Sunday, August 15, 2010

Looks Can Be Deceiving

I've run in like three 5K's so I'm starting to feel like a seasoned pro. Ok, you can stop laughing now. I ran two this summer, one in Duluth and one in my little town. Duluth hosts a pretty large marathon every June so there are a lot of runner types. They are all pretty nice and don't laugh at those of us that have no idea how to put on the chip on our shoes or are just in it for the donuts at the finish line. And another freebie I learned the hard way: don't pin your number to over your sweatshirt zipper because then if halfway through the race you get hot there is no way to get the stupid thing off.

It was less intimidating showing up at my town's 5K. There were not very many runners. No results were listed online. However, several of my kid's friends did beat me again. But even at a small town event, it just never fails that there are people that show up at these things that look like olympians. They have all the gear; arm bands, expensive clothes, sunglasses and visors. They set their watches and GPS things the minute it starts. It doesn't take long before I start panicking: I don't belong here!

But once the race starts and halfway through I find myself passing some of these lookers in my $3 jogging pants from Walmart and the hat I dug out of my closet on my way out the door. I may have had to stop to puke but the fact remains, it doesn't matter how good you look, when push comes to shove it's what you can't see that matters.

It's sad how many times I have felt inadequate in life based on the way others look or the image they are trying to push. It happened a lot in the teen years but doggone if it still doesn't happen to me now in my grown up life. People who look like they have it all together intimidate me. They are fit, skinny, fashionable and I feel like a loser. They have beautiful homes, cars that have less than 100,000 miles on them, prosperous careers and I feel dowdy.

Their kids are dressed in name brands and involved in all the activities. And I feel like a slacker.

They talk the talk like a spiritual giant and I can't find my bible reading plan anywhere.

But looks can be deceiving.

It seems like often times people who try so hard to put out that perfect image don't have all that much perfection. It's what is inside that counts. Other people who look like super moms or have nicer things might look good on the starting line with their expensive diaper bag and over priced strollers but that's not what good mothering is made of.

Good mothering comes from being discplined enough to take those early morning training runs. It takes dedication to do the work that no one sees. It seems there's no glory in that. There's not a lot of glory in changing diapers, midnight feedings, defiant toddlers and runny little noses either. But without the everyday work, you're just a woman that happens to be a good shopper.

Now that I'm older, slower and saggier I've come to a great conclusion: Don't worry about how you look. You may look like a failure to some people. People may tell you that you are unemployed or assume you can't do better. You may feel like a loser some days. But if you are allowing yourself to be molded into the person that Christ wants you to be, you'll win in the end. Jesus wants to make us like himself; loving, selfless, humble, gracious. There is no greater thing you can do to better yourself for mothering than melt into His mold.

If there is anything I want to teach my kids besides about the love and grace of Christ it's this: Don't be intimidated by they way things look. You know that God loves you and is making you into His image. Molding you into just what he wants you to be. Don't worry if he's molding Susie into Barbie's image, just conform to his mold in your life. Whatever that may be. It may be a career woman or a stay at home mom. It may mean less financial security. It might involve great pursuits or seemingly simple endeavors. But there is no where better and more glorious to be than in Him.

Conform to HIS mold. Because looks can be deceiving.

1 Samuel 16:7
But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."


Shan in Japan said...

Amen, Michelle! How I want to be conformed to His mold and not the world's!

SahlbergFamily said...

SO true! Training for my first 5K right now and it's tough with fibro. I realize I may not ever run farther than 2 miles. Try running chronically exhausted, feeling like you have the flu and with mud on your legs. But, hey, I'm running. I figure I WILL finish the 5K and it's a personal milestone for me; who cares about everyone around me! Thanks for the reassurance. I've been so impressed with your running, so keep it up! You're my running hero! :)

Peter and Nancy said...

Good for you with the running!! That is a great accomplishment, and an investment in your health.

I love the parallels with real life, too -- I struggle off and on with comparing myself to others, too. Sure wish I could say I don't do that anymore, but I do. You've given me a great reminder that in heaven's economy, things are not what they seem from the outside.

Sarah, Nathen, Aiden, and Evan said...

Another great post, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and insights. I know I don't know you but I can relate to a lot of what you write about.

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