I have a confession. I love leggings. There. I said it. Now, it’s out there for the world to judge me on. And I’m not talking about simply wearing leggings under a skirt. No, I’m talking wearing leggings as pants under a large enough shirt or dress to cover my derriere and still consider myself “dressed up”. I never have a “fat day” in leggings. They always fit. They always go well with whatever shirt/dress I’m wearing. They always work. From around October 30 to January 2, I will rock leggings like it’s my job. They have become the official go-to outfit for many of my fellow moms, and we unashamedly wear them with cute boots and scarves with multiple layers to go around in the winter and lightweight tunics and fun designs in the summer. Again, you can judge me all you want, but I will be comfortable with my leggings that always fit and never create unnecessary pudge points on my body.
My other clothing love: jeans. Jeans are classic. Most people have at least one pair in their closest. They can be fancy or casual, and people won’t judge you for wearing them to the grocery store or church. They come in a wide variety of colors and cuts. Jeans go with everything, but, and that is a big but, they are not as forgiving as leggings. Come January 3, jeans will call out my inability to practice self-control during the holiday season. How “just one more” said throughout late fall and early winter shows up in the form of a muffin top sitting nicely upon my belt loops. I can’t be mad at my jeans. I did this to myself. Jeans are just real enough to show me the truth of my bad decisions. Jeans not only call out your faults, they celebrate your victories. When you’ve worked really hard to lose those holiday pounds, jeans are there to show you your accomplishment. They fit a little looser. They are what you wear when you want to show off to your people how much smaller your waist is. Jeans celebrate with you. However, leggings, well, they still fit the same way they did before your new accomplishment. They don’t care if you changed or not. Fat or thin, healthy or not, leggings will be that yes-man in your wardrobe.
Within our own relationships, many of us have legging friendships. Leggings friends lose sight of how you have changed, good or bad, because they never hold you accountable for anything. You can make as many bad or good choices as you desire, and your leggings friends will say, “Sure. That’s a good choice.” Go to the gym… sure. Eat a gallon of ice cream in one sitting… sure. Get back in that abusive relationship… sure. Whatever makes you happy. You won’t ever be called out, but they also don’t celebrate with your success. They are just there. No depth.
Now, jean friends, they will call you out. They know you. They keep track of your life because they want to see you be successful. They notice the good changes and help you not to make bad choices, even if it hurts. Go to the gym… I can tell you’ve been working hard, and it shows. Eat a gallon of ice cream in one sitting… You know that’s going to sabotage all the hard work you’ve been doing at the gym. Get back in that abusive relationship… God says to guard your heart, and that relationship does not honor God. Jean friends want you to have long-term happiness not instant gratification of having “just one more”. It’s hard to hear no, but it’s hard to tell your friend no, too.
The Bible says in Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Iron gets sharp by firmly scraping against another piece of iron. Both pieces are changed, yet it costs the one iron something to make the other sharp. If we only surround ourselves with people who constantly tell us yes and never hold us accountable for our decisions, not only are we hurting ourselves, but we have to question the validity of the friendship. Proverbs 17:17 states, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” Loving isn’t always saying yes. Loving is genuinely caring for the well-being of another person. “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Cor. 13:6-7)” The truth sometimes, unlike Christmas cookies and Thanksgiving turkey, it is hard to swallow.
I’m not about to give up my leggings because let’s face it, within life we all need comfort manifested in some way. However, I should never be comfortable with bad choices that can affect my walk with the Lord, and I shouldn’t surround myself with only legging friends who are okay with me making poor decisions or don’t care if I make good ones. I need my jeans who will sharpen me and hold me accountable, so I can be jeans for others, too, through celebrations and adversity, thick and thin. Because that, my friend, is how we can persevere in the faith and life, regardless of our attire.
Photo courtesy of cheung gi chin 張芝菁