Ya know… a while back a friend of mine and I were talking about getting gray hair. I’m 33, and most 33-year-old women are worried about getting in some gray hair, but not me. I’ve known since as long as I can remember that I would have a full head of gray hair when I hit my early thirties… happened to my dad and happened to his mom. Honestly, I’m a bit of a free spirit and so I’m actually totally cool with it! I mean… I have a big ol curly fro!?!?! What could look cooler than that? Oh, a big ol curly GRAY fro!!!! Anyway, her comment about her gray hair was that she would have to dye it because she was afraid of how people would perceive her.
And this is coming from the girl that never cared how people perceived her. But now she’s a counselor, and well… when you are at a point where you need to go see a counselor… you either want a friend-type counselor or you want a wise-sage-type counselor. So, I can see how if she is the friend-type counselor then having gray hair would be… well, it wouldn’t match up with her counseling style.
But it did make me a bit sad for the rest of humanity… because there is like this huge stigma about gray hair. Personally, I think gray hair is beautiful, and it also indicates wisdom and the blessing of having lived to be older than 13! Here is my favorite verse about gray hair, by the way… “Gray hair is a glorious crown worn by those who have lived right.” Proverbs 16:31 So, obviously, I am living right!!! Haha!
Okay, but this post isn’t even really about gray hair! But it brings up my topic about how the world perceives “us”…
A few days ago some kid that I used to teach posted a tacky photo on Facebook of a very, very overweight woman in a bikini. (Why I am still “friends” with him on Facebook and a ton of other people is a post for another day… and another blog.) And it just made my heart hurt… a) because of the burden that poor woman feels because of food, and b) because overweight people are just… mocked by the world. And being mocked… well, it hurts.
So much of my own insecurities are remnants of when I was mocked as a little girl in elementary school because I was “big”. Looking back at pictures, I wasn’t big… I just wasn’t tiny. But it didn’t matter… I had yet to learn that my identity was not in what a bunch of little kids would say to me, but that my identity was in Christ and what He thought of me. And He could absolutely care less about my exterior!
But as I grew up and stayed not-tiny, and then as I truly did start to gain weight and become “overweight”… I still struggled with who I was. Until I really started going to church in high school and I had the most uh.maz.ing. youth minister (shout out to Grant Byrd) in the universe that impressed upon us day, after day, after day that Jesus was all that mattered when it came to opinions. And, well, I fell in love with Jesus pretty darn quick. Of course, I was yet to realize that He could free me from this burden of food that I had been dragging along with me for years, but at least I allowed Him to start freeing a bunch of the burdens I was carrying in my soul.
Well, as I thought through this, it made me realize how many of “me” there are out there… overweight people, struggling with food, loving and adoring Jesus. And gosh… I just want to wear a big sign on my head that like glows that says to them, “YOU CAN BE FREE! PLEASE… ALLOW HIM TO FREE YOU!” And I don’t mean that so that they can get “skinny”… like I said, I would be totally cool with it if I hadn’t lost a pound because of the FREEDOM that I feel from food. Like, being able to fast the other day while shopping? And fasting by choice? Because I was happy? That was not the me from before! I want these people that love Jesus and are addicted to food to be free so that they can know Him more… so that, like I prayed for my friend Christy the other day, they too can say…
I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. Job 42:5