My husband gave me new clothes for Christmas. Well, he didn’t actually give me the clothes, but he gave me a visa gift card to use for the clothes, which is even better because we have very different ideas of what looks good. He wanted to make sure I actually went out and bought myself some new clothes. You see, anytime I go out to buy something new, no matter how much I may need it, I tend to talk myself out of it. Somehow I always manage to say, “you don’t need this” or “this is too expensive” or “you wouldn’t need to buy this if you didn’t put on so much weight, so you don’t deserve this” I even try to blame it on my husband “Dean will be like, ‘why did you spend so much on clothes?’”
Dean has never once questioned me on my clothes purchases. But I think he saw that I did this to myself and he wanted to give me a real gift. The gift became more about the guilt-free aspect of shopping for myself rather than the money. Treating myself to something nice, not because I earned it, but just because. I was so moved, I cried.
Before I go further on to tell you why it’s been almost a month and I haven’t used any of the money yet, I want to tell you something my husband said to me after I hugged him for the gift. He said, “I was scared you were take this the wrong way.”
I didn’t have to ask him what he meant, I knew exactly what he meant, because I had a habit of doing this. And, in complete honesty, those thoughts did rain down on me like flaming arrows for a split second, before I lifted my shield of truth to protect me. Thoughts like, “he must think my clothes look horrible on me, otherwise he wouldn’t give me money to buy new clothes” or “maybe he is doing this because he is embarrassed to be seen with me when I wear my jeans that are clearly too small on me” or “is he trying to encourage me to lose weight with new clothes?” or “He must think I’m ugly” and the arrows could continue attacking if I let them. But not this time! I quickly lifted my shield of truth, “my husband is giving me a guilt-free shopping spree!” “My husband wants me to have nice things!” “My husband wants me to feel good about myself.” “My husband is trying to build me up, not tear me down!”
And yet, here I am a month later and I haven’t done one bit of shopping. Why? Because somehow I made an unspoken goal to myself, “I can’t buy any new clothes until I get back down to my preferred weight.” Apparently, I feel that the body I have now is not worth nice things. I don’t want to go shopping because I’m scared of what I will see in the mirror when I go, I’m scared of the disappointment I will feel when nothing fits right, I’m scared of going up another pant size….again, I’m scared I won’t be able to find my size on the rack because I am notoriously in between normal sizes and plus sizes and apparently women my size don’t deserve clothing because we are unidentifiable as normal or fat so no one knows what types of clothes we “should” be wearing. I’m scared I will come home and realize I have to lose 20lbs just so I can feel good about myself again. I’m scared I will find exactly what I want and put it on and realize that my calves have once again ruined a perfect outfit. I’m scared I will inadvertently buy clothing made by poor, starving children who are not paid nearly enough and as a result I am just encouraging the mistreatment of these poor innocent children. Ok, so that last one, I kind of just said that so you would think I’m not completely self-involved. And even though I cried when I watched documentaries on this subject, when I go shopping all I think about is I want, I want, I want, I want, me, me, me, me, mine, mine, mine, mine, now, now, now, now…..sigh.
But that’s a different issue entirely, back to the point.
Yesterday, I split a pair of jeans and not because I was too big and they were too small, but because I actually wear out my jeans. Before puberty I wore my jeans out at the knees from exploring, playing army, climbing trees, wading in creeks, etc. After puberty my butt became increasingly competitive and was determined to wear out my jeans before my knees did. And although holey jeans are pretty trendy, split jeans are not. So when my husband came home from work I said, “I split a pair of my jeans today and now I can finally go use some of that money!” His response?
“That’s not the point.”
I thought about it. I guess it wasn’t the point. The point was to treat myself, and here I am waiting until it becomes a necessity so I don’t feel guilty about treating myself, because when it comes down to it, I don’t think this body is worthy of special treatment. I don’t think this body deserves to look beautiful, because then I will settle for fat, right? I know this doesn’t make sense, but in my head it makes so much sense!
Part of me desperately wants to hang on to this money until I lose the weight so I can feel completely guiltless and good about myself. But what if I never lose the weight? In the past it didn’t matter if I lost weight, because I always wanted to lose more, it was never enough weight to allow me to feel good enough. I know weight loss is not the answer. Losing weight will not magically make me feel worthy of nice things, worthy of new clothes, worthy of beauty, and worthy of my husband’s love and affection.
I’m not saying weight loss is bad at all. I’m just saying, I’ve been trying to fix a worth problem with a weight solution. New clothes won’t make me feel worthy either, that would be trying to fix a worth problem with a clothes solution. The only fix to my worth is Jesus.
Yay, rainbows, puppies, unicorns, happily ever after.
(Insert HUGE eye roll here)
I know Jesus IS the answer, but whenever I say that in my head I think of that one lady in church who counters everything you say with, “Just press in to Jesus.” Even though there is incredible truth behind her statement, I get the feeling she has never actually done it herself. And even though I have done it before in parts of my life, I have not done it for this layer of my life, so I want to turn into Boromir from Lord of the Rings and say to myself (and her), “One does not simply press into Jesus.”
Before I press in, I have to let go. I have to let go of my dreams of being skinny. I have to let go of my dreams of having a pair of jeans that perfectly sits on my trim waist and shows off just a tiny bit of perfectly formed lady abs: not too chiseled, but still defined. I have to let go of the idea that my worth comes from my size. I have to let go of the expectation that if I slim down my husband will never ever even be tempted to let his gaze fall on another woman.
Pressing in isn’t just pressing in, it has a lot to do with letting go.
Jesus Heals Bartimaeus
46Next, they came to Jericho. And as Jesus and His disciples were leaving Jericho with a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road. 47When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
48Many people admonished him to be silent, but he cried out all the louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
49Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called the blind man. “Take courage!” they said. “Get up! He is calling for you.”
50Throwing off his cloak, Bartimaeus jumped up and came to Jesus.
51“What do you want Me to do for you?” Jesus asked.
“Rabboni,” said the blind man, “I want to see again.”
52“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
Bartimaeus threw off his cloak! Ok, I want to clarify this for you, a man’s cloak was not simply a coat. It was his shelter. Bartimaeus was blind, he could not work, his cloak was probably one of his only possessions. But in order to reach Jesus as fast as he could, he threw it off! Instead of drawing it in around him so he didn’t stumble over it, and risking it getting caught on the limbs of others in the crowd and pulling him back. I imagine it’s like when I walk by a door, chair, or cabinet and my slouchy cardigan catches onto some piece of it and yanks me backwards with surprise. Bartimaeus didn’t want to risk going one more moment without Jesus so he literally threw off his shelter, his possession, his only worth to reach Him without delay.
One does not simply press into Jesus. One must throw off everything that could delay pressing into Jesus. One must throw off anything that could separate oneself from Jesus. And that means identifying what it is I get my worth from.
What does that mean for me? I’m throwing off this desire to be thin. I’m letting go of this desire to try and control my husband’s thoughts about me. I’m done judging my worth by my weight. I want to know what Jesus says. I want to know Jesus’ healing.
And Jesus said, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
“I want to know that you have chosen me, you love me, and you think I am beautiful.”
“Go, your faith has healed you.”
Will you worship with me? Closer by Steffany Frizzell-Gretzinger