One Size Fits All

One Size Fits All

Ah…the world of fashion. As a mom of three daughters entering the teen years, I have been introduced to the latest styles and trends circulating these days. While looking at fashion or shopping can be fun, one concept that I repeatedly try to impress on my girls is that not all styles look the same on all women. We must find what looks best on us, not what the runways are laden with this season. For instance, it seems that lately, the strapless wedding gown has become the undisputed champion of all wedding dresses. Personally, I think most brides would look much lovelier in something with straps, cap sleeves or perhaps even…gasp… long sleeves. My youngest daughter and I enjoy watching a certain television show in which brides are shopping for the perfect gown. Nine times out of ten, the bride chooses a strapless gown, regardless of her build or shape. (Well, nobody asked my opinion.)

How it affects us

As I’ve pondered these styles and trends of fashion, I can’t help but think of how we, as women, are affected by what we see others wearing. We imagine, perhaps, what we would look like in the outfit “she” is wearing. We wonder if “her” hairstyle would suit us. We perhaps at times sinfully judge another’s clothing choices, thinking they are too opulent, too tight-fitting, too… You get the idea.

complaining

Jumping the fence

Now clothing is one thing, but what about when our comparing jumps the fence into actual life roles? When we see other sisters in Christ going about their God-given roles as daughters, mothers, wives, sisters, grandmothers, can we become envious? Or can we become smug, thinking we do it better? I know I can battle this. We imagine, more often than we ask, what someone else’s circumstances are truly like. If we see another woman who seems to be thriving in her role while we feel as though we are struggling to keep our head above water, it’s not long before we begin to grow discontent with our life.

A personal story

About 8 years ago, we had recently moved across our (then) home-state and joined a new church. My husband was no longer a pastor. I was no longer a pastor’s wife. We were renting a small house with two bedrooms and one bath. I spent my days trying to care for my three young children while my husband worked long hours at a car lot. New town, new church, new people. I was lonely. My eyes began to wander over to the life of new friend who was also the wife of one of our pastors. She had a large lovely home, a gorgeous singing voice, was surrounded by friends and family, and seemed to be thriving in her role as pastor’s wife. The more I looked into her life, the more I grew envious. She had everything I wanted, and some things I had lost. I began to grow so discontent with the place God had me. Finally, I confessed my envy to my husband. He lovingly heard me out then gave me a very difficult piece of counsel. “I think you should tell her you’ve been envying her” he said. Whoa. “But what would be the point? She would never know” I reasoned. Wouldn’t it just open up a can of worms for me to tell her I was envious? My husband gently persisted. “For your own good, I think you should tell her and ask her forgiveness” he said again.

The next day or so, I typed it all out. Confessing my jealously of her seemingly perfect life, I told my friend I had been envying her. It was humbling and a bit nerve-wracking, wondering how she would respond. What if she laughed? What if she thought I was a baby? What if this confession of mine caused her to withdraw from me? Well, none of those worries could have been further from reality. This dear woman was full of compassion and love as she responded to me. Not only was her forgiveness immediate, she thanked me for valuing our friendship enough to take the plunge of bringing this envy into the light. She assured me that her life was anything but the perfect picture I had imagined, and that she needed God’s grace every day to walk through the very real challenges she often faced.

What I learned

You see, in my mind’s eye, I had “tried on” my friend’s life and thought it would look pretty good on me. But in reality, it was not the fit I imagined. She had challenges I knew nothing of, challenges God had equipped her to face, different from my own. The role of wife, mother, pastor’s wife…what have you…is not a generic garment in which we all look the same. Each of us will look unique, according to the way God has equipped us and shaped us to carry out such roles. I have also been on the other side of this issue. I’ve had other women look into my life and imagine it to be so much better than their own. Whether a single friend watching me as a wife, a childless friend watching me as a mom, or a working woman watching me as a stay-at-home woman, I’ve had ladies make many comments about my seemingly enviable life. (Enter laughs and eye rolling) I pray I have been a faithful friend to them, speaking the truth that my life is not anything other than what God makes of it as he prescribes just the amount of suffering and trial I need to keep me leaning dependently on Jesus.

Your response
So how about you, dear reader? Do you need reminded, like me, that “One size does NOT fit all?” God is shaping you uniquely to fulfill all the roles to which He has called you. Have faith today in your Creator and Redeemer. Remember I Thessalonians 5:24, “He who calls you is faithful, He will surely do it.”

Image courtesy of vorakorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Kristin Bunting About Kristin Bunting

Kristin wishes you could pull up a chair, enjoy a cup of coffee, and talk with her about how amazing Jesus is. For 33 years she has walked with her Savior, and each year is a new adventure in learning how He is always "Enough" for her, no matter what the circumstance. Kristin is wife to one loving small-church pastor, and never ceases to be amazed at the 3 daughters God has given them to raise. Her one-day dream is to write a book for women, chronicling her walk with Jesus and encouraging them to never quit pursuing the God who loves them.

Comments

  1. I love the advice your husband gave you, and especially loved your friend’s response. It’s admitting things like that that help us grow closer to God and to the people in our life. How brave of you to follow that advice! It’s not easy. I’m so glad you shared this experience because what you say is so true: What we see on the outside of someone’s life isn’t always what goes on behind the scenes.

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  2. Lisa Lickel says:

    I love that you were brave enough to write–and send–your confession. She might have needed to hear that as well.

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  3. I very much agree about the clothing styles (and I think that is one aspect of “modesty” that often gets overlooked!). I hadn’t applied that image to comparing life circumstances, though. God has been teaching me that he calls different people to different tasks, places, and sometimes even convictions– I don’t understand why, but He does. It’s hard to accept that what’s good for the goose ISN’T always good for the gander. 🙂 Thanks for this and for linking to it from your blog!

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  4. Mary Beth Graves says:

    I can relate to your story so much. All of my life I was surrounded by family that were so weight conscious. My mother fussed about her weight, my father worried about his weight. My family told me when I turned over 40, I would be fat. Even boyfriends and my first husband demanded I stay a certain size. As a result, I experiences some anorexia and fussed continually about the styles I wanted to wear. Growing up in a Godless home added to my insecurities. Through much prayer and a loving husband, I have learned to eat healthy, and create my own individual style of dressing, and my body today is ok with me.

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  5. Tina Wenger says:

    Kristin,
    I’m so excited to see your gifts of wisdom and writing being used to bless a broader audience! Great reminders! Can’t wait to see more!

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