Does This Make Me Look Fat?

My middle daughter never ceases to remind me that “it’s not fair” that her oldest sister gets more new clothes than she does.

The truth is, though, that I usually do search the racks for at least one outfit or top or pair of shoes for each of my girls, including the ones whose wardrobe is primarily made up of hand-me-downs.

So, as I hunted about town for bargains on cute warm weather clothes for my seven-year-old, I rejoiced at finding a treasure for my five-year-old, as well.

It was purple, one of her favorite colors.
It was a sweatshirt, and she prefers play-clothes to dresses and fanciness.
It was made by L.L. Bean, so it was fashionable and high quality and something I probably couldn’t afford if I hadn’t found it at a kids’ consignment shop.

We had a winner!

I carried it home with excitement, knowing for certain that she’d love it and feel special because I thought of her and not just her older sister.

At first, her reaction lived up to my expectation.  For me?  Wow, thanks mom!  Purple? I love purple! 

Then she tried it on.  And then she promptly took it off.

“It makes me look fat,” she said.

I’m sorry.  What did she just say?

I took some training once that told me not to be reactionary, to just take anything children say calmly and not respond with hysteria.

I failed.  I reacted.  Big.

What can I say?  My five-year-old just announced that she thought she looked fat in a sweatshirt.

Now, before anyone starts blaming this on me, let me just say that I’m very careful not to complain about my weight, outfits, hatred of diets and exercise, need to look skinny, or discomfort with shorts in front of my daughters.

She didn’t get this from me, but she got it from somewhere.  It simply cannot be innate for a five-year-old child to worry about her weight or how heavy she looks in a sweatshirt.

So, after lecturing her on the fact that she’s beautiful, perfectly healthy, in no way fat, and how that isn’t the most important thing anyway .  . . . and continuing this lecture long after I knew she had stopped listening . . . I still struggled.

It made me wonder how this skinny child who wears pull tabs, safety pins and belts to keep her clothes on could ever think she was fat?

Yet, how have I —how have any of us—twisted and distorted our perspective so much that we see ourselves with equally faulty vision?

We think we are perfect.  We think we are failures.  We think we are better than others.  We think we are the worst at everything.  We think we are ugly.  We think we are unusable.  We think we are tainted, soiled, dirty, unwanted, unlovable, stupid, foolish, embarrassing, hopeless . . .

Unfortunately, we’re confined to a funhouse mirror version of reality on this planet and it’s a fight to see clearly in a world that perpetually distorts truth.

It’s the media, our family, our friends, and our enemies. It’s the twisted definition of success.  It’s the times we were abused.  It’s the hurtful words we never get over.  It’s pride.

Yet, Paul gives us hope when he wrote: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known (1 Corinthians 13:12 ESV).

It’s part of the promise of heaven!  We’ll be forever free from the lies and distortions and all of the untruths that clouded our perspective of the world, other people, and ourselves.

We’ll see truth.  We’ll see it perfectly.

Still, as difficult as it might be, Paul challenges us not just to accept the lies this world forces on us with a complacent shrug of the shoulders as we await heaven’s perspective.  He tells us:

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you (Romans 12:2-3).

This is a call to action.  Fight now against the pattern of this world!  Press in to God and ask Him to renew your mind.  “Think of yourself with sober judgment.”  That means, see the honest truth.  Don’t think you’re better than you are.  And don’t think you’re worst either.  Know how God has made you, gifted you, and designed you and be happy with that.

And what is it that we are?  John tells us exactly:

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is (1 John 3:1-3).

We’re not just children of God, we’re also in progress to perfection. You’re beautiful now, created and loved by God, and yet I can’t wait to see you in heaven, when He’s perfected you and you’ve become all that He intended you to be.

You can read more devotionals on this topic here:

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King

Twisted Ankle; Twisted Truth

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful”
Hebrews 10:23

For some reason when I clean, I clean fast.  No slow and methodical wiping of the rag or scrubbing of the dish for me.

In an old episode of How Clean is Your House (love that show!), the expert cleaner explained how many calories you could work off just by vacuuming.  I probably double that with my aerobic cleaning.

So, yesterday I snatched up the trash bag with an upwards yank, dropped it on the floor, tied it up in record time and dashed out the front door, hopped down the front steps, tossed open the trash can lid, plopped the trash bag in, released the lid so it crashed down and kept on walking in one nearly unbroken stride.

Unbroken, that is, until I stepped down on what I thought was solid ground, but was really a sink hole courtesy of our friendly front yard mole.  My ankle twisted in an unexpected direction.  I felt the wince of pain as I almost hit the ground.

Now, fortunately, it was just a momentary shock of pain.  In a few seconds I was limping down the driveway for the mail.  A minute later I was back to the sport of Extreme Cleaning with no long-term damages.

But life in its way is no less unexpected and sometimes no less shockingly painful.

It can be as simple as the surprise pitfalls in a single day.  Like the fact that my house was passably clean when we awoke this morning.  Then my three daughters painted beautiful artwork, and each other, and the chairs, the table, the carpet, their clothes.  After an unplanned mid-morning bath, all of the paint flecked off their bodies onto the bathtub.

Surprise!  Suddenly my day became a whole-house scrub-down and laundry marathon.

It can be as paralyzing as a life-changing twist.  The phone call with bad news.  The hack to your budget.  The visit to the doctor.  The sputter of a car.  The removing of a wedding ring.

Somehow in the middle of this topsy-turvy, always uncertain, shake-up of a world, the Psalmist wrote:

“My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music” (Psalm 57:7, NIV). 

Reading the preceding verses makes it clear, David wasn’t treading on a comfortable path when he penned this Psalm.  He wrote these particular words “when he had fled from Saul into the cave.”

So, how then, could his heart be steadfast?  How could he be “firmly fixed in place, immovable, not subject to change, firm in belief” while running for his life from the powerful king of an enemy? (Merriam-Webster).

And what about us?

Those minor unexpected annoyances in my morning left me cranky and quick-to-snap.

Major upsets to my plans and life cost me a night of sleep.

Steadfast?  Not me.  Not hardly.

The trouble is that the steadiness of my belief seems utterly dependent on the ease of the path I trod.

It’s not dependent enough on Him, My God, My Firm Foundation, My Solid Rock.

Martha sank deep into an unexpected pit when Jesus didn’t heal her brother, Lazarus.  Instead, she left the place of mourning over his death in order to confront Jesus about it privately.  “’Lord,’ Martha said to Jesus, ‘if you had been here, my brother would not have died.'” (John 11:21).

Jesus knew just what to ask her:  “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (Luke 11:25-26).

Did she believe this?  Did she believe that Jesus was more than a nice friend and successful religious teacher?  Did she believe in Him was resurrection and life?

Martha regained her footing on this shaky ground by stating her belief: “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world” (John 11:27).

Yesterday, I felt the familiar suffocation of fear at some unexpected news.

Today, I experienced the all-too-familiar bad attitude over some twists in my day.

And Jesus asks me, “What do you believe?”

He asks the same of you.

You may be tempted to spout off the Nicene Creed or fall back safely on the answers of a good Christian girl.

Really, though.  Truly.  Honestly.

What do you believe?

Shaky ground and a loss of footing are always signs of belief problems.

It means:

we’ve been putting our faith in ourselves, in others, in our circumstances.
we’re relying on our own plans.
we’re depending on our own strength.
we’ve bought into lies somewhere along the way.

As you catch your breath after a fall, steady yourself by reaffirming the truth.

I believe God loves me, always, unconditionally, fully.
I believe that God’s grace covers over all my sins.
I believe that I will never go through any circumstance alone; God will never leave me nor forsake me.
I believe that He can do anything, even more than I could ever imagine.
I believe that even when I see tragedy, God is working on my behalf and for my good.
I believe that God will be glorified in every situation.
I believe God will provide for my every need.

Do you believe this?

Then, with the Psalmist you can say:

“He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
      out of the mud and the mire.
   He set my feet on solid ground
      and steadied me as I walked along (Psalm 40:2, NLT)

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King