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It was cleaning day. Not a favorite, by any means. Yet, I dragged my grouchy self upstairs to start with the bathrooms. While sweeping the floors, I opened a closet door and found an old, dusty, unmerciful friend: the scale. A smile came across my face. The scale and I have parted over six months ago. I don’t know what my weight is and certainly don’t want its accusatory numbers to tell me.
No, that does not mean that I became complacent about my health and weight. Neither does it mean that my weight is so out of control that I’ve given up trying. It just means that the scale will no longer dictate the mood of my day. It won’t tell me whether I am beautiful or not. It won’t persuade me to try the latest diet fad. I have ended my long-lasting relationship with its tyranny. And after years of struggle with my self-image, I am happier and healthier than I’ve ever been before, inside and out.
This was my secret until now. By worldly measures, I’ve never been heavy, yet I’ve struggled with the way I looked for as long as I could remember. I could look back into my past and try to figure out what drove me to diet for over 20 years, but God has shown me the true reason behind my struggle: perfection. I was bound to Perfectville and did not know it. I can look back into my childhood years and remember the pain I felt when my report card showed a B or C. As a teenager, I did not get in trouble, not because I had high moral standards necessarily, but because I could not bear the thought of disappointing my parents. I had to be perfect.
Of course, we know the problem behind this issue: Only God is perfect. Humans, in their frailty, will never measure up to his standards of goodness and perfection. And yet, it seems as if we turn our search for perfection into an idol that often takes over our lives, deviating our attention from God’s best for us, to what society proclaims as best.
We look at magazines models and feel inadequate when we see our reflection in the mirror. We look at 20 year-olds and run to find a solution to erase the little wrinkles that greet us when we turn 40. We watch our neighbor driving off in his brand-new luxury car and sigh about our 10-year old mini-van. We’re bound by the scale, the Joneses and the latest and greatest. I imagine God extending his loving arm and asking: Are you ready to be set free?
There is really nothing wrong with desiring nice things or looking our best. God desires that we work diligently to accomplish his goals for our lives, as well as have healthy bodies and minds. But we were never intended to be bound by an image or need that was never designed to be ours. Our stories are different. No one else is like you.
Instead of perfection, today I urge for more of his presence. I want to know what he has planned for me. I look at the mirror and see the same person I saw six months ago. Not much has changed. Except now I see who he told me I am: beautifully and wonderfully made. I have to smile at that.
I’ve now moved from Perfectville to Graceville. And I don’t want to ever go back.
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