Yesterday I was watching tv. (Yes, I ran and watched tv in one day. I know.) Anyway, I don't even remember what I was watching (some kid program) and I noticed there was an abundance of weight loss commercials on. I guess because it is daytime tv and who else but moms who constantly struggle with weight (Joni, I loved your comment about our weight loss goals never being enough-- right there with ya!) are watching daytime tv? That is what the advertising people count on, at least.
But yesterday as I watched all these ads, I realized that one of the key elements of a successful weight loss ad is the before and after photos. They really are amazing when you see them, and they are what draws you in, and makes you believe. You think, "Wow, if she looks like that, then just think what I will look like if I 1) buy that system, 2) buy that video series, 3) buy that pill or 4) buy that counseling program."
But then I thought about those folks who had to force themselves to pose for that "before" photo. In a bikini no less. I know that right now I am not going anywhere near a bikini. And I am definitely not signing up to be photographed in one!! I thought of my friend Karen, who lost over 100 pounds in a little over a year. She told me that, when she was asked to give her testimony about this at Hearts At Home, they wanted a "before" photo to put up on the screen. She had to search long and hard to even find one. And she realized that there really weren't any because she had been avoiding the camera for years.
Which brings me back to those weight loss ads. And how the effectiveness of the ad is based on the before and the after. We have to see the transformation with our own eyes. We have to know how far they have come. The further, the better. "From a size 22 to a size 6!" The words flash on the screen. And we marvel over what this person accomplished. Their story somehow translates to our story. If she can do that, we think. Then maybe...
I realized that this is true of so many things. We need to see that transformation is possible. We need the encouragement of the stories of others. Most of all, we need their courage to share the reality of where they were so that we can be encouraged by where they are now. I am glad that my friend Karen is willing to share her story. And I applaud those brave souls who put on a bikini and posed for the camera-- not because they were proud of what they looked like-- but because they were filled with enough hope about where they would end up. They admitted the before because they were confident in the after.
Do you have some befores that you need to share? I am not talking bikini pictures. I am talking honest, transparent openness. This is where I was. And this is where God has brought me. Maybe for you it is weight loss or fitness. Or maybe it is beating some addiction. Maybe it is making strides in the way you speak to your husband-- reverencing him instead of talking trash about him. Maybe it is in the way you have embraced your role as a mom-- embracing it instead of running from it. It is in sharing the before that people can appreciate the after. Though Satan tries to keep us bound by the shame of our befores, we can only celebrate God's transforming power when we expose that part too. Is there something God is prompting you to share about where you have come from? I know that it is only when I am real and open and honest and vulnerable that I reach people in an impacting way. Even when it makes me feel exposed in a most uncomfortable way.
But you're still not getting me in front of a camera in a bikini.