I am told by the world what to do with my body quite often. Do this to minimize that, do that to make that shrink, exercise like this, eat like that, etc. I am told that I have “such a pretty face” all of the time. This is a fun way of saying “I can’t look at the rest of you.”
Being confident in plus-sized skin is a difficult thing. Everything from “flowy” fabrics and skinny jeans to matte lipsticks cling to imperfections and highlight them. There’s prep work that goes into being able to walk out the door. Usually in the form of Spanx, exfoliators, concealers and moisturizers, The person I build for the world to see is often a lie. But, at least she’s a hot one.
The same sort of preparations go into the people we build ourselves to be in Jesus. We do this, don’t do that, don’t drink that, don’t say that, don’t hang out with those people, don’t post those viewpoints on social media because we want to appear perfect. Here’s a little reality check for you. Our imperfections are the reason that we need Jesus.
Now, I know what a life change it is to become a Christian, but, what I don’t understand is the fact that we gloss over the bumpy parts of ourselves. The reasons that Grace mattered in the first place. I’ve been told on many occasions to cover up and “deal with” a few things in the name of presenting myself to the world as a “professional Christian”. Today we’re going to talk about them.
1. I have social anxiety. Now, you might think that it’s silly for an introvert with fear of social situations to be in ministry and have the heart for people that I do. Most days, I think it’s pretty silly, too. Here’s the thing…THAT is Jesus. He uses the way that I’m built to tell a story. I’ve been told that in order to do effective ministry you have to be out and among people 98% of the time. That’s exhausting. Even Jesus went to spend time alone. So, I think my need my self-space is just fine.
2. I advocate for singleness. I’ve actually been asked not to write about singleness and dating by an employer before. I don’t understand this because, I see posts from married people in ministry that promote Biblical marriage much more often than I see a single person in ministry with a healthy view of their singleness talk about what it means to be Jesus to someone on a first date, or how to live a healthy, single life.
3. I cry. A lot. There are a few things you need to know about those with social anxiety and depression. Studies show that people with social anxiety not only feel all of their own emotions, but those of the people around them. It’s science. That means, that while you are stressed, sad, tired and I feel a little blue, suddenly I’m feeling all of those things alongside you. It’s like our empathy is cranked up to 11 all of the time! So, next time, just hand me the tissues and don’t tell me what to do.
4. I should invest in the “right” people. This point has also been presented to me as “networking for ministry”. Hang out with the non-drinkers, non-smokers, non-swearers and talk about how you’re going to change the entire world. Here’s the problem, if you live life inside of a bubble, you’ll never ever grow your community or the Kingdom past anyone that’s not just like you. Seeking people outside of yourself makes the Kingdom a more vibrant place.
To wrap this up, I’m going to encourage you to wear the matte lipstick without the prep work. Every line and crevasses of your life will show, but it’s okay. It just shows people the parts of you that are healed by Jesus.