I have this dear friend, a woman about my age, who always looks so wonderfully put together no matter what time of day or night. Her hair even gets mussed in a stylish way. She wears elaborate make up and costume jewelry and her shoes always match her watch and her purse. Her nails are always done and everything she wears is appropriate to the situation.
I am one of those 'catch as catch can' type of women. I have lost a lot of weight over the past five years (gained back about 20 of the initial 160 pound loss) and am happy to be in a woman's size 8 (relaxed fit pants, okay?). My body is lumpy with lose skin and misplaced fat and I do not have the money to get liposuction or surgery to get rid of it. I console myself with this thought - only the dog and the cat ever see me naked. The dog is very kind...the cat can be a little judgmental but that's cats - what can you do?
I get up at 3:15am and my first action is to role out of bed and hit my knees for morning prayer. I have 45 minutes to shower, dress and make myself presentable for the day. The fact that my clothes are clean and I have earrings on is an amazing feat.
That is not to say I do not have personal style. I do...but it is definitely not the kind of style reflected in any of the glossy magazines one sees on the rack at a convenience store. I do not have washboard abs that I can show off, I cannot wear high heals anymore because they make my feet hurt and all my clothes come from cheap stores. I do, however, like to wear different watches to match my earrings when I can - that is my only attempt at any kind of flash.
Give me a Friday and I am all about jeans and tee shirts - during Baseball Season it is SF Giants and during Football it is the Niners. Other than that, give me comfort and baggy enough to minimize my lumps and rolls. I may be old but I don't like looking ugly.
I share this with you because I often find myself getting caught up in the 'if only' kind of thinking....the kind of daydreams that involve winning enough money to pay off all my student loans AND get that tummy tuck and liposuction. When my mind wanders to that place I have to ask myself what is really going on with me and if I am really honest with myself I have to admit it usually involves feeling a less than loved, less than valuable.
The women and men I admire the most are not always the ones you would expect to see on the cover of a magazine. The women and men I find myself the most attracted to are those who are supremely comfortable in their own skin - no matter how little or much of it exists - and inevitably I will find that they have a really solid relationship with their Creator. They love The Father. They know the Father loves them. They feel 'enough' and so are able to walk through a room of high-heel wearing, mini skirted supermodels wearing New Balance tennis shoes with wide leg pants and an Eddie Bauer tee shirt feeling right at home.
I have come to believe that without God I am nothing. When I feel the nearness of my Creator, I feel as confident as the next gal (no matter who she is) but when I am having an off day, when I feel a little tired or angry or hungry or lonely, I start to think that life would be better if I didn't have a saggy middle and big Italian thighs. I forget, even for a minute, how I have been shaped and fashioned not only by my mistakes but also by my triumphs. I forget, for just a moment, that I was created in the image and likeness of the Creator of the Universe.
It is in that forgetting that insecurity takes root. It is only by purposefully reminding myself of my own worth as a human being, a child of the Most High, that I can regain my balance and start to feel like my real self. It is only then I can put away the fashion magazines and stop researching plastic surgeons on the internet during my lunch hour.
God has given me life. He has given me THIS life and my job is to be its steward. I am to live it as HE would have me live - to be as healthy as I can and to accept the "who" and the "how" and the "what" exactly as it is today. I can love who I am because HE loves me, not because of the size of my pants or the height of the heel of my shoe.
Today it is important for me to remember that I matter enough to Him to be sustained in His heart. I want to make Him proud of me - to please Him with my actions and my thoughts.
I am grateful for the opportunity to do so today - and I think, after work, I will go to the gym.
Couldn't hurt, right?
Please keep the people of Brussels in your prayers today.