I suffer from a genetic disorder. Pride. And today I had to part with a huge chunk of it. I thought I long dealt with this, but not so according to the Lord.
We all have our hang-ups. One of mine is a cushion I use because of a back injury. My back often feels like I’m 80 even though I am only in my fifties. The “granny” cushion embarrasses the daylights out of me. I’ve even joked, “The Lord must think I needed a great deal of humbling.”
Whether I plan a vacation, go to a new church, visit a friend, go to a seminar, watch a kid graduate, dine at a restaurant, or even try to relax somewhere, my biggest concern is always the seat I will have to sit on. Folding chairs? Pure torture. Unsupportive seats or soft couches won’t work either. Chairs with odd angles, lacking firmness, or without a full back cause a backache that will last for days.
However, I have a much bigger hang-up. My weight. Since childhood I have struggled with poor self-and-body-image. I can blame that on my mother’s own obsession with physical perfectionism or on a thousand other things, but it really comes down to one: Pride. Plain ol’ pride. The fact that I have gained weight the last few years hasn’t helped much. My husband graciously tells me, “Sweetheart, you are a beautiful woman, you may have gained a few pounds but I still find you very attractive,” when I complain about how my weight gain makes me feel. No wonder I married the man. I believe he means it, but I just don’t see the person he sees.
I also “pride” myself on being a very honest person. I rarely ever lie. It feels too awkward; the guilt consumes me. But, when it comes to my driver’s license I willingly have put up with guilt. Oh, it’s not my age I lie about, it’s my weight. Putting this sensitive number in the public eye is humiliating, more painful to me than, well…possibly… being hung by my toe nails. I didn’t even tell anyone my weight in my young days when by the world’s standards, I was skinny and cute. Oh, to have those days back but with today’s wisdom!
Anyway, my driver’s license had expired without me realizing it and I was forced to take a trip to the DMV. As I prepped in front of my mirror at home for the grand photo shoot; I commiserated with my reflection over the increased weight. Just then the Lord whispered…
“What are you going to put down for your weight?” I pretended not to hear and continued fixing my hair.
“Are you going to lie again?”
That, I heard. He had my attention.
“Oh, please, don’t ask me to tell the truth on that one, Lord. That’s so embarrassing, so humiliating. You know I don’t lie about other things.”
“Lately, I have been making you aware you have a pride problem,” He said.
“I know, Lord, but I am working on that. Have you noticed?”
“There have been some improvements. This will be your true test.”
The hair on my neck stood up. “Please don’t ask that of me, Lord. I have a huge problem with my weight.”
“Precisely. That’s why I bring this up.”
Adrenalin pumped. Pins and needles prickled throughout my flesh. It wasn’t like God was asking me to sacrifice my first born, my Isaac, but for me it was a close runner up. Finally, after much struggling, I conceded.
“Okay, Lord. This will be a first. I will state the truth about my weight. Maybe you will bless me for it but if not, I will listen to you anyway.”
It had been eight years since I needed to renew my license; a large span in which unwanted pounds crept up. The DMV clerk updated data. “Have your height and weight changed?” She said innocently enough.
I wasn’t sure how my height could change much, but it would be obvious to anyone with even poor eyesight that the weight on my DL did not reflect my present weight. “I’m much heavier now,” I said somberly.
She looked me in the eye. It felt like I was having a stared-down with God. “What do you want to put down?“ she said.
Why is she offering me options? She was making this harder by not plainly asking me how much I weighed. The earlier conversation with the Lord resonated within me. After a deep soul sigh, I told her my current weight. She looked at the past data and lifted one eyebrow. I shifted on my feet.
“Is that what you want on your DL?”
Again with the options? Apparently, I wasn’t the only dishonest one. Painfully, I said yes. The horrible amount of shame I felt just seconds before melted off of me. It actually felt good to tell the truth! Though not thrilled with the dreaded number in black and white, I felt comfortable with my choice, but hoped I would not have to show my DL to anyone I knew.
Thank you Lord, for one less burden to carry on my shoulders. Thankfully to God, our value goes much deeper than the number on the scale.
By ~ Elizabeth Yalian ©2013