We were in the washrooms at the airport - my new friends Angela, Shannon, and I. The bathroom attendant was an outgoing woman named Celese, inviting us to "Choose [our] own seat and relieve all [our] pressures." As Angela waited for Shannon and I to finish our business, she chatted with Celese.
It came into the conversation that we had just left a Christian women's conference. Celese exclaimed, "I knew you were sisters! When you came in I could tell there was something different about you girls! The whole atmosphere in this place changed when you girls came in - you smiled and talked to me. I've been here doing this all day now, and hardly none of these women even looked my way." At her words, my heart soared (we brought Jesus with us and she felt it!) and broke (this friendly woman had been met with rejection for hours).
I came out of the stall in my freshly donned exercise pants and tank top (after all, I had no intentions of spending seven hours of flying plus two hours of layover in slacks and a blouse). I stepped out bearing my brightest smile for our hard-working friend. She looked at me, reached her hand out, and began to rub my tummy!
I tried to step away and save both myself and her the embarrassment, but it was too late. She rubbed and exclaimed her excitement about my "condition." Fiercely keeping that smile planted on my face, I told her, "No, no. I'm not pregnant. I'm just chubby." She didn't believe me, so I said it again. In an awkward moment (for both of us, I'm sure), she took her hand from the jiggly fat stores on my belly and stepped back. Though her comment stung, I did not want to allow my typical reaction (shutting down and being angry and upset) to creep in and mar her impression of what Jesus girls are like.
As my two new friends and I strolled the concourse looking for a lunch location, my emotions warred within me. My typical reaction would be hurt, defensiveness, anger. My typical reaction would typically lead me to stuff my face in an an effort to dull the emotional ache. My typical reaction would be a dialogue in my head convincing myself that I should give up any efforts to be healthier, because they just don't seem to get me anywhere.
But the words of Lysa TerKeurst echoed in my head, "Typical reactions will give us a typical reach. God-honoring reactions will give us a God-sized reach." So I took those thoughts and feelings that were running through my mind and body and asked myself (and my Jesus) if there was anything true or beneficial that I needed to take from that whole uncomfortable experience.
In the few minutes it took us to get to a restaurant and find our seats, I was able to put those nasty thoughts and feelings aside. I turned them over to Jesus and said, "Here - you take these. I don't need them or want them. They're no good for me." And He did! When we ordered our meals, I felt virtually no temptation to order the hugest, greasiest burger on the menu. There was no aching void inside of me crying out to be filled. It was already full to overflowing!
I have been on a journey these past few weeks - a journey to eat better, get healthy, lose weight. But this time I am not walking into battle unarmed and alone, I am stepping onto the battlefield with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. I have the privilege of being one of thirty women given the opportunity to review and "test drive" Lysa's new book, Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food (releasing in December, 2010). All I can say is that it is really helping!
How do I know that it's helping? Well, it could be that I have successfully lost six pounds so far. Or maybe that there is a difference in my desire (the book has helped me to find my "want to"). But honestly, the biggest indicator to me that this book is helping me is the fact that those words in the airport did not damage me. They did not define me. They did not influence my actions and reactions for days or weeks to come.
The numbers on the scale - they don't define who I am. The hurtful comments of others - they don't define who I am. The fit (or lack of fit) of my clothes - that doesn't define who I am. Comparison with others - that doesn't define who I am. Who I am is defined by only one thing: Whose I am. I am His, and that is the only thing that will determine my identity AND my reactions.