Unpublished

By Sasha Katz

I ran across an anonymous quote – – We all have chapters we would rather keep unpublished.  I love this quote.  The more I think about this quote, the more I love this quote.  In fact, I was listening to the Wally Show  this morning and the contest was to judge who had the best mind blowing quote.  I am going to go with this one.

My assumption is that, most of you reading this, are ladies.  We girls have so many moments that we would be happy to claim unpublished.  The view my mom and husband got when I was pushing my first baby out. Must stay unpublished!  How about the time my ex-step grandma proceeded to pull out everything she could find between the cushions on my couch, including coins, stale chips, popcorn, popped balloon pieces and other moldy junk. She piled all the stuff she found in front of her on the coffee table – during a family party. How about on my 20th birthday when everyone was going around the table telling their very best story of me . . . and my nine year old brother told about the time I walked down the hall and “let it rip!” Really. Should have been unpublished.

Don’t judge my life to be easy or simple by these goofy better off unpublished bits. The real stuff that we don’t want published is the stuff wrapped about pain and shame. The stuff we do retakes of in our mind 100 times over. But the retake in your mind doesn’t take away the real thing that went down in your her-story.

I have to tell you there are not many people out there who have retraced their steps as many times as I have. I hate to think that there are many of you out there who have asked God to forgive them for the same thing over and over again for a full decade. I hope to think that it’s mostly me. But, at the ripe old age of 39, I have let it all go. God has let me remember each and every wretched, sinful thing I have ever done. Everything that I am ashamed of. That blasphemed His name. That soiled His spirit in my temple. That was hypocritical, selfish and self-serving. That deeply hurt others. Everything that made a mess of the real me He knows me to be.

In His grace, there was a purpose to all of my laundry lists. I had a cross over point some time ago. I realized that, if I would let Him, He was intending to wash my mind, spirit and soul of the part of the girl that had gone all wrong. Instead of folding my laundry and putting it back in my closet for me to wear again and again, He was separating it as far as the east is from the west. For as often as I could bring a sin to mind, He was there to send it off to the bottom of the sea. I don’t know how He does these mysterious, miraculous works in us, but He does.

I once read an author who pondered the hours Jesus spent hanging on the cross. The author proposed that the time He hung represented the time it took to forgive in advance each and every sin committed by humanity. In addition to the physical pain, imagine what it was like for Jesus to bear all of our sins. You and I know a little about that because sometimes we bear our sins on our own. We know how bad that hurts. I don’t think we can imagine what bearing all of earth’s sins feels like – – coupled with the physical pain. It sobers you. It tugs at the part of you that has the capacity to feel gratitude; it tugs at the part of you that has the capacity to be merciful to others. It tugs at everything about you that you wish went unpublished. Because you know He had to suffer to make you clean and new. To make the unpublished you, Published.

unpublished

This post was inspired by Connie Inman’s pin of the quote herein. Thanks Connie!

Swimsuit Season, Anyone?

Go to fullsize imageBy Bindu Adai-Mathew

I have two words to make you completely cringe and cause the hair on the back of your neck to recoil in disgust: swimsuit season.

 Yes, those two words are powerful. As children, it evokes images of summertime spent gallivanting in cool water to ward off the scorching summer heat.

 As adults, it evokes endless hours of our stomachs twisting in knots and hands wrenching with worry as we try to figure out how to “undo” months of our bad winter behavior in a matter of weeks so we can be bathing suit ready.

 For those of you in your twenties, getting into that cute swimsuit might require cutting down on a few snacks and reducing your intake of junk food. (Sorry, I’ll try not to hate you!)

For those of us who are no longer in our twenties and especially those of us who have had kids, that means not eating. Ever again. Oh, wait! I take that back. We’re allowed celery and lettuce. Apparently, those are negative calories because the amount of calories it takes our body to digest those types of foods is greater than the number of calories that are in them. Somehow that gives us hope that we can actually start tapping into the gigantic fat reserves that have made their permanent home around our thighs and hips.

Got body issues?

Skinny. Fat. Average Jane. Supermodel Janelle. We all have issue with our bodies. You can put a group of 10 women in a room together, and their body issues will be greater than the number that are just in the room. Put them all in bathing suits in a room and their body issues will be exponentially greater.

Take me, for example. In a business suit, I feel powerful. Capable. Put me in a bathing suit, and I feel vulnerable. Exposed. The entire time I’ll be fidgeting with my swimsuit, tugging and pulling to make sure I’m completely covered and worrying about what someone else will think about my less than perfect body. And is it me, but why is okay to wear bikinis out in public when it’s not okay to wear our bras and underwear out in public? Aren’t they one and the same? Or am I the only prude who thinks so?!

For many of us, our bodies are our sore spots. But as experts tell us, our attitude towards bodies are often indicative of emotional and mental issues and scars.

 But I want to remind you that our attitude towards our bodies can also be a spiritual thermometer.

 How so? Well, even as early as Genesis, we can see a spiritual connection between God and our bodies. When God made Adam and Eve, the Bible says He made them after his own image. But Chapter 2 adds 25The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”

But by chapter 3 of Genesis, they have sinned by eating the fruit from the forbidden tree:

7Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Isn’t it in interesting that they weren’t ashamed of their bodies before they sinned but only after?

As far as we can tell, nothing had changed in Eve’s body. Eve didn’t eat one too many mangoes. Neither did she have a kid, gain a bunch of weight, and then suddenly become embarrassed about the extra cellulite. The scripture is clear—her shame had a direct correlation with her sin.

What shame are you camouflaging under your skinny jeans or swimsuit wrap?  And I’m not talking just about your sin…I’m talking about what others may have done to you…because even if you are the innocent victim of someone else’s sin, the shame of sin can still transfer on to you…it can linger on your skin, eating away like a parasite at your self-esteem.

Whether we realize it or not, our bodies have a direct spiritual connection to God. Even the Bible is clear on the matter that our bodies are more than just flesh: 

19Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. 1 Corinthians 6

Today I want you to take a personal inventory of your own attitudes about your body. Maybe, like many of us, you have been indulging in one too many potato chips…if that is the case, resolve to treat your body more healthily this year.  Occasionally substitute that craving for potato chips or chocolate with some fresh fruit…like apples…or some sweet, juicy mangoes (Sorry, it’s mango season here in South Florida! )

It will not be easy, but be determined to take better care of your body this year. After all, if you have visitors coming to visit your home, wouldn’t you do some spring cleaning, tidy up the clutter, and spruce up the place?  Well, remember, according to 1 Corinithians 6: 19-20,  you do have a permanent guest of honor residing in your home.  Now that verse makes swimsuit season seem trivial in comparison, doesn’t it?

And even if your body is less than ideal, resolve to find your peace with it. Several years ago, I came to the conclusion that it was futile to fight my body. I was never going to be a supermodel so why was I bothering to hate and fight it so? I might as well accept the way God made me and do my best to take care of it.

Or maybe your negative attitude towards your body is the result of something horrible that happened to you a long time ago, and you’ve decided your body is pretty much worthless and not worthy of being treated well.

Again I encourage you to pour out your hurt to God. Isaiah 61:3 promises you who are grieving that God will trade you a  “crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

Whatever you have been through or whatever has been done to you, you are not worthless. That is what Satan will have you feel and believe. But it is a lie. God can and WILL trade you your hurt and shame for beauty. He can heal you, and you can once again be a shining example of what He always intended when He created us.  After all, it isn’t just your body…it’s HIS.

My prayer for you beginning with today, July 4th, is that we inspire you this month to live and celebrate your life in spiritual freedom! Freedom from self-condemnation, self-hatred towards your body. We hope to connect those dots between the body-mind-spirit  that can encourage you to live your life to its fullest. Remember your true relationship with your body and with God is a reflection of your attitude and your heart…not the reflection of your dresser mirror.