You know that feeling you get when you put on a shirt that just doesn’t fit right? It doesn’t look terrible, it’s covering everything pertinent , but, it is just not comfortable? Are you nodding yes? I know I have. Now, have you ever felt that way about who you are INSIDE? Ya, me too. I do all the time. I probably look fine, I am doing/ saying and accomplishing all of the things I am supposed to be doing but yet I am just uncomfortable with who I see (not what I see so much) when I look in the mirror.
Back to the shirt: So, what do you do with the shirt? If you are me this is what the script plays out like:
Take off shirt in annoyance, put it back on the shelf- sometimes folded even- and move on to a different shirt.
I know I don’t really analyze or “deal” with the issue of the shirt itself. I remove the uncomfortable thing out of sight and move on. I think much of the time I do the same with other things within my heart I don’t like. I will say something I regret and wonder how it came out of me, think something and be extremely glad people can’t see it, be vindictive, or maybe it’s just that awkward moment between me and someone I am not on the same page with.. whatever the circumstance I am uncomfortable at that moment in my own skin.
I think pretty much every time I have heard the phrase” Comfortable in my own skin” It is referring to someone who is not OK with who they are leaving negative connotations about being unsure of who you are. You SHOULD be comfortable with who you are. And to those who are- GREAT, AWESOME! HOWEVER, I do not think that gives us an excuse to be stagnant. If you picture any river the pretty parts are the ones that flow. The ones that hold still and don’t change are GROSS! The gross parts came from the same source as the moving parts and yet they have become dirty, stinky, slimy and contaminated. They collect the garbage and chaos of passers by and become unappealing.
My opinion is that it is important to find the balance between being comfortable with who you are – and realizing that there is ALWAYS room for change, improvement and growth. It is to figure out the uncomfortable parts and then take them OUT and figure out why you are uncomfortable with that part of your “inner shirt” and then change it… maybe it means cutting off the sleeves (or tweaking your point of view just a bit), maybe the uncomfortable shirt is a new shirt, still with tags on? Return it- Give it back to the person you took it from- that uncomfortable burden may not be yours to carry or your responsibility to deal with. Maybe it’s time to give up that shirt you’ve had since high school and give other shirts in your closet a chance to shine. Maybe it’s an OLD shirt, with worn out holes that makes you feel safe and it’s the most comfortable shirt you own yet, YOU are now uncomfortable in it. Sometimes that happens and you have to realize that shirt may not be all that bad, and it’s just time to move on to different ones ( or different people, things, activities) Growth is a good thing. Maybe it’s time to let go of that shirt you feel so guilty about. It was one you bought and paid for, wore with pride for a brief time and then without you realizing it spilled and stained life all over it and now it sits reminding you of the waste. ( I have a few of those) Well, Let’s take THOSE shirts and cut them up and make a quilt. Beauty , growth, lessons and life move on from the OOPS moments . we try to teach our children mistakes happen and yet berate ourselves and hang on to every stain ourselves. Tell our kids to ask forgiveness and seek repentance and then God will remove it. Yet, we say ” sorry God.” and put the shirt with the stains right there in plain view every time we open the closet door. (at least I tend to.”God forgives me but, Can I” ?!?!)
This year in my local MOPS group (If you are a mom with kids younger than kindergarten I STRONGLY encourage you to join a MOPS group if you haven’t already. MOPS International is an AMAZING resource. http://www.mops.org/ ) The theme is: Beautiful Mess, Embrace Your Story. As I serve on a dynamic leadership team with Godly, Amazing women whom I really admire, I am trying to look at my “Mess” and see that although I may not like the mess, the thing that God is doing in me is taking ALLLLLL the messy parts, the uncomfortable parts and equipping me to embrace them. Save the parts of the messes that are beautiful, discard the rest and create a beautiful life with them. Essentially God is helping me to clean out my inner closet. ( anybody interested in helping me with my actual closet- not the inner one?)
Am I comfortable in the shirt I am in? Today I am. Today I am in a comfy sweater that I know fits me just right but is totally ready to add whatever suits to become even more beautiful- The necklace of a very good friend. A scarf that I wear when I feel brave. a coat of peace- and the end result is beautiful. What about you? What are you in today? Whatever it is I hope you are both comfortable in it and ready for whatever comes your way. Because YOU are BEAUTIFUL even your MESSES ARE BEAUTiFUL, and it’s wonderful to feel beautiful.
Give yourself a hug. Because God is. Because I am. Because You need it. We all do.