“A little on the pudgy side aren’t we?” muttered the 90-something, silver haired lifeguard at the YMCA. It was a class field trip. Fourth grade. Silver hair was trying to adjust my life jacket and was clearly having a hard time. (the fact we had to wear life jackets in a pool was embarrassing enough since at this point I believe I was at “Expert-Shark ” level in swim lessons.) I stood there awkwardly in my Olympic-style kids one piece, waiting for the humiliation to be over.
Speaking of the Olympics, I can eat like an Olympic athlete. Since the beginning, I have just loved food. Mom says I would eat so fast as a baby, I would throw it all up instantly and have to start over (kind of brilliant since then I got to eat two times #babygenius). Luckily for me, I have been involved in tons of sports and athletics my whole life, so I could afford to eat like an athlete, because I was one. I build muscle quickly and now can easily squat a full grown man while eating a plate of spaghetti (as long as someone was physically feeding me the spaghetti).
Even though I love being athletic, I have struggled with what I “should” weigh and my body image ever since I can remember. Silver hair at the YMCA was just one memory in a whole album. Like many girls, I spent so much of my life obsessing about how I looked and what the scale said. While others said “Muscle weighs more than fat!” and “Jenna, you do NOT look like you weight that much,” I fought an internal battle to be skinny. While I dreamed of being this dainty little delicate gazelle that can be thrown around onto people’s shoulders, that just wasn’t in my cards.I am not sure that you ever fully “recover” from this type of thing, but over the years I’d like to think I have moved past it and have been able to dedicate myself to things of eternal purpose.
By learning to purposefully take the focus off myself, my size, my weight and turn my eyes towards Jesus and others, I have come a long way from crying over the number on the scale. Our purpose here on earth is to love and serve others. It is not to impress others or cause jealousy onto others or WOW others with how fit and trim we look in a bathing suit. I have spent much of my life trying to lose 7 pounds, and I grieve what a waste that was. It is a lifelong battle of intentionality to combat the natural instinct to focus solely on ourselves, and to view life with a heavenly mindset. I am in a good place, but it is a battle and a choice daily, with some days better than others.
I realize I still haven’t explained the chins thing. Instead I gave you a brief life story and then ranted a little. Sorry about that.
So I have a round face. It’s a nice face, but I have a set of chipmunk cheeks. I’m serious. I have grown to love them because they are me, but you can really grab quite a bit of cheek meat on my face when I smile. It has always been the place I gain and lose weight noticeably, so in the days I really struggled with how I looked, I would wake up in the morning, maybe after a night out eating at Applebees (half price apps get me every time) and feel under my chin to see if my face got any chunkier. Could I feel the protrusion of another chin? Let me try and slowly move my chin closer to my neck to see at what point I get a double chin.
Ridiculous I know. But I would literally count my chins.
Now, chins are a deep and academic metaphor for all the little things in life that get us down and murk up our perspective. Many times they are selfish things that plain and simple DO NOT MATTER. While in my case they were literal chins, this blog is about the metaphorical ones. There are so many “chins” that we focus on while life is passing us by. While blessings pour down, we are stuck noticing the traffic and the gray hairs and the spilled coffee.
Not everything is a chin. This blog chronicles all of it. Learning to separate the big from the small is what I am discovering on this journey.
So, one day I decided to stop counting my chins and start counting my blessings.
This blog is about life. Sometimes serious. Mostly ridiculous. Sometimes entertaining, and hopefully always pointing you back to Jesus. I hope through this blog you can feel my transparency. I am so far from perfect it’s comical. My goal is to connect with as many people as possible through my life, hardships, funny moments and overall experiences; I would love to hear from you and share stories any time. ❤
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Blessings not chins,