Sadly, sometimes my biggest goal in life is not to see people come to know Jesus, or to end world hunger, or to watch the Cougars win a national championship in something (anything!). No, most days, if I have to be totally honest…most days my ultimate goal is to get to a place emotionally and physically where I can throw on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and feel like I look good in it. The thought that someday I can get dressed without trying on a million different combinations, figuring out which item best camouflages whatever my problem area happens to be for that day…just the idea of that truly feels like some unattainable goal that I can never reach, but if I did would signify that I’ve finally “arrived” (whatever that means).
I love accessories and am constantly buying purses, shoes and jewelry. My birthday present this year was this amazingly cool watch I had been obsessing about for months. An oversized, white Michael Kors that is sporty, trendy and really just downright cool. When I finally got the watch, I tore into the box and was so disheartened when I put it on and it was too big. I practically fell off my hand. I had to patiently wait for the jewelry store to open the next day so I could get a few links taken out.
The drive home from the jeweler was hilarious, should anyone have been watching. I was thrilled with the watch, and kept raising my hand to my head so I could get a glimpse of it in the rearview mirror. And I kept glancing down at it as I drove the winding roads across the mountains. I realize hiding these facts would make me appear less goobery, but I just have to be real here. I was in love.
The first few days I had it I only went to the gym, so I had on work out clothes. But then came a night out with friends and I wore it with some jeans. I got compliments on it all night and was so proud of that watch! (I know you’re thinking, “Seriously? It’s just a watch!” but just stay with me here.)
When I got home that night and took off all my jewelry, I noticed the band of the watch in one spot had completely absorbed some of the blue off my jeans. After gasping in horror (again, I know), I grabbed an old toothbrush and tried scrubbing it clean. When soap didn’t work I tried toothpaste. When toothpaste didn’t work I tried bleach. When that didn’t work I went online and researched other options. When it was all said and done, I had tried soap, toothpaste, bleach, Magic Eraser, whitewall tire cleaner, baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice. Nothing even removed it a little bit. After wasted hours cleaning and Googling, I returned the watch. It just wasn’t worth what it cost to have that problem.
I exchanged it for another watch. And let me just add there are shipping times involved here because in the mountains I can’t just run to the mall. This watch seemed to have a better material band, cost less and received rave reviews. I had it shipped next day air (sorry Greg) because I was so desperate for it. When it arrived I again tore into the box. And when I pulled it out, my shoulders literally dropped in defeat. Thing thing looked like a piece of junk, like it came from a gumball machine. So I sent it back. And then I cried.
I’ve been focusing on eating a ton of fruit and vegetables for the past 6 weeks or so, and even my brother the Registered Dietician probably hasn’t eaten as good as I have. And for the past 4 weeks I’ve been working out pretty hard, an hour a day 5 or 6 times a week. I have noticed my body remembering its strength and I feel like I’m getting stronger. My endurance is up, the endorphins are kicking in and my clothes are starting to fit a bit better. But that darn scale has not budged. At all. Not even a pound. And as much as I say it’s not about the numbers, it really is kinda about the numbers. I know I’m 37 now, have had 2 kids, and an already sluggish metabolism has all but rolled over and died. I know not to expect a 10 pound weight loss in a month. But not even 1? Not even 2? After all the hard work?
I had a melt down about it. If nothing is going to change, then what’s the point? After trying a thousand clothing options yesterday, I just broke down. My already always low self-esteem just plummeted. The goal of throwing on jeans and a t-shirt seemed forever attainable and I just broke. And now I don’t even have a cool new watch to wear.
The thing is, it’s not really about the watch. It’s about what the watch represents. The watch provides a momentary ego boost when I need it most. It’s something new I can wear immediately, not a few pounds from now. It always fits and looks exactly like it should. In a place where I hate getting dressed because of extreme dissatisfaction and discouragement, the watch at least will look perfect. Or the shoes. Or the purse. They won’t be too snug one day or remind me of how it used to be loose.They won’t gently tell me I need the next size up. No, the watch just fits. My wrist is my wrist.
And yet, the thing is, it really is about the watch. Because you see, Jesus is like the watch. He always just fits. Regardless of circumstances, or thoughts, or feelings, he will always fit perfectly. He will always provide a way, a boost, a reminder of his love and his acceptance. My life can be in upheaval, my mind in chaos and my emotions in a basket case…but I can strap him on and it’s all a little bit better instantly.
Like my watch, he always makes me look better. He pulls together my outfit and completes it. And most importantly, if I look into his face, he’ll tell me what time it is. The real, actual, true time. Not what I perceive it to be, or what it feels like, but what the time IS. He IS. God IS. His grace IS. His love IS. The time IS whether I choose to believe it or not. Jesus is Jesus. And his hands are right there in front of me, reaching out, telling me the truth. Reminding me that my flawed view of myself is just that. Flawed. That I keep insisting it’s midnight when he’s desperately reminding me it’s really noon. That when I look into his face I should see my reflection in him, because I was created in his image. That I will never convince him it’s midnight. Never. And the sooner I come to accepting that, the sooner he and I can move toward some more important goals besides throwing on jeans and a t-shirt.
Greg still owes me a watch, and soon we’re making a trip to an actual store so I can buy one in person. And I can promise you this – it will be a watch I fall in love with. Because each time I look at it, I want to see Jesus. And I want to be able to tell anyone who asks about it what the real time is.
“The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry.”
(Proverbs 25:11, MSG)