Have you ever, because of your attitude or insecurities, almost ruined something? You know what I am talking about? The times when you’re just plain not comfortable in your skin for whatever reason. When it feels too tight or too loose. When the one size fits all just does not work?
If you haven’t felt this way or encountered this inner grappling then don’t bother to read any farther. But if you have…
We arrived at the beach on a Saturday afternoon. I stood on the balcony and stared out at my old friend. (I’m not sure when my love affair began with the ocean. I remember going to Myrtle Beach when I was around twelve—the summer of Jaws. Terrified I fought my step-father as he tried to drag me out into the waves. The memories of that year at the beach were not pleasant. I left with quarter size blisters on my shoulders because we didn’t use sunscreen. I believe the love affair began when we took all my girls to Destin one year in February. And I was captivated.)
I sat down on the balcony simply to have a minute of just drinking everything in—the sun’s play on the sand, and the slanted shadows of the umbrellas. I watched the skimmers swoop to fish and the gulls rise to find a current. It didn’t take long for the roll and rise of the waves to mesmerize me. I could feel my body decompress. Go slack. The ocean and its pattern and rhythm lulled me. Soothed me even from the fourth floor balcony. That day the water was cerulean blue and translucent aqua.
Calm. Placid. Languid.
But it wasn’t enough to look at it from the heights or the distance. I wanted to feel the hot sand on my feet then to be cooled by the salt water. I turned to go inside. I wanted to go play.
Then I remembered.
My attitude shifted. Sly insecurity snuck through the back door before I realized.
A bathing suit is not my friend. Need I say more?
No, most likely not. But I intend to anyway. Are you surprised?
For the next thirty minutes I fought. That’s not an exaggeration. I wrestled with my forty-eight year old body image. (She was certainly getting the best of me.) In that moment I wished I had listened and followed my good intentions of banning chocolate from my daily living. I yanked that suit on pulling and stretching. I muttered under my breath the whole time. In the course of this thirty minutes my attitude wrapped tighter and tighter in a pitiable attempt at self-protection and defense. I want you to know that in reality my suit fit me, the problem wasn’t the suit, but my perception of the suit and the woman in it.
I haven’t been that uncomfortable in my skin in a very long time.
My daughter came into the room and witnessed my angst. She assured me all was fine. Don’t you just hate that word? Fine? But I know my daughter. She really did mean the suit and me in it was fine. Good. Efficient. Adequate. But the translator in my head read that word as there is nothing you can do to make this better, you might as well accept it and go on. I jerked on my cover up. Pushed my feet into my sandals. Threw my bag on my shoulder and walked to the elevator.
My poor insecure attitude and perception was about to ruin my reality.
With heaviness I walked down to the beach. Across the dusty gray-brown sand. Across the packed wet gray shore and into the water.
And the water made me forget for a short time.
In the water you forget your weight in the buoyancy of the sea. For a brief space of time burdens are left behind. For a fleeting and transitory moment you feel unfettered. Unencumbered.
And you forget.
I laughed; I felt like shouting. Here I was again. A tiny little creature on the edge of this vast living undulating entity. And I swallowed. Humbled. Elated.
My perspective shifted.
I walked out of the water pulling and tugging on my bathing suit. The cover-up plastered against the legs I despise.
And I swallowed again.
I had a choice to make.
I could hide. I could attempt to cover all the flaws and imperfections. But that’s how my entire seven days of vacation would be spent.
Spent like sand sliding down the pinched waist of an hour glass. I didn’t have time for that.
I came to the ocean to invest.
If I spent my energies grappling and battling my perception of my appearance I would have nothing left. The fight would empty me. These battles drain me quickly. Insecurity makes you very vulnerable to the enemy.
Insecurity is like being unmoored in a stirred up ocean.
I needed an anchor.
We saw a 3,000 pound anchor propped in a corner of the connected walkway of the shops in John’s Pass. It was an enormous metal hook used to station relatively weightless boats in place on the surface of the sea. I kept looking at that anchor. It certainly didn’t look big enough to hold a boat steady in a storm. I wonder if it made a sound as it fell through the ocean waters and dropped to the ocean bed? How much sand and silt did it displace when it settled down?
I needed to drop an anchor.
God's truth is the anchor.
Not my perception of his truth. Not my interpretation of his truth.
My value and importance and appeal are not based on how I look in a bathing suit.
For God so loved Tamera that he gave his one and only Son that if Tamera believes in Him she shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son to Tamera to condemn her, but to save Tamera through him. Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in Tamera will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
That good work is not a bathing suit body.
How I fit into a garment constructed to allow me in the water is a temporary thing—it will vacillate depending on a hundred little circumstances. The truth from this point is that every time I look in the mirror there will be a new wrinkle, blemish and too much fat and too little muscle. From this point on I will be fighting a battle against gravity. And I could allow this to shake me. To unnerve me. To discourage me.
But I remembered God's truth: outwardly I am wasting away, yet inwardly I am being renewed
day by day.
This truth is the eternal anchor.
God is doing an eternal work in me. He is doing an eternal work in you. What God begins he finishes.That’s the anchor.
Dropping the anchor did not change how I fit into my suit (I hoped, but it didn’t). It did, however, change my attitude and perspective. During the rest of the trip there were no bathing suit battles. No muttering, frustrating rants.
Thank God, I say, for my sake and for the ones with me on the trip.
But listen, dear friends, we don’t have to be unmoored.
When life and the enemy comes against us with lies about our security and worth we need to remember to drop the weight of truth into the situation. Allow the weight and reality of that anchor to drop down through the troubled waters of your spirit. Allow it to displace silt and sand. Then the storm and the ocean can thunder and roil.
As I came out of the water that day I dropped the anchor.
Drop your anchor.
Right now decide.
Let God's truth be the anchor that moors you in a violent sea.