I hate trying on clothes. Shopping is fine - I'm generally pretty optimistic as I pick things up in the store. But something happens to me emotionally as I cross the doorway into the fitting rooms at Kohl's. Reality sets in and I know that at least 85% of what is tried on will end up hanging on the "Back on the Rack" hook. And the other 15% is more like "If I don't breathe, this could work..."
I could blame the lighting. Clothes look better on in some places than others. And I've heard people use terms like "harsh lighting" versus "flattering lighting," so I guess it makes sense. Some fancy ones even come with dimmer switches to let you adjust it precisely the way you like.
Regardless of the lighting, though, if it is my body not fitting in those jeans looking in any mirror, it's the facts. It might be pointing out an obvious truth, one I wish was covered up by soft, dim lighting at flattering angles.
But sometimes coming face to face with truth is important. I have experiences like these frequently, and not just about my body or in a dressing room.
A recent example was at a Taco Bell drive thru. I was finished grocery shopping on a Monday afternoon, but hadn't had lunch yet, so I made a left and turned into my Taco Bell. I placed my order, including a medium Pepsi. When asked if I would like to upsize it for just 30 more cents. Without even much consideration, I nonchalantly said something like, "Sure, why not?"
Then the woman said, "Would you like to donate a dollar for our program to help keep kids in school?"
Immediately, I responded with a clear, "No, not today."
As soon as she gave me my total and I pulled away from the menu board, guilt began pouring all over me like the icing I smear on my cinnamon rolls... dumped on all at once and then quickly covering every part of me.
I was willing to give 30 cents for more caffeinated calories that I don't need and probably would let go to waste in the bottom of my cup along with the melted ice anyway, but I wouldn't even consider for a second if a program to keep kids from giving up on their education was worth 70 cents more.
Talk about harsh lighting...
Getting a real look at myself as I turned that drive-thru corner, I saw the selfishness that was likely always there, but sometimes easier to keep from focusing on.
In 2 Peter chapter 1, Peter talks a little about how we are to grow.
"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love." - 2 Peter 1:5-7
This reflection of me at Taco Bell, when I suddenly came face-to-face with how I often don't put others first is just one of many examples. Some pretty bad. I don't like seeing myself like this. But...
Seeing myself this way, and becoming aware of the problem is the first step, right? And once we know there is a problem, we can get to work on it.
The Holy Spirit doesn't tell us these things to make us feel crummy, though I will admit it does make me feel pretty low. Instead, it's a call to change. A new assignment to work on. It's a blessing. God will continue growing us and shaping us until heaven, and it is a wonderful thing. We know we aren't perfect and we all have areas to work on, we just sometimes need a sweet reminder to get us going.
When you have these moments, don't get smothered by the guilt. Instead, learn from it. Grow. Accept the challenge to become more like Jesus. What could be better?
I'd love to hear what God has been teaching you :)