Holly T. Ashley

Oh did I type that outloud?

“Therefore you must be perfect…”

“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect”
(Matthew 5:48)

Wow! That’s quite the statement, Jesus! I know that as a sinner, saved by grace myself that’s an impossible task – so what is Jesus really implying here? He knows we cannot be perfect – we are worthless, self-absorbed, irrational, irresponsible, people pleasing victims…. ? …Be Perfect… Really?

When I first posted this picture on my Bodies for Christ website, I immediately got a response from a woman, a friend of my mother, who was appalled to say the least that I would post such a picture, depicting such a perfect body – accusing me as being part of the “problem”… no. I’m not part of the problem, nor was Jesus.

Here’s the deal, if you don’t raise the bar high enough then you settle for less than what God has planned for you. Most people today don’t live the abundant life, not because they are unfortunate… but because they don’t strive to be perfect! The don’t keep their “eye on the prize!”
We have become lazy, entitled and even more self-righteous than ever before! We don’t want to sweat to the finish line, lift through the burn… We want botox, plastic surgery and quick fixes – We want to starve ourselves to death- rather than spend some time in the kitchen “preparing” our own fresh food!

For those of us who can’t starve ourselves, we turn into the drive through convincing ourselves that because it “says” fresh, it must be! And we have worked a full 15 hour day and we are running the kids to football and dance classes, fixing dinner, doing laundry and the science project and hoping to meet our husbands for a “un-romantic quickie” at 10pm under the sheets, without falling asleep before… or during… I get it!!

I know, because I’ve been there, it’s tough, it hurts, it’s tiring, it’s frustrating, it’s unappreciated and then our hormones kick in….
As a middle aged woman with hormones in disarray my body turns food into sugar and stores fat for the winter like little worker bee’s on a mission to the Antarctic! I’ve got more blubber on me (in places I didn’t even know I had) than most whales in New Zealand! My body has taken on a shape that is unrecognizable for a human being! It’s like looking into a “funny mirror” at the state fair! And I this is after I put myself on a strict yogurt and water diet! And work out 5-6 days a week with that dreaded 60 minutes of cardio a day – and still I’m up a few dress sizes…. !

So I get it!!!!!!!

But that doesn’t mean we quit – we might want to throw darts at the picture of the perfect woman as we are sweating on the treadmill while munching on a rice cake and drinking our gallon-sized sippy cup full of water – but hey… that’s what we are called to do!! We are called to persevere – to keep our eyes focused on Christ through the storms of live and strive towards perfection –
When life hits us with troubles, after we are seemingly doing everything right – we tithe and the market crashes, we work hard and provide for our families, and the SEC comes in and shuts the company down, we serve our churches and the Pastor runs off with his secretary- We teach and preach and contract an in-operable cancerous tumor – things happen! Our husbands, families, kids, everything can change in an instant – Job is the harshest example of that – so what do we do? The Bible tells us not to be conformed to this world – to be transformed, to renew our minds to be sure of God’s perfect will– (Romans 12:2).

Christ doesn’t expect us to be perfect – He expects us to trust Him enough to have PERFECT DEPENDENCE on Him! To be in total submission – to walk through the fire – no matter the outcome, that our ways are not His ways and we must trust that His way is the best way (Is 55:8&9).
Therefore, we must keep on keep’n on as they say or as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:24: run the race to win!!! And one day, when the tide turns, the kids move out, the hormones get regulated, you realize your husband still makes you sizzle and all the work you did while your hormones were storing your fat for the eternal winter has paid off – and now that the flood gates have opened…. the weight comes off…. And your skin is not flabby-fat…. Hey… it worked! I’m back into that dress I wore three years ago… what!?! Too bad it’s not in style…. 🙂

© Holly T. Ashley, 2012

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