when there was a man in my life because the recipes suddenly start involving a lot more meat. Overall, though, it looks like at least my intentions got healthier.
I saw layers in my "Dream a little dream" board, which consists mostly of homes and rooms and #wifegoals. 5 years ago I was posting HUGE houses and tiny dogs and all of the colors. Then there is a pile where I pin crazy bohemian everything and seem to be channeling the single traveler, eat-pray-love life. Now I am drawn to simplicity, land for big dogs, and things that last.
I have a board that is kind of a coffee table book of pretty hand-lettered quotes and scripture. Those layers were super easy to decipher. The words pinned are words that I needed at the time. If I was feeling unmotivated I liked the Shia Labeouf "Just do it." video. If I was feeling in awe of the love of Jesus, I just pinned all the floral Etsy "Oh, how He loves" prints. If I was about to travel, I jumped on the wanderlust bandwagon.
My book list describes seasons of leaning into the Lord, moments of wanting to escape into fictional worlds, with countless titles on leadership and self-reflection practice strewn throughout. My wedding board shifts a bit and drew from the current potential groom in my mind more than I realized in those moments. And some boards have died altogether. I don't really have a need for a fiesta-themed missions dinner board or the ones that I created to plan parties for now-married brides.
They all brought pieces together that create a picture of my interests, my dreams, and my focus over the past 5 years. I can visually see the layer of intentionality that I was placing on my job through the kid's ministry decorations or the lesson plans. I can see the layer of preparation that I was putting into travel through the sandals and air mattresses and backpacks. I can see the layers of wanting to plan my future out in my dream houses and travel plans and family photography. They all stack up to create a picture of a 20-something figuring out what she likes and what in the world she is going to do with it.
Why does it matter what the layers look like? Just like the layers of rock in the earth, I think that these shifts in our attention signify important change in our lives. I did a little research to find out more about the rock layers that geologists discover and it brought so much of this together for me. Here's the deal. There are 3 primary types of rock (elementary science flashbacks, anyone?) that are each formed under different types of change and pressure. One is formed when it is super-heated and becomes molten. Another is formed by the shifting of things around it that leads to the cementing of it's form. The third is created by extreme pressure and changes into something completely new.
Isn't that how our lives work? One day we are a happy little pebble and the next day something could shift that alters who we are forever. The heat and the pressure tend to get a bad wrap, but I don't think they always have to be painful experiences. Heat could come in the nearness of the Lord as He places a vision on your heart. Shifting could be happening in the excitement of an engagement or in the birth of a new baby. And at times extreme pressure will come through difficult, stressful experiences. It's the nature of life and layers in the rock. Each layer builds upon the next and creates something spectacular. Just like His intentionality in the beauty of the Grand Canyon, I am assured that the Lord has beauty in store for the layers that He's creating in us.
It's definitely not as easy of a process as browsing through your Pinterest boards and I got way more than I asked for when I followed that urge to organize something - but I am thankful for a God who illuminates things that He wants to teach us through things that we enjoy. Even when it involves secret wedding boards, never-attempted yoga poses, and mason jars for days.
*I googled it. Turns out I actually felt like a stratigrapher. Those guys study the layers specifically. Who knew? Well, geologists probably knew...