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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Ehmke, MA, LPC

Shrinking Underwear?

"If we claim that we're free from sin, we're only fooling ourselves.  A claim like that is errant nonsense." 1 John 1:8 (The Message)

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the best, how honest are you with yourself? For example, how honest are you about your eating habits? Are you a 9? A clean, organic eating individual whose idea of splurging is adding a little cheese to something? Or are you more like me, a strong 4, who loves chocolate, pizza, pasta, and could live on a tub of butter and a baguette loaf? There is no judgment on my end regarding what number you land on. My question is, are you honest with yourself about it?  For years, if you had asked me that question, I would have answered that I was a solid 7. That sounds pretty good, doesn't it? It makes it seem like I'm not a crazy health nut but also not a complete glutton. The problem is, that number wasn't true. I just liked the way it sounded. The truth is, I've always been a strong 4. Denying it has only caused me more harm than anything. I remember when I finally came to the understanding that I needed to be honest with myself about my eating habits. (This may be a bit more graphic than normal, but hang in there with me.) It was five or six years ago, but for several weeks, I had noticed my bottom was hanging out my underwear a good 1-2 in inches more on each side than previously noted. I remember standing in front of the mirror looking at myself. You now, the typical back-to-the-mirror-looking-over-your-shoulder-to-view-your-backside look. And thinking to myself, "What the heck is going on with this underwear? They are NOT fitting right." I then tried on several different pairs only to find the same problem. What was going on? In all seriousness, for hours I thought about it, wondering if I'd bought new detergent or something. And then it dawned on me. We had just purchased a new washer and dryer. That must be the problem! So, when my husband returned home from work I quickly engaged him about this issue. "Sweetie, I think there is something wrong with your new dryer?" He looked at me a bit concerned, as you would over any new, expensive purchase possibly not working right. "What's wrong?" he asked. "I think it's shrinking my underwear," I responded to a blank face staring back at me. With a slight head tilt and a hint of sarcasm, he then spoke, "Are you kidding me?" "No!" I said vehemently. "None of my underwear fit anymore. Half of my bottom is hanging out!" I exclaimed, a bit annoyed by his response. He stood there looking at me for a few moments and finally said as calmly and lovingly as any good husband would, "Steph, it's not the dryer." Then he gave me a quick look up and down. My attitude flared and I could only muster a cocky snarl and walked away. For several hours, I silently fumed until I stood once again in front of the same mirror as before. The mirror wasn't lying to me, the underwear wasn't lying to me, and the dryer was certainly not shrinking any of my clothes. Ugh, I had to be honest with myself about how my eating habits and lack of exercise were beginning to affect my body. The good news is, by being honest with myself about being a strong 4 in my eating habits, I can counterbalance with exercise and seasons of clean eating. It in no way benefits me to try and lie to myself. Honesty keeps me in check in this realm.  Friends, as much as we all hate to talk about it, it's the same way with our sin struggles. If we lie to others or ourselves about our sin, we are not hurting anyone but ourselves. I also know a lot of people who think they can even hide their "secret sin" from God (I've been there and it doesn't work). God already knows everything about us - inside and out. Us trying to keep these sins hidden only pulls us further away from him and the abundant life we want to live. So what is the answer? Stop fooling yourself! Be honest with yourself and with God about the sins you struggle with in this life. He is not standing by excited to punish you. No, he is waiting with open arms to help you. I love the way 1 John 1:8-9 elaborates on this...

"If we claim that we're free of sin, we're only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins - make a clean breast of them - he won't let us down; he'll be true to himself. He'll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing." (1 John 1:8-9, The Message)

Trust God with your struggles and stop justifying the things in your life you know aren't good. In the end, it only hurts you and keeps you from God's best. Let’s be people of God who choose to live in the light rather than in “errant nonsense.” The dryer doesn’t shrink our underwear and none of us is without sin. Let’s be honest with ourselves. For Your Reflection… What area of your life do you tend to justify when it comes to sin? Bring that struggle to God and trust him to help you through it. 


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