I was wearing a navy and coral colored dress with sandals. My hair was done, my makeup on point, and church was being held at the 9:30 club for the first time. Church in a club. What!
I walked in, found a seat on the right side of the room, about four rows back from the platform.
There were some special events taking place that morning. A photographer was there as well as people with balloons and donuts.
KP was leading worship, Susan Manchester was singing alongside him wearing the cutest skirt and top.
And I was completely unaware that I would be changed that day.
I'll come back to this portion of the story in a bit. But keep reading if you'd like.
Three years have passed and today I was reminded of this particular day when an image showed up in my Facebook feed. Facebook has a way of reminding us of some not so great moments, right?
This photo appeared and my heart felt a strange mix of emotion upon looking at it.
You see, three years ago, I'd been invited to take a barre class with my friend Lynette who was becoming a certified instructor. I did not want to go. ZERO part of me wanted to go. But my friend needed 5 people to show up for this class to be considered part of her training requirements.
I wasn't a fan of group fitness. In my mind, group fitness was a fantastic way of putting people on display to show just how terrible they are. I'm a competitive person and like to win, but when it comes to fitness, I've always felt that's an area I never win at. Ever. I workout, I eat healthy, I get good rest, I say no to sweets 98% of the time, all while watching people do NONE of those things and still managing to be skinnier than me. We shall file that under "Things that are not fair."
But I had been invited to attend this free class with several of my new DC friends. And because I love my friend, I went. The day before, I was trying to figure out what workout clothes to wear and found myself sobbing (I know. It sounds dramatic). I didn't want anyone to see me in workout clothes. I felt workout clothes highlighted all my worst features. And we do such a great job of hiding our worst features, don't we?
Feeling nauseated, I went to class, participated, and called it a day. It wasn't terrible and I didn't die. But I did want to crawl in a hole after.
The next morning I woke up and, while journaling for a bit, received a text message from Sarah who had also been a part of the class. She asked about hanging out some time.
Here's the big ugly admission: I stared at my phone in amazement and thought, "She still wants to be my friend? After seeing me workout?"
And immediately after thinking that, I wept. I wept for myself. I wept at how terrible that sounded. I wept for the girl inside of me who felt so much shame in regards to her body. I don't think I had realized just how much of a stronghold the devil had in that area of my life. I didn't want to live that way.
Six days later, I am walking into church. With that navy and coral dress on. And my pastor begins to preach a message titled "The Rooster's Crow."
He talked about how Peter must have felt after having denied Jesus three times as had been foretold. That rooster crowed and Peter was immediately reminded that Jesus had told him "You will deny me three times."
But the thing is.... from that point on. Every time Peter heard a rooster, did he think about his failure? Did he think about letting Jesus down? Did he think about his shortcoming? Back in that day, living where they did, Peter probably heard a rooster crow every.single.morning. How does one get past that? How does one face your sin every day? He couldn't escape it.
Jesus came and spoke to Peter. He asked him, three times, "Peter, do you love me?" Each time, Peter responded with a resounding "Yes." Each time, redeeming Peter's earlier denial.
He began redeeming and continued to redeem Peter's failure.
That Sunday morning, Pastor Mark said many of us have our own version of a 'rooster' in our lives. Reminding us of our lack, our failure, our weakness. He told us, just as Jesus redeemed that rooster's crow for Peter, he could do the same for us.
I knew immediately what my 'rooster's crow' was.
It was my mirror.
Every.Single.Morning I was faced with looking at myself--- at what I saw as my weakness, as my area of failure. I couldn't escape it. I needed Jesus to reset that area of my brain. To see me as HE sees me. To stop living under such shame. For far too long I'd been trying to reset that on my own. By working out harder. By eating less. But it was something I couldn't achieve on my own.
That Sunday. I felt a reset button had been hit on my heart.
Three years later, it's amazing the change I've seen. I won't tell you it's been smooth sailing since then. I still have days. And there are often LOTS of them. But the shame I felt has loosened its grip on me. I can breathe again.
And while my body isn't close to perfect, it's my body. And it's the one I do my best to take care of. That's all I can do. And that's what I'll continue to do.
What's the rooster crow in your life? Might be time for a reset. http://theaterchurch.co