So I met up with an old high school friend last night. He is the founder of a clothing co. here in my home town and was personally delivering some merchandise to my husband and I. I realized something very interesting about myself in the process. I wondered why I was so anxious and nervous? It’s the same feeling I get that keeps me from wanting to go to an Aces game ( our local baseball team) or basically to any public function where I might run into people from high school or anyone else I haven’t seen in a long time.
We all size people up.
Especially those we haven’t seen in a long time. We all know what WE say about people who have gained weight, lost weight, or for whatever reason have made some kind of mess of their lives. Making for delicious gossip. We know we shouldn’t, that its wrong…but alas. Ladies, we are the WORST offenders of this crime, and yet we are the most hopeful that no one will judge our own appearance or circumstance so harshly. Hoping the whispers and mutterings are not about us.
“Did you see…”
Or, “I heard that so-and-so…”.
Juicy…until you are the object or subject of discussion.
So I have intentionally avoided any and all possible run-in’s if I could help it. Being someone who has since high school, gained OVER an extra 100 lbs. Which has made me a little paranoid. I guess I didn’t realize to what crazy extent this went until last night, when I found myself acting like a lunatic because someone I haven’t seen in a long time was gonna simply drop something off at my house. This morning it seems so ridiculous.
The truth is I have been disabled by my shame. I have not only carried this extra weight, but also the shame and fear that comes along with it. Ready at any time to bump up against some sort of retort or rejection. There are things that have happened to me publicly that should have been enough to send me over the edge and make me change my life earlier on. Teenagers making fun of me and my weight at the movies, not being able to get on a ride at six flags with all my siblings, stuffing myself into a booth at a restaurant with my whole family looking on with sadness in their eyes.
I learned how to soak up each mortifying experience like a sponge…absorb it of the pain so that I would not fall apart. Act like it was not a big deal, and move on. Later, numbing and numbing and soothing and retaining my false sense of control with binges. This has been the way I’ve lived.
Pardon my bluntness, but that is just b.s. Sorry, but it is. Last night I resisted the urge to run around and put make-up on or change my clothes. Made a decision that I just wanted to fight that inner voice that was telling me my friend would laugh at me or think me a joke. And even if he did, so what? This life God has given me was not meant to be lived in hiding. Jesus himself says,”No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.” (Matthew 5:15 NLT)
We ended up having a lovely visit and he is very supportive and encouraging of the work I’m doing in my life. It was silly that I had gotten myself so sick about it.
The days of hiding and living life beneath baskets is over. However I look on the outside, it doesn’t and shouldn’t matter. My life is amazing and I have nothing to be ashamed of, ever. Thanks be to God! May we all live our lives placed proudly on a stand, where we can give light and shine, as brightly as we were created to! May we also remember this when we run into people we haven’t seen in awhile. May we show grace and kindness and genuine and abundant love, because everyone is dealing with stuff.