Thoughts on Curating & Filtering Thoughts

When using Facebook I go thru life like “This would make a good Facebook post.” And I phrase my thinking in terms of what I’d post on Fb.

Or Instagram – Constantly thinking of photos to take with the sole focus of then sharing them on Instagram and what I would say and what humorous/pun hashtags to use.

The more I used those apps the more my thoughts were focused on the inconsequential, meaningless, pointless, inane snippets of “life”. I was failing to live my moments as they were because I was mentally distracted on how to “share” them.

The surest way to avoid true sense of self and depth of thought is to curate your thinking with such distracted focus. I didn’t anticipate going “dark” in this post, but the more I reflect the more I realize this is truly the devil’s work. Satan is very good at distracting us from what matters. Satan dangles the shiny object inches from our eyes. He entices so clearly and yet so subtly. And so often that we soon forget to notice. In time we only see the shiny object and forget that there is so much more to life – a deeper, fully, truer life full of real meaning and purpose.

But I was lucky and God let me see that I was doing this. In response I cut out my use of those apps. I stopped posting on social media.

And funny thing… I stopped thinking like that. I wasn’t thinking in ways of posts, but I was getting back to having deeper thoughts. I was getting back a better sense of self.

And I was like “Yay! Thank you God! Ahh, this is so much better.”

But then this Amazan thing came to be and I started thinking in terms of product reviews. “If this were a product review I’d give it 3 stars. Here’s why…” Such frivolous, worthless, and pointless thinking!! Shiny object dangled. Shiny object reached for. Satan’s “Operation Distraction” was, in embarrassing short order, “Mission Accomplished”.

And then fortunately again I realized what was happening. In an effort to focus my thoughts I did my “Challenge Month” in September to force my thinking on God. True, that meant I was just phrasing my thoughts in terms of “GGYY” blog posts like “I could write about this thing.” Or ‘That would make a good GGYY topic!’ ” — So there I was curating and filtering again.

But I would/could (am!) argue(ing) that a GGYY filter is soooooo infinitely better than a Facebook/Instagram, etc filtering of life. I want to curate God into my life — the most meaningful, consequential thing I could be thinking. So that is a bit of a win.

But at the same time it is also a filter… And so I reflected on it more and realized: I am constantly looking to frame my thinking in terms of how I plan to SHARE a thought. If I didn’t have GGYY then my thoughts are about “I have to tell Ryan this” or “I have to tell Bridgette that” — and so maybe not a filter of the story itself, but an audience filtering of the story — and well, maybe I talk differently to different audiences, too — but I definitely say that is a MUCH better filtering of life because that involves real relationships with real people AND it isn’t a one-way street. When I talk to Ryan or Bridgette I’m not shouting my thoughts at brick walls, I am speaking to loving people with ears that listen and hear me, respond to me, engage with me, and share back.

I want to be authentic. I want to be the person God is calling me to be to all audiences and at all times. I need to not curate and filter, or at least not curate and filter life through a meaningless lens. The trick is to focus on the meaningful – God and real-life, deep relationships. The trick is to acknowledge the shiny object but not get distracted by it. The trick is to hear God’s whisper among all the senseless noise.

I’d like to tell you I have solved this problem permanently, but if yesterday and today are any indication this is a permanent, daily struggle. It is going to take active effort to realize the presence of the shallow shiny object and force myself to see and focus on the true depths that lie beyond it. :: I pray that if you face a similar challenge in life you will be able to do the same.

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