The day I wore Spanx sledding

sledding

Or alternatively titled, “Who shrank my snowpants?”

Let’s be clear from the beginning. This Spanx constrained sledding was necessity not vanity. I’m not a Kardashian. It was by no means comfortable. I could barely move and the zipper still didn’t stay closed. But I had made a promise to my kids and something as little (or as BIG) as a butt that wouldn’t fit into my snow pants wasn’t going to stop me!

This is how it went down. On day #4 of Indiana Snowpocalypse 2014, I promised my munchkins that I would take my lunch break to sled with them. The appointed hour of sledding came and my 3 kiddos excitedly scampered into their still wet snow clothes like they’d done 4-5 times a day since the big blizzard. I shooed them out the door with the promise that I would join them soon.

With dread I headed to the hall closet. Is it possible to will yourself smaller by the power of your mind? I peaked inside. Perhaps the fat fairy had snuck a pair of XL snow pants in the closet for Christmas to help me out? No such luck. The boys snow bibs I had worn skiing just last year laughed in my face. Not a chance. The Women’s size Mediums eyed me more kindly. Maybe I could still squeeze into them I thought…

When I couldn’t even pull them up all the way I had a choice to make. Skip the promised hour of sledding fun or find a way. That’s when I remembered my full body Spanx! They had worked wonders under dresses for weddings and pants during a big job interview, surely they wouldn’t fail me now. True to it’s word the magic that is industrial strength spandex slimmed me just enough to get the pants on and zipped. Walking just a little funny, I headed out to join the kids.

There is an odd thing that happens when you fall over that tipping point from pretending you’ve just put on a few pounds, into seriously admitting you’ve gained weight. All of a sudden you’re free to discuss it openly. I think I actually like this stage better. This stage is where the honesty starts.

Carefully constructed photos on Facebook aside, anyone who sees me in real life can already tell I’ve gained weight. So why am I  intent on hiding it? No one ever accomplished anything great by shaming themselves into submission.

So here I stand, publicly admitting that I have gained 2 pants sizes in one year. Ouch! And you know what? It’s ok. I’ve come to realize this is just a stage in my life. I’ve made a lot of good life changes in the past year and one of the casualties has been my waist line. So be it. Because I’m still me. And with a little hard work, this too shall pass.

I had so much fun that afternoon with the kids we went sledding again when nightfall came. We even hiked to the park to rocket down the slides in our snow pants and pretend the playground was our personal ice castle like Elsa in Frozen. We had a blast. And this time, I wore my husband’s snow pants.

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Choose Joy

I was so upset I was literally shaking. My heart was racing, my stomach hurt and I was starting to sweat. My first instinct was to grab my phone and text my husband. I’m afraid what I texted wasn’t very nice. The catalyst for this extreme reaction? My in-laws had just called to say they would be a few hours early to our planned Christmas celebration. Crazy, huh?

No, not crazy that they would dare arrive so early (well maybe a little…), my reaction was crazy. I mean really out there. What was the worst thing that was going to happen? The table wouldn’t be perfectly set? The food not ready? My hair not done? Who cares? The problem is I care. In the quest to have a Pinterest worthy holidays and look good doing it, many of us have put pressure on ourselves and our loved ones that no one can hold up under.

As my irrational burst of anger subsided I weighed my options. Unfortunately the not so nice text had already been sent (Sorry honey, thanks for the grace!). I could continue to let my ugly nature get the best of me or I could step outside my selfishness and consider the big picture. I asked myself, “what really matters today?” Today wasn’t about centerpieces. Today was about gathering with family to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Today was a day for joy.

The first thing I did was call my sister. She listened to me pour out all my irrational emotions like only a sister can, and then spoke God’s truth into my heart. She reminded me that I didn’t need to lose it just because my carefully constructed plan went askew. She also pointed me to a book she had just ordered, “Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions” by Lisa TerKeurst, and suggested I stop that second and order a copy too!

I also remembered the words of a dear friend on Facebook the other day when she was hosting a truck load of relatives. Her post simply read, “More Mary, less Martha, more Mary, less Martha.”

I swallowed my pride and called my sister-in-law back to apologize for being so short with her on the phone. I was honest and I let them know that they had caught me off guard; the table wasn’t set, the food wasn’t ready, and I wasn’t showered, but my house was always open. And I texted my husband a quick apology.

During this season of chaos, it is easy to get caught up in all the little details that are so very temporary. Let’s focus instead on the things that last. Let us focus on joy. Joy is finding a way to be happy, even when things don’t go your way.

The next time you feel your focus slipping away, choose joy. Push the laundry off the couch and welcome your family and friends into your home with open arms. Take that call (maybe from a sister!) that interrupts your schedule and speak words of comfort and peace. Post some encouragement on Twitter or Facebook. Get alone and open your Bible. Put on some worship music, extra points if you dance, and choose JOY!