I have just started reading a book entitled, Practicing the Presence of God. As I thought of how much I hate trying on many swimsuits, trying to find one that I don't feel fat in and dreading looking in the full length mirror in that bright, fluorescent lighting of the dressing room, I realized that I needed to remember the presence of my Creator and Saviour in the midst of my shopping trip.
My loving husband planned the day so that I could have some time to go on my own, knowing that juggling the care of our children would only add to the stress of this shopping trip. Shopping for anything is stressful for me. I struggle with spending money to buy things for myself. I know so many people in much greater need. I also struggle with the ridiculous amount of "stuff" available here in the United States. Buying toothpaste nearly put me over the edge! Did you know that there are over 65 choices for Crest toothpaste alone? It is true. I counted them. That number does not include the other brands or whitening strips or other tooth care products. Wow! Here is a photo from my 15 minute decision over a tube of toothpaste.
As I was preparing for this swimsuit shopping trip, I was so thankful for my amazing friends here! Some friends gave us gift cards for various clothing stores, so that I would not stress about spending the money to buy some things for our family. Another friend told me that I am beautiful. A few other friends told me that they understood and would pray for me. I know it may sound silly to pray about shopping for a bathing suit, but that is exactly what I did. I asked God to help me remember his truth in the midst of this day. These are the truths I asked God to help me remember:
"I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Psalm 139:14
"Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." Proverbs 31:30
"Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart." I Samuel 16:7
"Nothing will be able to separate me from the love of God for me in Christ Jesus my Lord." (Not even feeling fat in a swimsuit.) Romans 8:39
I know it sounds silly and all you men out there probably think I have lost it, making such a big deal out of nothing. But this anxiety over my physical appearance has had such control in my life that I struggled with anorexia when I was younger. And even though I haven't stopped eating food recently, it is easy for me to fall back into letting those thoughts and fears control my mind. Particularly here in America. During the summer.
It is my prayer that I will remember God's Presence with me and his Word to me in the midst of all of life. Even during my silly, vain moments of getting anxious over buying a swimsuit. He is with us in the midst. One of my understanding friends who was praying for me asked how it went. My response was "Success!" Not only did I find a swimsuit that I was reasonably comfortable wearing, which didn't cost me anything since I had those gift cards, but I was able to spend the morning talking with the One who loves me no matter how I look. And That is why I was able to walk through that morning with peace and joy, rather than fear and anxiety. His Presence is with all His children, we just sometimes forget it.