For Christmas, my son got a color by number book. You know the ones – you’d meticulously paint all the 1s red, all the 2s blue, all the 3s yellow, and so on. During my quiet time today I started thinking about how our lives are very much like a paint by number canvas. There are so many numbers in our past and present that shape us and who we were, are, and are becoming. Together, these numbers create our life’s story, a beautiful masterpiece of happy shades of red, sad days of blue, shining rays of yellow, and hopeful hues of green.
For instance, I am a mom of SIX kids who has been married to ONE man for ELEVEN years. I am the FIRST female on my dad’s side to get a college degree. I was a teacher for SIX years and I’ve been a homeschool mom for the last FIVE years. Most days, I cook THREE meals, grade EIGHT assignments, clean ONE house and chauffeur SIX kids to THREE extracurricular activities. I have a circle of INFINITE family and friends that support, love, and challenge me to be better, stronger, and to dream bigger. These numbers, and countless others, are creating an amazing, living masterpiece of my life.
And yet, there is one set of numbers that I let define me more than any of the others, sadly.
I weigh ONE HUNDRED FORTY pounds.
These numbers decide what I eat, what I wear, whether I feel pretty in a swimsuit, or can look at a picture of myself without cringing. They impact my mood, a good day being when I feel “skinny”, a bad day when I feel “chunky”. These numbers have stopped me from enjoying a glass of wine with friends or from wearing a sexy outfit for my husband. They have starved me, depressed me, and lied to me, as I look in the mirror and see only negative. My husband calls me beautiful and tries to remind me that each stretchmark tells a beautiful story of a life we created. I want to believe him. I want to see what he sees. But then there’s the numbers whispering ONE HUNDRED FORTY and I can’t see past them in the mirror.
So every new year I make a resolution to get healthy.
And every year I fail.
Life happens. I get tired, stressed, bored, or, honestly, lazy. I fall off the bandwagon and the weight piles back on.
And I was set to start this new year off much the same. But then I remembered the coloring book and I realized I have been painting my paint by number canvas wrong these many, many years. I have been ignoring some important numbers, while paying too much attention to some very insignificant ones. I don’t have a weight problem. I have a love myself problem.
I have been failing to give myself the same grace that I give others, to see past my outer flaws to the core of my inner beauty. It’s ok to want to better yourself; to want to be healthier, happier, and growing personally and spiritually. To paint a picture using all your life’s numbers, the good and the bad.
But it’s not ok to let the negative overshadow the good.
So my not so new New Year’s resolution is once again to get healthy by eating clean and exercising. But I’m going to do it differently this year. This year I’m using paint strokes of grace….vibrant colors of love, patience, peace, and a few scoops of well deserved ice cream.
Because it’s ALL the numbers that make the masterpiece.
Happy New Year, friends. Make it a colorful one!
I want to hear from you! What are some of the numbers in your paint by number canvas, the good and the bad?