The shape I’m in

Image–1. a mental picture or impression of something
2. An exact likeness

Recently, I spent some time in a dressing room.

If you are of the female persuasion you know how devastating this can be.  I firmly believe that the most disheartening experience a woman over about age 13 can face is the set of mirrors that encloses you on three sides and shows you glimpses and views of yourself you haven’t seen in quite some time. And come to find out, you didn’t want to see at all.
I’m convinced that the first retailer who has the brilliant idea to utilize softer lighting and flattering mirrors in a dressing room will sell more clothes than every other store put together.  As I see it, the ugliest, brightest lights that show every lump and bump are the ones currently being used.  And I swear those mirrors are shipped in from some sadistic funhouse.
You know I’m telling the truth, ladies.

This visit, oh so thankfully, was not the dreaded bathing suit or bra shopping.   I’d rather eat my feet.
And at the risk of sounding like I’m bragging, I will tell you that my husband took me shopping and helped me choose clothes for this fall and winter, and we had a great time.  He sat on the chair outside the dressing room with his cup of coffee and acted like he was on Say Yes to the Dress or something.  He also made friends with the salesgirls and all the female customers around.  That’s my guy.  He’s so much fun.
But, despite the best possible shopping experience, I left feeling disheartened and discouraged. I’m sure getting pressured into trying on those skinny jeans was my downfall.

To sum it up, I reaaallly struggled with the image in the mirror.

It just wasn’t what I had hoped it was.  I wish I was over this stage in my life where it matters.  Apparently, I’m not.

The store that is my favorite has salesgirls that helped me pick things out and give me advice.  It’s really the only way I know how to to shop any more.  I don’t know what section to shop in in any department stores.  Maybe it’s because I’m in denial about my age.  Maybe it’s because I hate being piegeon-holed into a category.  Who really is a Missy or a Junior?  And what comes after that?

In my head I’m still about 22.  Not a forty year old woman.  Big, HUGE sigh………

No matter our size or shape, I firmly believe every person struggles with body image at some point or another, and some of us struggle a bit longer in life than others.

Obviously, everyone at some point has made a conscious effort to create the image of themselves that they want to portray to the world. Much as a sculptor forms an image from raw material into art.
It begins around adolescence, (when we realize that our mothers actually had a good idea when they made us brush our teeth and do our hair), and hopefully it changes and morphs until eventually one presents him/herself to the world the way they want to look.
We start with a costume of sorts to fit into whatever crowd we associate ourselves with (depending on how hard we are trying to not look like our parents), and then, somehow, we spend the rest of our lives trying to look like whatever unrealistic, airbrushed picture society tells us to emulate.

What bothers me is that we have this picture in our mind of how we should look, and then we base our success or failure on that image in our mind.
What also bothers me is how much we are compelled to dwell on our outside sculpture and how much less we are compelled to shape our inside.

Really, what shows more?

At the end of the day, aren’t you more moved by the encounters you’ve had with people than the way they presented themselves.  What did you notice?  How they behaved, or what they were wearing?

Today, I was blessed to run into a man at the grocery store that I met only a few times, but he hugely impacted my life.  He was used by God to speak life into my world at an age when I had NOTHING going for me.  I happen to know he has impacted literally thousands of people in the same way, yet all these years later he knew my face.  Our spirits had connected once upon a time and again today.  I wept in the baking aisle as I thanked him for making room in his world for me.

I have no idea what he was wearing or if he had gained any weight over the years.           Wouldn’t that have been ridiculous to notice?

When I looked in his eyes, I saw the image of my God reflected.
“God created man in His own image.” Genesis 1:27

Typically, when I step out for the day, I have spent nearly an hour preparing my outside to look as good as it’s going to look.
But, how have I prepared my heart, my mind, my spirit for any encounters God has planned for me?  What do people remember from a moment with me?

I’m facing the fact that I’ll probably never find perfection in a three-way mirror.  But, I have the opportunity to look into the eyes of several people in any given day and reflect a different image of One Who I’ve allowed to shape me.  Hopefully, its an image that looks a lot like pure love.

Because He is the three-way reflection of me that tells me who I really am.

The voice of my Sculptor Who loves me is the One I want to hear.  Not the one in my head that usually spews lies.

The following is a love letter that gently screams truth.  This is going to be printed tonight and put on my bathroom mirror and that of my girls.

This is the voice I choose to hear…

“My dearly loved daughter, I love you with an everlasting love, a lavish love. You are my princess, the apple of My eye. I gather you in My arms and carry you close to my heart. I rejoice over you with singing.
Carefully and skillfully, I knit you together in your mother’s womb. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Every hair on your head is numbered. Every smile catches My eye. I think of you constantly. Were I to count the number of times each day I think of you they would outnumber the grains of sand on the seashore. I know you completely. I know when you sit, and when you rise. I know your thoughts before you think them; I know the words you say before you speak them.
Daughter, let me have all your worries and all your cares for I know all that concerns you. I know the thoughts and plans I have for you; plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future. Open wide your heart and I will fill you with My holy love.
My love will satisfy you. My love will fill your deepest longings. Keep your heart bound up in Mine, for with Me you can do all that I have called you to do. My love for you is higher, deeper, wider than you can possibly imagine. I’d do anything for you–I gave My Son’s very life for you.

I love you, precious one.
Your Daddy

And if that doesn’t convince you, take a few minutes and listen to this amazing song from Cody Carnes. It changed my world.

Love letter borrowed from Lorraine Pintus–author of Jump off the Hormone Swing



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