Monday, November 16, 2009
THE DEVIL AND THE LEOPARD DRESS
It was the eve of Judah’s dedication. I was at a local department store looking for something to wear. It had been six months since I gave birth, but the extra pre-pregnancy pounds were still hanging around. I was NOT going to wear maternity clothes to his dedication when he was SIX months old.
I tried on several dresses peeking ever so quickly in the unforgiving dressing room mirror to see if the outfit would suffice and make me feel somewhat normal for the day. I had a lot of “NOs” hanging up. Returning my items to the “I’m not taking this” rack I made my way back to the ladies department and then I saw it – a leopard dress. I LOVE animal print. Then I heard it, “You can’t wear a leopard dress to your baby’s dedication, it’s not appropriate.” What? Who said that?
Grabbing the dress I headed towards the dressing room and tried it on. It fit nicely and I could look at myself for more than a few seconds. As I turned to look at my profile I heard “You look six months pregnant.” I am buying this dress I said with determination! It was only going to be about $20 with the sale and coupon.
As I headed towards the register I stopped in the purse department. For as long as I can remember I have only had one purse at a time because I do not like the hassle of changing purses. So, I keep it till it falls apart and then I get another. Mine was beginning to fall apart, so I looked with great interest. I found not one, but two awesome purses on clearance, which would be further reduced by my coupon. You know I cannot resist a good deal. Then I heard it again, “You can’t wear a leopard dress to your baby’s dedication, it’s not appropriate. Two purses, now that’s just extravagant.” What was going on?
Before I knew it I was in full on battle with the enemy. He was accusing me, as is his nature, but he was accusing me to myself. The battle was so fierce I almost began to cry in the purse department. I called my husband for back-up, but he didn’t answer. I frantically kept dialing the number, no answer. It was just me, the devil and the leopard dress. I have come to know my Father so intimately I recognized the attack from the enemy almost immediately. But would I win?
This may sound over-the-top to some, but to anyone who has ever struggled with self-image you will understand the conflict. This battle was not about a leopard dress and a couple of purses, this was a battle for my soul. Would I agree with the devil, who is a liar or would I agree with the lover of my soul, my Maker who created me in His image? What does my poor self-image say about Him? To Him? It says He is a liar. I knew that was not right.
I would like to say I pulled myself together, prayed a heartfelt prayer, resisted the devil and he fled, but it did not happen that way. Rustling up any strength I had left I headed to the checkout with the leopard dress and two purses, but my insides were churning. I did not feel like a daughter of the Most High God, so isn’t it great that the title does not depend on my feelings? I walked out of there with a dress and two purses for $50, so I should have felt great, but I didn’t. There was still a full on battle going on inside my head.
You know our thoughts come from three places? God, the devil or ourselves and I always used to think the accusing thoughts and negative thoughts were always from me, they are NOT! The accuser of the brethren was throwing anything he could at me to bring me down and at this point I was not fairing so well. I told my husband all about it when I got home and still almost cried just remembering, but somehow when I got dressed Sunday morning I felt beautiful.
Our pastor always does a word study on the name of the baby being dedicated and he said this about Judah...Judah means this “He stood facing the congregation with his arms raised to the Lord” what an awesome picture of the name the Lord gave me for my son. Then the pastor gave me the microphone to share my testimony about how the Lord named Judah. It was a wonderful day!
Can I just tell you that many people told me they loved my dress after church. Ha, ha devil! And I told some of them the battle I fought to even buy that dress. They understand the battle and encouraged me.
I would like to tell you that it is all behind me and I came out victorious, but I am still fighting this battle, AND I know my Father is VICTORIOUS. I continue to seek Him to restore me in this area. The pictures from that day still make me want to cry because I am not happy with the way I look, but I did go out recently and buy all new clothes in a bigger size because I am going to be at peace with myself and my God until we work this self-image thing out*. And WE will because He is faithful as I seek Him in EVERY area of my life.
*This in no way means I'll be this size forever. It means that I am NOT striving to lose weight. I will do what He shows me to do. The Lord and I will address the issues that keep me at this weight and with His help, the weight will come off in due time.
THE GOOD NEWS IS:
And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. Revelation 12:10
There is a great chart (issue 9, page 21)that has these three headings:
GOD/THE GOOD SHEPARD
and it lists what the voices sound like. For example: God - doesn't compare you to others, Self - compares you to others, Satan - forces comparison
I highly recommend going here (click issue 9, page 21) and printing this chart and keeping it in a prominent place. I'll be taking it with me shopping for a while!
Chart is from an archived issue of House2House magazine