I have never been a thin person. I’ve been active and able to do a lot of things, but I’ve never been able to be a smaller size. Healthy, but not thin. I’m more of the, “Oooo, girl, you healthy,” kind of healthy. I believe my southern friends would also say “thick”. I can find clothes that fit, but the first place that wears out on my jeans is usually the inner thighs or back pockets. Try as I might, dropping weight typically seems like an uphill battle that I’m constantly losing my breath while trying to conquer. One of my friends in high school was a size 00. She was a nice friend, but I hated shopping with her. She would try to make me feel better by saying we had the same problem with clothes nothing fitting. Everything was too big on her, and everything was too small on me. I know she was just trying to make me feel better, but bless her heart. We did NOT have the same problem. She was petite, and I wasn’t skinny enough.
I’m not as patient as some of my fellow mom-friends are. I tend to yell when my kids won’t listen, as if by me raising my voice my kids will somehow have an internal realization that mom is frustrated. They are 2 and 4 years old; such realizations never happen. My 2 year-old wants to dress herself when we are trying to rush out of the house. My 4 year-old wants to get his own drink while spilling milk all over the counter. Instead of pulling out my teacher language and seeing this as a “learning opportunity”, I get frustrated and impatient that my two mini-me’s aren’t doing things MY way. Then, on comes the mom-guilt of not wanting to take the time to teach and pour into my kids like June Cleaver. I’m not patient enough.
I struggle with these feeling of not being enough. I will get so upset that I’m not meeting some standard that I’ve placed on myself to be my very best. My husband will ask me what’s wrong, which comes with such a loaded answer. I don’t want to open up the Pandora’s box of raw emotion of how I feel like a failure of everything. Half the time I’m can’t pinpoint exactly what’s wrong, so I just start ranting everything that has ever bothered me in the past month, causing me to become even more upset with things that I can’t change immediately. Thoughts like, “I should be doing more with my life”, “I need to be reading more books”, “I don’t need to eat ice cream” come out of my mouth during these rants. Now, I know that these are lies from Satan because ice cream is amazing. There are times when I feel like I have the anti-King Midas touch where instead of everything turning to gold, everything I touch turns into a large pile of poop. I feel like I’m not a good friend; I’m not a good wife; I’m a horrible mom; I suck at my job; I’ll never make it as a writer or in women’s ministry; I’m just not enough. I don’t meet the measure of who I think I’m supposed to be. Here’s the thing, I don’t always have these doubts or insecurities. I don’t always care about what I look like. I have days and weeks where I feel like I am rocking at life. I’m mom-ing it like a pro, my husband is happy, and I am feeling super close to my friends. So, what’s with the switch?
One word: comparison. I like to compare myself to the other people around me or people I want to be like. I get on social media to see what I missing out on instead of being in the moment thankful for what Jesus is doing right in front of me. The enemy uses doubts and insecurities, feelings of not being enough, to get me so inwardly focused that I ignore every blessing that the Lord done. Yes, I’ve been a little bigger my whole life, but I’m still healthy, in a good way. I’m overweight, but I had two kids and the joy of Blue Bell ice cream. If you’ve never had Blue Bell, you need to. It’s not Jesus, but it will change your life.
Jesus speaks to this in the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in Luke 18: 9-14:
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
On those days when I think that I’m awesome and I am King Midas, those are the days that I can become like the pharisee. When I don’t think I’m the worst guy in the room, I’m okay with my choices and image. I tell myself that I’m not that bad, and I start to get a little prideful of who I am. Until something changes. When I’m not the smartest person in the room, which is very often, I start to doubt who I am. When my friends are dressed better than me, which again is very often. When I don’t handle a situation with my kids or husband the best, and I’m playing on my phone instead of playing with my kids. Those are the times when I become what I don’t want to become, and I start to pity myself. “Pity party of one… your lonesome table is ready.” The difference between the pharisee and the tax collector is WHO they each compared themselves to. The pharisee, or pompous religious leader, was comparing himself to fellow sinners; the tax collector compared himself to God. The pharisee saw himself as the best of all the flies, even though he was still on the same pile of poop. The tax collector hoped God would turn his poop condition into gold.
I’m going to have failures. I’m going to have those days where I just don’t feel like I’m enough. There are going to be lots of different areas of my life where I feel like I will have more shortcomings than victories. However, as my pastor once told our congregation, “Feelings are real, but they aren’t trustworthy.” I can either sulk about how I feel or do something about it. Seek the root. How I feel may not be true about who I am. Maybe I need more patience with my kids? Or I need more self-control with my eating and exercise? Or maybe I need more kindness with those around me? All of those things are fruits of the spirit that are grown out of humility, not the work of my hands. Like the tax collector, I need more of the Lord not more of myself. I don’t want to be the best fly of the pile. I need Jesus to make my life a justified golden treasure for His glory, which is more than enough.