Monday, October 15, 2012


I went to youth group last night.
It's been a while...and it wasn't my youth group, and it was comprised of strangers. But, I went. I was a judge for a pumpkin carving contest. I also helped lead a brief discussion with some teenager girls. It was a little awkward.

The topic? Feasting.
What does it mean to really taste and see that the Lord is conjunction with the things we actually feast upon in our day-to-day life. We talked about food. We talked about eating disorders. We talked about going from one extreme to another and forgetting balance and moderation. We talked about how this isn't just applicable to food.

Mostly, my sister-in-law and I talked. It was a weighty subject for only a few minutes of time and when you're a newly-introduced, temporary person... I found myself struggling in how to relate. How much do I share of my own story? How directly can I ask them questions? What can I possibly say in these fifteen minutes to establish that this is a safe place, that there's no judgment, that there is hope?

I don't know how successful any of my attempts with them were, but I've been thinking a bit more about this idea of feasting...and just how much food actually consumes us. It's everywhere. My sister-in-law and I joked today about the commercials that attack us on television. Every other one is sending an opposite message and we're caught in a bipolar whirlwind of seduction. It's as though our subconscious is screaming, 'Eat more! You're fat! Eat more! You're fat!' as we go back and forth between delicious food opportunities and dieting ads.

How could we ever fully break away from the things our world tells us? How could we, when we are fully inundated by everything around us, be convinced that image doesn't matter? Doesn't it? Doesn't it sometimes matter what we wear? Doesn't it sometimes matter how much we weigh? Doesn't it sometimes matter whether or not we fix our hair? Doesn't it sometimes matter how active we are?

There has to be something to recognizing what ultimately matters...and still existing in the world and not being of it. We still have interviews, we still have jobs, we still have health to maintain. I think this is where moderation has to come in. I don't think women need to feel guilty about caring about how they look. I think the problem comes when it turns into something that is obsessed over. There's nothing wrong with looking presentable, with putting on make-up, with shedding some excess weight.

It's when we become all-consumed with what we look's when our worth comes from how we appear to others that problems arise. It's when we lose sight of what really matters.In the grand scheme of eternity, how we look doesn't matter. I don't think we can ignore that it matters here though.

It's tricky.
It's tricky because it requires us existing in a place of uncertainty, a place where it's easy to waiver too far in one direction. It almost seems more straight-forward to simply abstain from anything having to do with your external appearance--because then you're not getting sucked into temptation and obsession over how you look. How do you concern yourself far more with matters of the heart while simultaneously tending to the outside in such a way that you are not solely driven by it?

Honestly-working at a camp made it easier to avoid this struggle. In an environment where it is acceptable to roll out of bed, throw on some shorts and a t-shirt, brush my teeth and walk into the office there wasn't as much pressure to look a certain way. Now that I'm entering the 'real' world, I find myself longing to live within this balance of looking good without letting it consume me. Rather than hiding behind what I've always known and staying away from fashion, I think I'm moving into circumstances where I'll need to put more effort into all of it.

But, there's a greater confidence in who I am beyond what I look like.
I hope that's true for you, too. As you figure out for yourself what your own boundaries are in terms of how much effort you can place into your appearance without letting it become all-consuming... I pray that you don't ever lose sight of what matters. I pray that as you dress, as you apply make-up, as you purchase new things, as you freak out about grey hairs and wrinkles and a few extra pounds... that you would remember that there is more than this.

Live, remembering what fades away.
Be in the world, but not of it.
Find moderation in the things you live too excessively in, or too absently from.

Every good and perfect gift is from above.
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
He has invited us to feast.
Shall we?

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1 comment:

  1. It is incredibly easy to become fixated on our appearances. I think that being healthy, since our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, is a priority. Exercise, eating clean, and having a balanced lifestyle are all parts of keeping our temples in working order, and then we just reap the benefits that come as a consequence of that! Dressing attractively is also different than dressing to attract :D