I was up to my elbows in household cleaner and water when God said something that nearly sent me to the floor,
“It’s good to see you in sweatpants again.”
It sounds so ridiculous, but I knew exactly what He meant.
I practically ran out of the building. My chest started pounding, my eyes were about to spill over. I drug the hem of those sweatpants through the mud and got quickly into my car.
The next two hours were spent with me driving, crying, and my ears filling with all the things that I’ve forgotten about over the last eight years.
All because I asked him one simple question this morning, “What have I lost along the way?”
I never expected Him to answer me. I never thought He’d come that close again, sound that sweet, I never expected him to not condemn my sweatpants.
That was one of the things that had gotten lost along the way: the belief that He would always come, and that when He did He would have something good to say.
I’ve been waiting for that exact moment for the last three years.
I waited for that moment in the darkest nights, in places I never should have gone to, with people that I don’t even know anymore. I waited for Him, I waited for one little sentence that I could have never formed on my own.
I didn’t know it, but I wasn’t waiting for some earth shattering revelation. I wasn’t waiting for the right things to line up. I wasn’t waiting for a person or a place. All this time, I was waiting for Him to talk to me about my sweatpants.
Because a few years ago someone stood in front of me and told me that it was a terrible thing to see a human wear sweatpants. They said it was lazy, unattractive, they said it made a person look worthless.
Though they probably didn’t intend for it to, that idea dug itself inside of me. Not because I have a love obsession with sweatpants, but because the words the enemy made me hear were, “it is a terrible thing to be comfortable with yourself.”
This was said to the girl who lived most of her life in jeans, t-shirts, with her hair pulled back. For me, it had never really been due to laziness. Honestly, I was just child-like for most of my life and I didn’t think there was anything wrong with me exactly as I was. I thought I looked just fine. I thought I was pretty cute (and I was).
Even though sometimes I cringe at my bad haircuts, high-water pants, or rolled socks, I was a darling little child. I was innocent, pure, and beautiful, as all children are. I was unashamed of a plain face, I was unashamed of the clothes that I chose. I liked them and that was really the only reason I needed to wear them.
I let the enemy tell me that was a terrible thing, and that line grew until all the little demons whispered and said, “oh you, you have no value for yourself.”
So, I stopped wearing sweatpants until about six months ago.
You should have seen the first pair I chose to put on. They are the most atrocious pants that have ever existed. They are frumpy, oversized, covered in paint, and an awkward length.
My friends (as they should have) told me they were terrible and I should never ever wear them again. I waited for pain, but the only thing that came out of my mouth was laughter. I told them that I was going to keep them forever and wear them shamelessly.
Because it wasn’t about the pants. Even this morning, scrubbing that countertop, it was never about the pants.
It was about picking back up all the things that I’ve given up, that I once so deeply loved. It was about the years I spent changing myself to please someone else.
It was about that moment that I let someone try to make me a whitewashed tomb. That I let someone tell me my outside was more important than the inside.
It then became about the times that people told me to shut up when I spoke the truth; when people told me to skip past the pages with the Jesus who turned over tables.
It became about all the times that I believed sweatpants made me ugly or that telling the truth made me cruel.
God never said or thought those things about me.
While that shouldn’t have surprised me, it did. Though it seems like basic Christianity to know better, I had never realized it before. God never hated my sweatpants and He loves when I tell the truth.
This morning, God did the thing I’ve been waiting for. He did a miracle, one He promised me years ago that He would do.
A bush did not catch on fire today. I did not walk on water. No lepers were healed.
But today, some things that were dead came back to life. Early this morning, a girl who’d been wrapped the grave clothing of expectations, condemnation, and words of hatred finally heard a loud voice. And He called her forth and unwrapped from her all the things the darkness tried to make her wear.
3 thoughts on “What Have I Lost Along The Way?”
Love this Ashlin! I too am surprised by the gentle reminders and then think, why am I surprised? God is good always
Love this, thank you for sharing this.
I love this! Things have happened to me that were similar, in that someone said something about me years and years ago and I’ve never been able to let go of it. Just recently, God’s been setting me free from the lies that have held me up for years–that I’m lazy, ugly, pointless, worthless. It feels incredible to live not caring; it allows me to look for God’s perfection instead of my own.