Spiritual Spanx


“Why is it a girl has to be so silly to catch a husband?” Scarlett O’Hara complains as she is being tightly laced into the barbaric contraption known as the corset. In order to catch the attention of a man, women of the Victorian Era believed that they must conceal their true shape.

This seems ridiculous to the progressive women of the 21st century, but I wonder how many of us are still hiding?

I have spent a good portion of my life hiding my truest self.

As a former pageant girl (Miss America reject), I learned how to conceal aspects about my body that were…ummm… unpleasant.

For example, right before the swimsuit competition, I would forget to watch where I walked and end up colliding with furniture, leaving my legs looking like I got into a cat fight backstage. I proceeded to hide the purple and blue bruises under many layers of concealer.

Then there was that other big ugly, which I sit upon. Ya, it didn’t matter how many hours I spent in the gym or eating broccoli, I could not get rid of that cellulite, and so I hid behind Spanx.

Physical Spanx are the modern day equivalent of a corset, right?

Though many of us would scoff at Miss America and Scarlett, I think we may have more in common with these icons than we would like to admit.

I have spent a good portion of my life hiding my truest self.

It is easy as women to hide behind our “Emotional Spanx” and attempt to save the world. We want people to think that we can do it all, right?

We want others to think that we don’t have any problems and that we are super women.

We want to look “pretty”, because we think no one wants to see our mess (I mean “cellulite”). We are scared for others to see the true us because it’s ugly and embarrassing. What if my “cellulite” is worse than hers? If they knew, surely no one would want to be my friend.

I would argue that our Emotional Spanx keeps us from true friendships and authentic community with others. When we hide behind Emotional Spanx, only the Spanx receives love. It may give us honor, prestige and applause, but it most definitely will not provide us with true friendship because it hides the real us.

We all have “cellulite”. Hiding it changes nothing.

As a Christian, I can ultimately hide behind the Spanx of all Spanx, my “Spiritual Spanx” and attempt to conceal my all too-human sinful behavior.

“Spiritual Spanx” is an attempt to hide all of our ugly, and promote what we think to be appealing. Gossip, obsessions, blame-shifting and perfectionism are some of the ways we cover up our humanity, our imperfection, what we deem to be undesirable in us. We want to hide what looks less than what we believe a spiritual woman should be.

But just like women who are no longer wearing corsets, we as Christians have been set free, and there is no need to go “old school” and hide. There are no corsets with Christ. God has seen us fully exposed and loves us more than we can imagine. God loves the cellulite version of us, so we are free to be authentic. He doesn’t require us to pretend.  He doesn’t require us to look like someone we aren’t, using “Spiritual Spanx” to convince the world we are deserving.

Jesus Christ has already impressed God for us, and we now get credit for His performance. Peace will rule in our hearts when we realize God doesn’t want our performance; He wants our heart. “…The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

If we want real freedom from our corsets, we must get real. Wearing “Spiritual Spanx” requires that  we say all the right Christian words, follow our list of do’s and don’ts, demonstrate no lack of faith or doubt in times of hurt. We cannot preach freedom when we are hiding in corsets, underneath Spanx or in the pews.

Let’s be women who put an end to the masquerade. Let’s stop pretending, posing and strutting, and get real with one another. People don’t want us to be perfect, but to be authentic, real and transparent.

Rip off those “Spiritual Spanx”, Christ doesn’t require us to wear them so we shouldn’t either.  He will loosen the corset that is restricting our soul in order to let us breathe deeply, His freedom and love. Let Him!

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