My daughter is 17 with a runner’s body and beautiful. When we go shopping together, she can put anything on and it looks fabulous! Not a bulge or a pucker anywhere. She loves to shop while I absolutely HATE it!!! I have to wonder if I would like it more if the worst thing I had to worry about was price … and whether they had a size small enough for me. Geez! Even if it is a little too big, skinny chicks can throw on a belt!
Dressing my body comes with a variety of problems. First, I have a weird shape and it is super hard to fit. I weigh more than I would like to. I dream of being able to fit into all of those cute clothes and I have a hard time spending money on something that fits my current size when “I’m gonna lose this weight, soon.” I end up buying shoes or scarves because they always fit! And then there is the problem that I am “fashion ignorant” and have no idea how to put together an outfit that looks current or trendy. Haley will often steer me right out of a store for looking at clothing she insists is “hideous, Mother!”
It isn’t that I don’t have any clothes at home. But I will put on something in the morning and leave the house thinking I look all like this:
And then I will walk by a mirror or a storefront window on my way to lunch downtown and catch a glimpse of myself looking more like this:
(Photo courtesy of Joan Anthony from her personal “people of Walmart” collection.)
So the other day, Haley asked me, “Mom, would you be mad if I nominated you for “What Not to Wear”?” I didn’t even have to think about it! How could I be mad if I got to go to New York, get $5k for all new clothes, get to hang out with Clinton and Stacy for 2 days, have my hair done by Ted, and get makeup tips from Carmindy? Are you kidding? But then, I thought about that 360* mirror. I think my brain might implode. I know they would also make me throw away all my comfy shoes like my Converse and my Tom’s in exchange for shoes that make my legs look good but make my feet cry for mercy. And then Haley reminded me that they would make me throw away all of my Batman shirts. Eek gads! That is harsh! I told her I could always go buy new ones. Or maybe with my $5k, I could buy these babies:
Old Camelknees talked about that 360* mirror in James 1:22-24. No really, he did. He said that if you go into that 360, get made over into a put-together fashion diva, and then turn around and pull the nerdy superhero shirts and throwback Converse out of the trash bin, you are selling yourself short … doing a disservice to Stacy, Clinton, Ted, and Carmindy who invested the time and effort into your transformation. Actually, what he said was that if we are only hearers of God’s Word and we don’t put it into action, we are just like the person who goes into the 360 and then refuses to shop by the rules or let Ted cut that hair! There is no change and no evidence we were ever on the show.
I am not a fan of people who come across as “holier-than-thou” just because they go to church. That “goody-2-shoes” demeanor is not evidence of what a good Christian you are. What is wrong with being vulnerable, with admitting that even though you follow Christ that you don’t have it all together,with acknowledging that you screw up sometimes (all the time), with letting others see your faults? After all, that is what the Great Teacher came to share with us…humility. Jesus didn’t come to Earth wearing a crown and demanding that people bow down to him because he was perfect … royalty. Nope. He humbled himself. He hung out with the unpopular people. He put everyone before himself … everyone. He was an unselfish servant. No one he helped had anything to offer him. They had no power, no material wealth, nothing of value to contribute except to pass on the compassion they received from him.
Just like it is easier to put on a tshirt, jeans, and flip-flops, it is easier to be nice to people who have something to offer us. It is easier to do good when there is a chance you might get some credit for it. When I look in that mirror at the reveal, I want to see this passage above reflected in that mirror. I would hope that Jesus would trim off a few inches of that selfish ambition and “work a little magic” in my attitude toward people who have nothing material to offer to me. And I want to hear somebody say, “Shut the front door!” when they see the transformation.
For the record, it would not hurt my feelings one bit if my friends and family set me up to look like an idiot on “What Not to Wear”. Just be gentle with that hidden camera crap!
I have been pondering more “Freebird” (Psalm 23) in the wake of the Boston Marathon, the Sandy Hook tragedy, the Dark Knight Rises shooting, the Ft. Hood bloodbath, and the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing last week.
4 Yea, thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.
Is this true? Do I fear no evil? Does it seem like God is with us? Actually, these days, it seems like God is far, far from us. I remember growing up there was that great commercial, “I’d like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony”. You know the words, so sing along … “I’d like to buy the world a Coke, to keep it company.” (That’s the real thing). Even though we talk a great deal these days about “tolerance”, it doesn’t seem like it is making anyone more harmonious. And with tragedy after tragedy, we are left wondering, “Where is God in all this?”
On Friday as we waited for law enforcement to flush out the “suspect in the white hat”, I heard an interview with the uncle of both bombing suspects. As they harassed this man on his doorstep after his world had been rocked by the horrible news that his nephew was dead and that his own flesh and blood might be responsible for unspeakable callousness and mayhem, the reporters wanted to know one thing. Were the brothers Muslim?
In implementing my “Root Beer Rule”, I have been thinking about waiting a lot. I mused over the words of the troubadour, Jack Johnson:
Now I was sitting waiting wishing
That you believed in superstitions
Then maybe you’d see the signs
But Lord knows that this world is cruel
And I ain’t the Lord, no I’m just a fool
Learning loving somebody don’t make them love you
Now ain’t that the truth … in so many ways. But even though we talk the good talk about tolerance and acceptance, you know that you were wondering the same thing. Were these terrorists Muslim? We have been conditioned to make the assumption. Sad but true.
Although I am not a fan of Islam, I am called to love the Muslim. The same God that loves me loved and created Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Regardless of whether you view followers of Mohammed with suspicion or disdain, notice where King David prepared the table for you in Psalm 23:5: In the presence of your enemy. Whether that enemy is Muslim, gay, a co-worker, a former spouse, the co-parent of your child, a competitor, a nasty neighbor, someone who has perpetrated harm on you. That enemy is present. But you can co-exist and still experience wholeness, and even blessing. Like old Jack says in his tune, loving them isn’t necessarily going to change them. But learning to love can change you.
I spotted this tweet below on Facebook this weekend and found it to be incredibly insightful. As you consider these images, do you need to change the way you think about your “enemy”? Here is some of the rest of the prophet Jack Johnson’s words:
Well if I was in your position
I’d put down all my ammunition
I’d wondered why’d it taken me so long
But Lord knows that I’m not you
And If I was I wouldn’t be so cruel
Cause waiting on love ain’t so easy to do.