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Storyteller. Grace Dweller.

I’m Jennifer — wife of an Iowa farmer, mom to two girls, new book author. I believe in you, because I believe in Jesus. You matter to Him, and you matter to me. more »

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Tuesday 21st August 2012

Yoda, Jillian Michaels, Women of Faith … and My Freak Attack

I do the stupidest things to make a good impression.

On the week of a dentist’s appointment, I’ll floss diligently, hoping that I can magically make up for months of laziness.

If you’re coming over to my house, I might be inclined to make house-cleaning an Olympic sport, sprinting across the living room, hurdling over the coffee table and high-diving from the stairs before you ring the doorbell.

And this week, when I had a doctor’s appointment, I did what I’ve done before: I scrounged through dresser drawers to find the lightest-weight outfit I owned. Then, when I would step on the doctor’s scale, we might see a more favorable digital reading. I even found a nice pair of light-weight, foam flip-flops in the closet. As if…

Like, I said, I do the dumbest things.

And look. I’d rather not admit it to you. It’s all just a bit embarrassing.

But it’s true: That old nature creeps up from time to time, wanting me to make people think I’m something more (see: skinnier, or prettier, or smarter) than I really am.

When, really, I’m just me.

If I get brave enough, I might hit PUBLISH on this blog post to tell you more about it. But seeing how I’m not altogether comfortable with exposing the yucky parts of me … well, … I’ll have to think about whether I really want you to let you in on things.

If I do hit PUBLISH, you’ll discover that I sometimes stay in my pajamas until noon,  frequently forget to floss, sing embarrassingly loud in the car, am way behind on laundry, and haven’t dusted the living-room shelves for weeks.

There are worse things, I know. Because I’ve done them: I’ve coveted; envied; compared; gotten jealous; sinned in thought, word, and deed; and been defensive far more than I should. I say dumb things I regret, don’t apologize enough, too often demand to have the last word, and act like I know what I’m talking about.

I also gained a little too much weight over the summer – which looks ridiculously minor stacked next to that lengthy list of transgressions.

I can get hung up on little things, making them into really big things. Like Monday, when I stepped on the scale, watching that digital number creep higher than it had in months. The nurse inked the number on my chart, then led me to the exam room. I sat on the table, with white paper crinkling under me.

She asked if I had any new allergies – no — any new health problems – again, no – or any unexplained weight loss or weight gain.

“I’ve gained weight,” I told her. “But it’s not ‘unexplained.’”

She smiled a knowing smile. “You’re not the only one who says that.”

I knew the reason. I have lived a sedentary summer, getting up early in the morning, not to exercise, but to write before the girls woke up. Last spring, I had joined a group of Facebook friends, and we encouraged each other as we worked out with Jillian Michael videos. I didn’t have hand-weights, but for weeks, I faithfully used soup cans (duct-taped together) to work out.

But then I got bored or distracted, and stopped.

I could have started again, but didn’t consider that option until this week, in a moment of panic.

The panic was the trigger. That’s when I knew something was wrong. I had panicked, because I wanted to impress. I am joining a friend I haven’t seen in a while at Women of Faith this weekend. We’re hoping we’ll get to hug another friend of ours while we’re there. Both of these ladies look amazing, I tell you.

In that moment of panic, I felt like Yoda.

 

Thankfully, I recognized that nonsense before it took hold, robbing me of the truth of who I am in Christ: flawed and broken but still worth dying for.

And if the Good Lord put me here on the planet, I ought to take good care of my body so I can do His good work while I’m here – not so I can fit into a smaller size of jeans.

So I got on the treadmill this week, and started to look for a little wholeness and balance again. This body is a temple — one body given by God to do His good work, not to be used as a way to manipulate someone’s opinion of me.

Now, the truth is this: Before I head to Women of Faith, I’ll do my hair, and put on lipstick, and wear jeans that fit me best. And I’ll stand up tall and be who I am, even if there’s a little bit more of me than there was a few months ago.

So be it.

I know that I’m irrevocably loved and cherished anyway – despite the dumb things I do, the goofy thoughts I think, and the half-baked plans that hatch in this quirky mind of mine. I’m smitten with a God who loves me regardless of worldly measurements of worth. 

Every day is a new day, a new beginning, a chance to live up to the person God made me to be – not the image I want to see in the mirror. In the whole scheme of things, I am a God-incidence – having been made and created in His image for such a time as this.

I’ve got a mind to act like I believe it.

And the first order of business is this: Click PUBLISH.

***

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  • Girl, we are alike in many ways! Seems God is hammering me with the -ers as of late. Started with a sermon series on being pretti-er, skinni-er, home more clean-er, smart-er, funni-er, bett-er at such and such…and on and on. In fact I discussed this sermon with a friend…all the while wondering how she can stay so much skinni-er and have a house so clean-er! Duh, Carey. Time to be over this. God loves me and made me, me! And I so love that about Him. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.

    • The -ers. Yep! I hear you you, sister. I’m nodding my head over your confession here, about talking to the friend and wondering how she stays so skinny, with such a clean house. God delights in you, Carey, as you well know. And you’re such a great person of balance, with all your beautiful children, your home, your spiritual life, your spirit of adventure, your exercise, etc. You inspire, Carey!

  • Becky Waller Bausman

    LOVE IT! Great post, Jen.

    • Thanks, Becky. Love you dear.

  • So honestly secure, realistic, and true. We fight inner battles, but are perfect in God’s eyes, and our sisters in Christ see that. There is nothing to be afraid of. But I have been there done that! All too funny:) Thank you for sharing!

    • Thank you, Alice. So good to know that we have safe places to share like this. Grateful for your voice here.

  • Oh the dentist…I can so relate…and i am so thankful He doesn’t measure with the measuring rod I use…His is free from marks…measurements…and no comparing me to others. Love the Grace we can walk in…Oh blessings as you go to WOF…what a blessing and what a gift it will be for you to connect with Ann and Deidra. enjoy…enjoy

    • I am so excited about WOF! I haven’t been there in years, and I couldn’t help but go and cheer on our girl Ann! She’ll do amazing. The Heartland will LOVE her. They already do. 🙂

      Have you been to a WOF?

      • I have not had the opportunity…but oh how I would love to especially hear Ann and Christine Cane…oh would you give Ann a little extra hug for me…I am praying for her with weekend. I pray you will be refreshed and refueled.

  • Lynn Morrissey

    I always take my shoes off when I get weighed at the doc’s office (just like I did last Friday). Next time, I won’t worry about it! Thanks for the reminder that Jesus loves me with or without shoes, with or without particular pounds! You’re a gem. Enjoy your WOF conference. It is sooooo uplifting. Give Patsy a hug from me!

    • You, too? 🙂

      I’m not so crazy after all. 🙂

      Thanks for being here, Lynn. Your encouragement and presence here has been such a blessing in my life. And the way you encourage others around the blogosphere. You have a gift, my friend.

      • Lynn Morrissey

        Jennifer, if you are measuring your craziness by mine, you might be in some trouble, girl! =] Your kind and generous words touch me. Thank you for being you!

        • Lynn, I think we could have a lot of fun together some day! By the way, I was reading in your acknowledgements of your book, and you thanked Bill Jensen. That’s my agent!

          • Lynn Morrissey

            I love girlfriend fun–best kind! You’re on! Yes, I recall your mentioning Bill somewhere. I don’t know him personally, but he was at Multnomah when I published there, and we had some nice exchanges. Seems like a very special gentleman, and I greatly appreciated his support on the “Oceans” chapter in Love Letters to God–the most difficult thing about which I ever wrote! I know you will do him proud, and canNOT WAIT to read your masterpiece!!! BTW, Glynn Young, who attends my church (and I, his! 🙂 speaks well of you!

  • Smile. WAY, way too familiar. Every bit of it. Sigh.

  • My daughter Emily told me the other day that she thinks we don’t worry about how we look to impress the guys, but to impress other girls. Is that not the truth?

    I think everyone of us can relate to this, Jennifer.

    And since we’re into confessions here, I’m so jealous that you are going to WOF this weekend and get to see friends I love too. Would you give them xoxox’s from me and keep a few for yourself?

    • Oh wow. I think Emily is absolutely right. I had never thought about it that way before. But I think that’s spot-on truth there.

      I would so love to see you, too, my friend! Some day!

      Have you been to WOF before?

      • I’ve been to WOF many times, Jennifer, beginning with the very first year they began. There have been seasons – when I cared for my mom or money was tight or like now when I can’t climb stairs or sit in tight places with my knees bent – when I had to pass on going, but I have memories of attending – with girlfriends or my daughter and daughters in love – to last a lifetime. In a way, I feel like I grew up with them, and Patsy Clairmont {who I think hung the moon} has been a special gift to me in recent years. I’m praying about going in Nov. {just wish Miss Ann was part of the team in Florida} I’d have to get handicap seating and that’s embarrassing and it sounds so lonely to have to sit away from friends. I can’t imagine having any more fun than to worship, laugh, cry and sing alongside you and Deidra. Have a great time – I’m quite sure you will. xoxox

  • You make me smile:) A good reminder for this girl who fears being unaccepted–I am unconditionally loved and accepted by the God of the universe. Have fun at WOF!

    • I am excited for WOF. Great lineup of speakers and musicians. Plus, getting to hang with my Jesus-sister Deidra? Major bonus. 🙂

  • Kim

    Finding the “lightest” outfit. Check. (Happened last week).
    Trying to lose a few before stepping on the doctor’s scale. Check.
    Cleaning diligently for company. Check.
    Pretty much everything you wrote. Check.

    Thanks for your bravery. I, like you, find it hard sometimes to reveal these struggles to others. I need to print your beautiful graphic and put it all over my house. Thanks for your honesty and for reminding me of His unconditional love when I feel so unworthy. I hope you have a wonderful time at your conference!

    • Oh, Kim … You make me feel so … normal. Confessing to weird stuff like that seems scary, and then suddenly you realize you’re not the only one!

      I’m looking forward to the conference. It’s about a five-hour drive from here, but it will be so worth it.

  • What a wonderful post! Glad you published it! Such a blessing for all of us. Love you!
    Abundant blessings!

    • Thank you for the grace of ((you)), Maria-Anna. Glad you are here today.

  • Oh!How I would love to be at that conference and hug all three of you–whether or not any of us had flossed!

    Dear Jennifer, you exposed some thought patterns that seem pretty familiar to many of us here–you dared to say them out loud and then push publish. Good for you.

    You made us all smile and reminded us of God’s delight in every single one of us. You rock.

    • YOU rock, my lady. Thank you for being here. Can’t wait to see you again someday. I’m bringing my feather boa. 🙂

  • Oh my goodness. You’re ME! (She says as she looks up at the dead flies in the light fixture and the corner cobwebs threatening to choke.)

    • Ah yes. The dead flies in the light fixtures. CHECK.

      And they’re impossible to clean out! That’s my excuse anyway. 🙂

  • Foam flip-flops. You’re better at the game than I am, Jennifer! I never thought about foam flip-flops.

    I needed this reminder right now. So glad you had the bravery to hit “publish.” Thank you.

  • Yeah for clicking publish. There was a little word in there–dusting–what’s that?

    I don’t own a scale for reasons you mentioned above.

    Love how human you are. Love you.
    ~ Wendy

    • LOL!

      You make me feel accepted and understood. Thank you Wendy. Love you.

  • So glad you decided to publish Jennifer. I’ve gained a bit of weight over the summer too, looking forward to getting on a routine that includes more exercise with the kids back in school. It’s bothering me more than it should. Thanks for the reminder that we are lovely just the way we are to Him and its better to walk in the room as the one He created instead of trying to be someone else.

    • I’m ready for routine too. I’ve been getting on the treadmill every day this week (I guess it’s only been three days, but hey!!) … I’m trying to remember WHY it’s important: to keep the body healthy, not so I can reach some elusive standard.

  • Jennifer, I am so crazy about you! You speak my language, embarrassment and all! Blessings on you as you attend Women of Faith, I only wish I were there to remind you about how amazing you are…and look!

    • Right back at you, Diane! Love you my friend. I always love seeing your beautiful smile here in the comment box. xo

  • Oh, girl. How closely I can relate to this! That stinkin’ number on the scale can be such a hang-up of mine. When I weigh myself at home in the morning, I make my self as lightweight as I can. I weigh myself before I put earrings or lotion or even makeup on. I blow my nose beforehand so all that snot doesn’t get weighed. I even exhale, allllll the way, before I step on the scale. Talk about freak attack. 🙂

    God bless you all at Women of Faith. What sweet fellowship that will be!

    (P.S. If you can talk like Yoda, that would be pretty cool!)

    • LOL! LOL! LOL!

      Monica, this may be my favorite comment EVER!!! You make me feel so at ease. Thank you so much for sharing this. I love you. And I am still laughing!

    • Jillie

      MONICA…You are just way too funny yourself! Or should I say, “Way too funny yourself you are.”
      Thanks for the laugh today.

      • Oh Jillie. That’s good. Very good. You crack me up.

  • I love your honesty. Smiled all the way through this post with my head bouncing up and down in agreement. Been there. You know you CAN refuse to be weighed at the doctors office. I tell them mark the chart Patient Refused. I figure if I have to strip down and get into awkward positions to be check I will NOT also be humiliated to be weighed. Vanity, oh vanity….LOL

    • LOL! All right. Patient Refused sounds like my kind of option. 🙂

  • Jillie

    Oh Jennifer, Jennifer, Jennifer…You slay me Girl!!! Love this post! I think ALL women can relate. What is it with us?! Men never seem to worry about all this stuff.
    (Been putting off the yearly check-up BECAUSE I’ve gained even more weight this summer. Can one really refuse to be weighed? Maybe I’ll wait ’til winter and go in my shorts, just to make a point.)
    (And the dentist? Same thing. I’m more worried he’ll notice my bulbous belly as I lay back in ‘the chair’, than I am about the condition of my teeth! I see him in 2 weeks. Any idea as to how I can shed 20 by then?)

    • I went to the dentist last week, and all week I flossed like a pro. … Funny thing about the dentist chair. It reminds me of my childhood dentist, actually. His belly would be presssed up against my ear while he was examining my teeth. And his stomach was a constant growl. Craziest thing …

      • Men do worry about this, we just don’t have the courage to hit ‘PUBLISH’. 😉

  • The first three things you listed? I’ve done them. It’s funny how eyes open when you think you’re going to be seen by somebody else’s eyes.

    And you’re right, it’s not the time to panic but to remember we’re God’s own. (And maybe dust a little. *grin*)

    • Oh Leanne. Thank you for standing with me, friend. Funny how it feels scary to confess, and then others in the room raise their hand. Good to know, my friend, that if you stopped by, I wouldn’t have to rush to clean every cobwebbed corner! 🙂

  • Your honesty is beautiful – just like you! Thanks for that reminder to me of balancing taking care of my body as God’s temple without that becoming the actual worship. Hugs to you – enjoy Women of Faith!!
    Michelle

    • Oh, Michelle. You’re such a blessing.

      I’m so excited about Women of Faith, about the fellowship with friends, the worship, the learning… I’m even looking forward to the drive, now that I think of it. All that alone time in the car is a luxury. 🙂

  • PS – remember…Yoda was the wise one 🙂

  • do
    not
    buy,
    own,
    or use
    a
    scale.

    Not being a Star Wars (yoda dude is from that series, right?) fan, I don’t get the Yoda connection with weight or panic. Maybe you feel like him ’cause you gotta pluck some ear hairs or trim your fingernails or paint on some lips… or maybe because you need some ear bling.

    The heaviness of my heart (full of envy and comparison) – I don’t even wanna see the weight of that. Yikes.

    Have a blessed time at the WOF event.

    • The Yoda reference is more about his general appearance. And thanks for the reminder about the ear hair! 🙂 Just kidding. At least there’s one thing I don’t fret about. LOL!

  • I said to myself, self why would you walk past the same cobb web time and again and not “DO SOMETHING.” Self didn’t have an answer:) Love this post. Oh the cleaning before company. Was so much worse, small incremental steps to better. Do you hide stuff in the dishwasher or oven? excuse me STORE stuff there.

  • Great post, Jennifer. And girl – take your shoes OFF before you step on the scale! 😉

    I’m right there with you on all those things: lazy summer, tight jeans, “explained” weight gain… but I’ve decided to pursue “godly balance” in my life.

    I’ve happily lazed on the couch with my college kids, gone out for ice cream, and helped them both move into new places. I’ve loved having them home and fixing their favorite meals. Those times have been precious, and I’d rather spend it with them than mindlessly running on the treadmill at the gym.

    Enjoy WOF with your pals. You’re a blessing!
    Susan

  • You are beautiful, my sweet friend. I so wish I could be there to hug the lot of you. Find myself missing my girlfriends lately. But you? Perfect just the way you are. And you know that Yoda was quite the gymnast.

  • Okay Jennifer – who gave you permission to write about me? Seriously, I absolutely could have written every word of this post – except I don’t wear “light-weight” shoes, I slip them off before I step on that scale.
    You, my sweet friend, are lovely inside and out. Please give those two ladies a hug for me. How I long to be there with you. A hug for you too!!

  • Kay

    Thank you so much for your transparency, Jennifer. It is refreshing and, I must admit, comforting. None of it made me feel BETTER about myself, but it did make me feel like I’m in good, oh so good, company. I could have written the same list of deficiencies, for lack of a better word. But of course, you didn’t just confess all those things to make me feel like I’m in good company. You admitted them so we can all get on level ground and then fight the good fight. You have indeed inspired me, not to lose weight — I’ve already committed to lose my summer seven too! But you’ve inspired me to soak up the grace of God and journey on. Thank you, Jesus, for grace, sweet grace!

  • I think you hit a nerve, Jennifer. And I don’t think you have given yourself any credit for getting up early to WRITE. A whole actual book that is actually under contract!

  • Like the other ladies, I am grateful you hit PUBLISH, and for how you reminded us of how God loves us – any which way we are – but at the same time, balancing taking care of our temple…Love you! And, you know, you’re beautiful, right?

  • I am so glad that God looks at the inward appearance and not at us outside!! At the Drs weighing in I also remove all sweaters and coats, and hope for the best.

  • One of the best blog post ever on this subject, thank you!

  • That list of shortcomings settled into the pit of my stomach like a rock… dropped from above; my mind… which was dropped from Above. Thanks for your brutal honesty, it helps me and others to be brutally honest with ourselves… That’s the only place to start if we’re going to live a life that makes a difference.

  • Love your words, they made me nod in agreement and laugh out loud! Thanks!

  • Aya

    Hi! This is hilarious! — and so true of myself as well. I bought an exercise dvd a month ago(!!!) but until now it’s still wrapped in plastic. I know I’m loved by the Lord, but I also want to look good for Him!

  • Jennifer- Thanks for clicking the publish button. I love your style and authentic way of sharing you with the “community” out here. Way to go!

  • Thanks for your transparency, Jennifer. Don’t we all do such things without even thinking about them? I’ve been convicted lately of how often/much I use my words to manipulate the way others see me. So humbling (even humiliating).

    (Even as I type this comment, part of me is screeching that I should edit it somehow. Lord, have mercy on me.)

    Thank you for the reminder that I’m not alone in my want-to-look-better-than-I-am mentality, and that God is reaching into my life to actually *make* me better than I am, so the inner me and the me I present to the world will be one and the same. Someday. I hope.

  • I read this the day you posted it, but am just now getting back to comment. I can relate to every single word! I know it doesn’t help one bit to know that I would be delirious with joy if I was the size you are, but I would! This very issue is my biggest struggle–both the self-discipline to be healthy physically, AND really taking in the truth that God is not comparing me to other people the way I do. I love you my friend and would dearly love to be there with you and Deidra and Ann–can’t wait to hear all about it!!

What a catch (and a keeper). 21 years today. 💍❤️🎣 ift.tt/2s1ljmK pic.twitter.com/3a62JW7wNu