"At that time, this song will be sung in the country of Judah: We have a strong city, Salvation City, built and fortified with salvation. Throw wide the gates so good and true people can enter. People with their minds set on you, you keep completely whole, Steady on their feet, because they keep at it and don't quit. Depend on God and keep at it because in the Lord God you have a sure thing. Those who lived high and mighty he knocked off their high horse. He used the city built on the hill as fill for the marshes. All the exploited and outcast peoples build their lives on the reclaimed land."
You know what it really feels like to struggle with body shame? It feels like being an outcast. We live in a world that worships beauty and ideals without always honoring the true weight of what it means to live in these very different bodies. We are surrounded by a culture that is inundated with images and slogans that make us feel like we're on the outside of something. But everyone else is on the outside too.
This week I've been thinking about this verse. I've been thinking about wide open gates and how dependent I am on Jesus. I've been thinking about walls that are fortified with salvation and steady feet. I've been thinking about how hard it is to just not quit. And I've been thinking about reclaimed land. Because we are that land. We who have lived life as an outcast, who have never quite measured up to the elusive 'something', we are being reclaimed.
I hope that's what we're doing here. I hope we are taking the kind of stand that is more than waving a banner in the sky for a few seconds. I hope we are being fortified and steadied and reclaimed. I hope we are rebuilding.
We've spent way too much time being torn down, and tearing each other down. It's just time to start building something. And, if we're not building, it's just not worth our time. No?
I'm sure you've seen the photo circling the internet of the mama with the rock hard abs and her three kids. The one with the caption, 'What's Your Excuse?'. Maybe you were indignant and felt shamed. Maybe you felt that she was just trying to address the issue of obesity. It's okay. However you felt about it is okay. Because, the greater issue, is that we don't need to be in any camp that keeps tearing each other down. Did you notice that that's pretty much what happened on both sides? Maybe we could make it a non issue by not making it an issue. Maybe we can let that image slide on past us without cheering or booing. Maybe we can start rebuilding no matter what everyone else is doing.
It's not easy for me. I like to have strong opinions. I like to be heard. But today, I'm challenging us both - me and you - to rebuild and to reclaim. And that may be the hardest challenge yet.