This is guest-posted at the Christian Women Resource Network Blogsite today..WARNING TO MEN: This post is about an occurrence that can only be experienced by women. I hope nothing here offends you, and I don't mean to leave you out.
There is nothing like bra shopping to make me feel like a freak of nature -- except maybe shopping for jeans or a swimming suit. Even though I know my correct size, I have to try on approximately thirty different bras to find the one that fits appropriately. Therefore I only undertake this exercise when absolutely necessary -- when all my old bras are tattered, stretched out, or the wires are irretrievably poking into my armpits.
It occurred to me that our recent effort to find a new church is almost as painful as bra shopping. That may seem like a strange analogy, but it is important to get a good fit in both instances, otherwise I will forever wiggle and tug to feel like I 'fit in', and that's not a comfortable place to be in either case!
There are churches, and bras, that are too big or too little. Yes, I could make do with either, but I could feel lost or might overflow in responsibilities of service and never really fulfill God's intent.
I spent a lot of time looking at and trying on the really pretty bras. The ones in pretty colors, with lots of lace or fancy patterns. I thought it would be fun to be secretly wearing something like that under my conservative clothing. Of course none of them were very practical. The patterns or neon colors would show through my t-shirts, the fabric was flimsy, and the cuts were all wrong for my body. I've attended many beautiful and flamboyant churches that felt the same way. They were proud of their non-traditional worship, the large crowds they drew each Sabbath, and their fancy buildings, but there didn't seem to be much substance behind the teaching.
I also had to spend a lot of time looking in the mirror. What was I really looking for? Was I being too picky? Was I looking for something that didn't exist? In a bra, I'd love to find one that made me look thinner, younger, bustier, and sexy. In a church I wanted worship that made me feel spiritual, teaching that always challenged me, people that always reached out to others, maybe even perfection. In either case, I had to face reality and remember what I brought to the table -- an imperfect body and a spirit that needed to engage, serve, and struggle in order to grow.
Eventually, when I sat back and really thought about my needs I was able to hone in on both a bra and a church that met my criteria. One that fit my requirements for support, substance, and a comfortable fit -- for both my body and my soul!
Hopefully I won't be shopping for either again in the near future.