6/5/09

The Swimsuit Incident

When I was in high school I had this amazing metabolism. I'm talking the kind of metabolisim that you only hear about in fairy-tales. 

I would eat and eat and hardly gain any weight.

In fact I can remember one specific time being upset because all my friends were a size five and I couldn't yet wear a five. 

Then I went to college.

Oh college.

I think I have mentioned this before, but during my freshman year of college I gained a considerable amount of weight.

It was around that same time that I developed an unhealthy body image. I never had an eating disorder, but I had a pretty warped view of my body.

During the time of my 'unhealthy body image' my family went on a summer vacation and planned to go to a water-park. Supposedly one of the best water-parks in the US. 

The water-park outing was scheduled for the last day of the vacation. So naturally I spent a ridiculous amount of the first part of the vacation dreading the thought of putting on a swimsuit. 

One day while my family was at the pool I went up to the hotel room and put on the swimsuit I brought to wear. I looked at myself in the mirror, and immediately thought: there is no way I can go in public like this.  I felt so uncomfortable in the bathing suit.

So I cried to my family and begged them to not go to the water-park. 

At the end of the vacation we went home, never stopping at the water-park.

Fast forward several  years later: I was watching a TV show with my then boyfriend (don't worry, he's my husband now) about the best water-parks in the US, and the infamous previously mentioned water-park was the #1 park. 

Immediately guilt washed over me. I thought about how my family could have gone to that park, but I was so embarrassed and uncomfortable with how I looked that I completely took the opportunity away from them. 

As I was watching the show I started crying,(this is why husband is so good, he knew I was crazy before he married me) I called my family and apologized to them for taking away their opportunity to go to the water-park. 

They of course thought I was crazy, and to be honest, most of them didn't even remember the event, yet it consumed me at that moment.

I still think about this often, and wonder how I could have been so self-involved that, because I was so ashamed of how I looked I made the choice for the rest of my family to not go and enjoy that park. 

Chances are, if my family had ended up going to the park, and I had ended up putting on that bathing suit, regardless of how uncomfortable I felt, the feelings probably would have disappeared after enjoying time with my family. 

I was thinking about this story the other day when it took a different turn in my heart and I thought about it a different way.

How many times do I miss opportunities to share the love of Christ with others simply because I am uncomfortable or embarrassed of how I might look?

How many times am I so self-involved worrying about myself and my own 'worries' when there are others around me who need to hear about the love of Christ? How there is a God that loves them more than they could imagine?

Yet I continue to look at myself in the mirror, focused on my needs, my wants, my insecurities, and my uncomfortableness. 

Like the 'swimsuit incident' I don't want to look back at my life,  and see perfect opportunities I had to share the love of Christ,  and realize that it was my own insecurity that held me back from sharing with somebody. 

I can't go back in time and tell the Megan in 'the swimsuit incident' to suck it up and not take away this opportunity from her family just because she is a little uncomfortable, but I can learn from it.

I can go into the future knowing that there are opportunities all around me to help others, and at the end of my life I don't want to feel guilty knowing I was so focused on myself or know that I was too uncomfortable to step out of my own box and help others. 

God's love is too amazing to not be shared.
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34 comments:

Tara Gibson said...

great post girl!

d.a.r. said...

Amazing post!!!

Mrs. Haid said...

Great post. But as someone who has spent a considerable amount of time with disordered eating and body image issues... I think that the "shoulding" you are doing now is really similar to the "shoulding" you did back then. Should have been okay with your self in a bathing suit... well... at the time you weren't and at the time you didn't have the insight that you do now. You were suffering. Be kind to that old Megan... its something that I am learning to do with myself when I am angry or annoyed at the old Bethany who skipped amazing opportunities because of how I looked and how my body image controlled my life.

Be nice to yourself! Appreciate that you can feel this way, now!

Becky said...

Oh this is so TRUE! Amen! I feel this way often, and I wish I had to boldness that some people do to witness to other and talk about Jesus. Thank you for sharing this...it is so true, and we having nothing to be ashamed of in Jesus! (and neither to you in a swimsuit girl!) :)

amy (metz) walker said...

I definitely agree with you 100% on this one...God teaches me SO many times through thinking a lot like this! Glad you were willing to listen to His voice...and even better you have a family that loves you and doesn't worry about your flaws, but supports you even when you don't make sense! ;-)

*~! megs !~* said...

you really have a great way of putting things.. i'm so glad that you're willing to listen to Him and that you're willing to tell us all about it. i think this is something we all deal with way too often. i know i do...

Jen said...

Hi Megan,

I don't know if I have ever commented here before but I've been reading your blog for awhile! This post was beautiful. Learning from our "mistakes" or misappropriates is what life is all about!! Thanks for sharing!!

Jen

katie beth said...

great post!

Heather said...

Great post!! Thanks for sharing your heart Megan!

...love Maegan said...

it's nice to come to realizations about who we are or were and how we are choosing to be a better person now. Once you know, you can never go back ...but follow through is not always easy.

Sarah said...

This post is fabulously honest. And so so so true.

Becca said...

I absolutely love this post. It just totally resonated in my heart because I have been there. And yet so often I forget, and slip into being self-centered and self-worried rather than focusing on others - and especially focusing on Christ! :-) thanks for sharing girl!

Jane said...

Great post!

The Pink Owl said...

Thank you for this post!

Stephen and Lacey said...

Megan I love this post. You are amazing about telling stories about your life and lessons you are learning...I seriously think you should write a column for a newspaper or magazine.
Speaking of swimsuits - remember when we thought we were pretty big in destin...

Carri said...

This is really good.

TriciaNae said...

Such a great post...and so true, especially in my life (both with the bathing suit and sharing my testimony). Thanks for the honesty.

Nessa said...

Awesome post, thanks for sharing...but i CANNNOT imagine you fat by any means, for real. lol

Jon and Steph said...

Wonderful post!

LuLu Lake said...

So true.

We all have moments in our life like that. Things we wish we could take back. However, they are great learninb experiences.

Melanie said...

Nice!

Julia said...

Great (and funny) lesson!

Southern Belle said...

I've been there too! It's so true though.

Lindsey said...

Great post!!!

Justin and Jenn said...

I loved the premiere! I can't wait for the rest of the season. I tell Justin frequently that I wish we lived on that exact army base...even though we're not in the military!

Sweet Simplicity said...

You have such a talent for taking everyday life experiences and relating them to our walk with God. I bet these posts touch more people than you will ever know.

Love Being a Nonny said...

I have learned so many lessons in life from the things I did wrong. Thank you for reminding me who it is REALLY about!

My name is Megan... said...

great post and i think this is soooo true for so many if we just stop and think about it! thanks :)

Lauren said...

Wow...what a powerful post!! Thanks!

Marissa said...

Loved this!

Faith said...

This is great, Megan. Something I really needed to hear after starting to work and being around so many people who are lost and do not know Christ. I do want to be bold and obedient in sharing how awesome He is. Thank you for this!

Naturally Caffeinated Family said...

i unfortunately can relate to the unhealthy body image... great post girl=)!

petrii said...

Megan,
You are so cool, my dear girl. To have such insight at your age is truly wonderful.

Thank you for this post,
Dawn

Trina said...

Girl, that's some good stuff! I love analogies!