In a few short months I will be traveling abroad to share in the joy of a family member’s much anticipated wedding. Though we have no real responsibilities concerning the event, my family is making plans for travel, lodging, financing (ouch!) and – of course – what to wear.
I bought my dress months ago (actually, I bought two dresses, just in case I changed my mind), but apparently I’ve over-indulged in comfort food this winter. To the tune of (at least) a couple of pounds, I’ve got some dieting to do. At least that’s what the scale is telling me.
Why is it that I can never seem to Want What I’ve Got where weight is concerned? I look in the mirror and I can’t say that I have real problems with what I see there, but then I jump on the scale and immediately feel the need to pop some appetite suppressants and drink a gallon of water. It isn’t that my dress for the wedding doesn’t fit, so what’s really going on here?
Amy Grant had a song that I listened to in the 80’s – my mind hit the play button just now:
“You’ve gotta know who to – who not to – listen to… They’re gonna hit you from all sides, better make up your mind who to – who not to – listen to.”
There’s a voice inside my head that says perfection is the goal. And for me, perfection was 8-10 lbs ago.
There’s a voice shouting out from the media that says “you’ve gotta look like this” as I walk past the freshly-pressed Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition at the grocery store.
There’s another voice that says I can only enjoy myself and feel good about life if I can manage to wear my skinny jeans for more than two hours without cutting off the circulation to my feet.
And there’s a really loud voice, disguised as the people I love, that says I’m only lovable when I look good to others. This lying voice tells me that looking good is inseparable from things like height/weight charts, the body fat index, how I look in a swimsuit and whether I can still wear my pre-pregnancy wardrobe.
Amidst the clamor of voices vying for my attention comes the still, small voice of the Spirit, who whispers:
“…what matters is not your outer appearance – the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes – but your inner disposition. Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.” I Peter 3:3-4 (The Message)
Last week one of my sisters in the faith shared an unedited epiphany with our study group. I found myself teary-eyed as she boldly proclaimed (forgive my poorly paraphrased translation) that…
I am beautiful to God just the way I am! This extra weight says that I’ve quit smoking! This gut says that I’m a Mom! These sags and bags say that I nursed my babies! I have a husband who loves me for just being me! How can I not be okay with who I am?
How can I not Want What I’ve Got?
For me – and for my friend – there will never be a shortage of critical voices to listen to…
Scales. Calipers. Pant sizes. Media. Competition. Perfection. Guilt.
The challenge for us today is to know who to – and who not to – listen to.
Because the voices… they will hit you from all sides.The best course of action for living a Want What You’ve Got life in a get-what-you-want world is to make up your mind and tune in to the voices that speak truth, improve your disposition, increase your capacity for grace, and cultivate inner beauty.
I may delight for a moment in being the ‘perfect’ weight, but that moment will pass and my critic (the scale) will remain. May you choose instead to delight the heart of God by wearing your true, ageless beauty on your sleeve – no matter what size that sleeve is.
Daily Questions: Are you satisfied with your current weight and fitness level? If not, what is the source of your dissatisfaction? Is Wanting What You’ve Got an option for you in this area, or is your physical state keeping you from pursuing the kind of beauty that gives glory to God? What can you do about it? Whose voice do you need to listen to today?