The other day I did something I should have never ever done. I did something you should never, ever—under any circumstances—do.
In a moment of obsessive deficit thinking, I took a picture of my own butt.
I put on my raspberry workout skirt that has the built-in raspberry spandex underneath. I lifted the back of the skirt up, held my phone behind me (shooting up toward my butt), switched the camera to mirror mode, and I clicked.
Then I did the second dumbest thing I had done all day. I looked at the picture.
Of course, I was aghast. There, on my phone was an upward-facing shot of my own butt in tortured raspberry spandex. (Apparently, this is what they refer to as “a bad angle.”)
“Have you lost your mind?” my husband Steve said when I told him what I did.
“Well, I just wanted to see what I was working with.”
“And did that help?”
“No. No. IT. DID. NOT.”
This just goes to show you what we will do at our own expense. We’ll sell ourselves out, time and time again, for the fix we think will—once and for all—help us feel safe in the world.
It never works. I will never take a good enough Butt Picture. Ever. And neither will you. If our insides are hurting and unattended, there isn’t a Butt Picture in the world that will make it all better. Not one. This is possibly the most profound truth I know.
In Psalm 18:16-19 (MSG) the psalmist talks about being saved from the void in which he was drowning, being stood up on a wide-open field, a spacious place, surprised to be so loved. I’m obsessed with this passage because I so get it.
I get what it feels like to be drowning in a void. Drowning in my own anxious thoughts. Drowning in self-deprecation. I think every single one of us, if we’re honest, knows what it feels like to be suffocating ever so slightly.
And we all know, in our secret hearts, the crazy things we will do to try to make ourselves feel better.
But, the reality is, if we are drowning in a void, everything we try to throw into that void will be consumed. Everything. Nothing will satisfy. Nothing will save.
And, unfortunately, our attempts to make ourselves feel better just end up making us feel worse. Because they aren’t truly liberating. They’re the Great Lies. (Example of a Great Lie: “If you have a lovely butt, you will feel healed and safe and powerful and like you ultimately belong.)
I once read in 12-step literature a line that stopped me cold: “We do not deserve to keep hurting ourselves.”
We do not deserve to keep bullying ourselves into a sense of belonging. We do not deserve to keep squeezing ourselves into a sense of safety.
I know this, and I forget this. I get panicked and, instead of turning toward myself with compassion, I look for the fix. I look for the thing that will satisfy the ache.
Instead, salvation is in my answer to that one little pesky question Christ is looking in my eyes and asking, “Leeana, do you want to get well?”
I take that question to be Christ’s hand extended to me, reaching toward me in great love and grace, waiting for me to reach back and grab hold so he can pull me from the abyss.
The Butt Picture will never offer me that kind of hope. (Why do I have to learn this lesson over and over and over again.)
What are you secretly hoping will rescue you? Does that thing have the power to truly offer you freedom, ease, space, breath?
Weekend mantra (let’s all put this on repeat in our souls): “There will never be a good enough Butt Picture.”