"C'mon, girlfriend, we're going to the mall."
"Whoo hoo!" I hung up the phone with a huge smile. Any chance to hit stores and come home with bargains stirred girlish excitement. Since I lost my eyesight, these trips gave me a chance to get out, catch up, laugh and come home with crazy stories.
Anticipating a great time, my friend took me by the arm, and we strolled through crowded store aisles, headed to the petite department.
"I see a perfect outfit for you," she said, "and I think it's on sale!" Our steps quickened.
It Doesn't Fit
Once in the dressing room, she handed me the fitted top. "The colors are perfect. They'll look great on you."
I slipped my arms through. "Hmm ... a little tight." I tried to poke my head through, but got stuck midway. "I think I need a bigger size," I muttered.
"No way. It's your size," she said. She tugged first one side then the other.
The top wouldn't budge, on or off. My arms pressed against my ears, and my words of panic muffled by the blouse that smashed my face.
"No pain," she said as she yanked with all her might, "no gain."
My head poked through, jack-in-the-box style, and while catching my breath, I stared into space. My arms hung limp to my sides, and my mind imagined this garment never coming off again.
Moments later, my friend gasped as she ran her fingers to the side. "Oh, I can't believe it."
"It has a zipper."
A zipper? She's got to be kidding.
"Sorry. I just didn't see it."
Another Crazy Story
But this one mirrored a difficult dilemma in my own life. I battled, trying to decide whether I fit into the world's pattern or fit into the mold tailored by God. Initially, thinking it'd be a perfect match, I carefully chose goals, dreams and expectations in line with the world's standards. But when adversity swept through, the struggle began. I tugged, yanked and pulled on various styles to find a way out of difficult situations. I became worn out by trying to make my own solutions fit my problems.
I even battled with the correct order of priorities. In my role as a wife, mom, friend or church member, I desired to please everyone. Often anxiety visited reminding me of my inability to please even myself.
But did I change? No. I stubbornly continued to use my values, beliefs and choices to overcome and find satisfaction.
Out of Solutions
But when the effects of losing my sight crushed my world, it became real, painfully real that my own ways to solve my problems were not sufficient. My solutions were not a match for a tragedy of this magnitude. Nothing I tried brought comfort, reassurance, encouragement or hope.
And empty of hope, I began shopping for a dose of comfort—through fortune tellers, psychics, New Age healers and so on. They successfully increased my frustration and decreased the balance of my checking account.
My whole life was off balance. And when almost ready to tumble in defeat, I found the zipper—the opening. It was the entrance designed in my heart for Jesus to come in.
Let Jesus Come In
When He did, He provided freedom from the world's deceptions. Once I received Him into my life, I made Him my Lord, my God, my all. His faithfulness, compassion and guidance offered a perfect garment for my soul. The price tag read, "Free."
This incredible gift, complete with the jewels of His trustworthy promises, adorns my renewed life.
A new beginning, leaving behind unnecessary struggles when facing difficulties. A newfound reassurance, knowing He created me and thus knows what will fit my soul. He knows the size of my needs, the color of my pain, the fabric of my fears and the fashion of my insecurities.
Christ knows yours, too. Trusting in the pattern He custom-designed for you, surrender happens. Fear, anxiety and doubt no longer fit a new life in Christ.
All becomes new. Redirection begins. No more desperation to be free from setbacks big or small. Christ is the one who gives eyes to see a new world—one of renewed hope, confidence, and peace.
And it's that profound peace that filters through when God turns blindness or any other setback, to joy. And with a new outlook, we can hold on to his healing Word as it dances in our soul, "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels" (Isa. 61:10).
Father, thank You for guiding my desire to unzip my heart and invite You in. Thank You for covering my life with the perfect attire of joy. In Jesus' name, amen.
God has the perfect garment for your soul. Will you try it on?
Janet Perez Eckles is an international speaker and the author of four books. She has helped thousands conquer fear and bring back joy.
This article originally appeared at janetperezeckles.com.
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