Today I read an article about Mr. Rogers. His show was, perhaps, my childhood favorite. The Land of Make-Believe was a land that made a big impact on me--I was an avid pretender for longer than I care to admit. His words, his neighborhood adventures, his teaching moments were ones that were marked by the air of a listener. He knew the words to say and when to say them but even through the TV screen, I remember feeling at ease, almost like he and I were having a sit-down conversation. He ended each show with the words, "You've made this day a special day by just your being you. There's no person in the whole world like you. And I like you just the way you are." It was a statement of weighty affirmation. Lately, I've forgotten the truth in that sentiment. I lack the confidence that Mr. Rogers helped instill in me about liking myself just the way I am.
It is a struggle sometimes to see yourself the way Christ sees you...loved unconditionally. It is a struggle to live according to your new identity. And sometimes, you listen too closely to the lies whispered in ears too eager to believe them.
I've hit a rough patch. For half a year now, I've worked diligently at trying to tame my body into submission and bring it to a place of better health and a leaner silhouette. And the progress that I expected and held onto hope would happen over the course of painstaking time, has not and I feel defeated. There have been some changes, yes, but not the significant ones on which I set my sights. It's funny how something as menial as working out with few results can put you in a slump.
Why do I start to chip away at myself over this? A lifetime of struggle with this particular conundrum may be part of that. Or it could be that current life events find me groping for trust in a sea of murky doubt. Whatever the cause, I feel pressed with the weight of the effects. Like dominoes tumbling down, one after the other, body image only begins it.
I can intellectually call to mind all of the "right" answers for this downturn: read scripture, pray, pray scripture, remember who I am in Christ, praise, give thanks. I am trying but I'll admit it is a half-hearted attempt. Sometimes I feel like I just don't have it in me. And I just want to be held.
I won't even get into how hard it is to give grace; to give love when I feel empty of it. Funnily enough, I attended a women's conference at church a couple of weekends ago on this very topic. It's ironic that the copious notes I took have been put to so little use between then and now. I am trying to remember. I am trying to be still and know. But trying is hard and right now, I just want to lay myself down and have it poured over me.
I write honestly and in the middle of it all. I cannot offer a glorious truth that has washed over me and given me a fresh new day. I cling to the hope that that is to come. Reading over this, it smacks of self-deprecation and a pity-party atmosphere. But I put it out there anyway, because weary overwhelms sometimes and maybe I'm not alone. Perhaps this is you right now, too. I will pray for me and for you. I will trudge through the half-hearted attempts of each "right" answer because trudging is sometimes progress, too.
Cling to these with me:
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." -Matthew 11:28-30
"Forgiven, beloved, hidden-in-Christ, made in the image of the Giver of life, righteous and holy, reborn and remade, accepted and worthy, this is our new name. This is who we are now." -Jason Gray
"I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness." -Jeremiah 31:3
"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." -Romans 5:8
There are many, many more. Cling to them. I'll cling to mine. Until next time, peace be with you.