It has just been one of those days.
I don’t know why they hit out of nowhere, or why it seemed today to hit every female at Feodora, but I think I have changed my clothes about 10 times today and I still don’t like how my outfit looks, and I have had multiple daughters come to me in various stages of “I Just Don’t Feel Right” over hair or clothes or lines on our socks. It doesn’t really matter what the specifics are when the metanarrative is one of “Blech.” It is one of those days where your lunch meat smells funny because you forgot that you bought it 2 weeks ago, where the loaf of bread you turn to for substitute grilled cheese has an uneven number of slices and you know the heel never cooks right, where you are literally counting the minutes until you can take your next dose of Excedrin, and where the most logical decision you can make within a 24 hour period is to sneak bites straight off the plate of leftover Reformation Day cake in the fridge.
(Side note: you know you want to know this. It is called a Bee Sting Cake, and it is a traditional German yeasted baked confection with candied honey almond topping and a pastry cream filling. I had never made it before, but was itching to and I love being given an excuse to bake a cake. The day I figure out how to make these meandering words that we so inelegantly refer to as a blog bring home a paycheck, I will bake 2.)
It’s funny how schizophrenic we can be about our bodies. Maybe this is true for men too, but the ratio of women to men in our household has given me ample opportunities to observe this as a distinctly feminine problem. Just this morning, I felt like I was crushing it. Apologies in advance, this is going to be one of those horrible food brags because I got all excited and obviously the above mentioned meds haven’t kicked in yet, but this morning involved a toasted dried fruit focaccia bread with homemade cream cheese and either apple butter or apricot jam, both made by my Southern Buddy who is ridiculously talented (the Beloved looked genuinely dismayed when I denied his request to eat the apple butter straight from the jar with a spoon. Maybe for his birthday). After enjoying mine with a leisurely cup of hot tea, which somehow feels more self-righteous than coffee, I really don’t understand why, I stretched out on the floor and allotted myself a longer-than-usual yoga time. I felt strong and amazing, warm in my joints and taller (yet another thing I cannot explain, but I swear all those yoga stretches add a solid inch to my torso)…
And then I got dressed. And it has pretty much all been downhill from there.
Recently, I was featured on an episode of Funkquest (have we discussed Funkquest and my delight in Mr. Jonathan Senior and all his works? No? Well, I will pause today’s rambling narrative while you hop over to www.funkythinkers.com and see the one thing I have ever really bona fide won, and yes, it only took me 18 or so tries. Mr. Senior has to be the most relieved of anyone that I started a blog, because all this nonsense used to go straight to his inbox and I think he often felt pressure to respond. That is really the beauty of this medium; none of you actually have to deal with what I am saying and if you do, that is sort of your problem, and maybe your shrink’s problem, not mine. Isn’t that lovely?), and was asked the question: Where should you be naked?
I admit to some after-the-fact obsessing about my answer, because my instinct (and you have only 1 minute to answer on this show, so first instincts count) was to say everywhere. That was maybe… inappropriate. I then went on to yammer something even more inappropriate about naked yoga… sigh. It is amazing how things can spiral into darkness in a mere 60 seconds.
All this came flooding back to me as I struggled to get dressed and feel good at the same time. Maybe clothes are the problem. I was determined not to traumatize any children, so I stayed in my less-than-stellar outfit and went out to school my children when I was met with a Quail feeling a similar frustration with her own outfit, in particular with her hair.
She has phenomenal hair. Like, people stop her in public places and say odd and encouraging things about her hair. And yet, in her words, only a handful of hairstyles feel “safe” and she just wasn’t feeling it. And, as so often happens, God used that moment of exhorting my daughter to exhort my own soul as well (It is actually really difficult to maintain a solid wallow of self-pity while simultaneously pulling someone else out of the same swamp).
Your safety is not in your hair. It is not in the state of your marriage, or your acceptance by your community, it is not in your daily devotional time or your finances (or even your ability to capably manage the money God has given you), although those are all good gifts and good things to cultivate and give thanks for. If your attention is on the gift, if how you feel is inextricably linked to circumstance or to your handling of the gift, then you will be tossed to and fro easily. You will be like a dry leaf bobbing along — it’s all fun and Poohsticks until you hit the rapids, and then you cannot tell which way is up and question why you ever hopped into this stupid water in the first place!
But then… the gift was never supposed to hold your affections in the first place. The gift doesn’t stabilize your heart, your emotions, your thoughts — the Giver does. And He is the best Giver, because not only are His gifts perfectly suited to your needs (notice: not what you think you need, but what you actually need. Interesting how often those two are not the same thing, isn’t it?), He is not a reticent Giver, standing off in the corner and watching with an amused smile while you struggle through the instruction manual, trying to figure out how the heck all these little pieces fit together. He is the Father Giver, who after handing you the complex and glorious Lego mansion that, when finished, will make the Romanov family digs seem a little outdated and unassuming, hunkers down on the floor next to you and builds the whole thing with His own two hands while you sit in His lap and play with the people (the only really fun part about Legos, in my opinion).
You don’t have to feel safe in your hair. He has got you in His arms, so you are free to work out whatever He has given you today with JOY. Turn back, twist your weary just-doesn’t-feel-right self around to look on your Lord, and ask Him for His help… and then watch and wait.