Sunday, April 10, 2011

Does This Dress Make Me Look Fat?

"Does This Dress Make Me Look Fat?" The question dreaded by men (and best friends) the world over.  Especially if asked by a woman with extra layers such as I.  We women ask that question with no real interest in the truth - we know we do look fat.  We just want to make sure that the people we surround ourselves with are in an equal state of denial as we are.  We want to make sure they have our backs, so to speak. We need validation (that awful  V-word.) So, we ask them the loaded question and wait for the predictable - albeit expected - answer, "No, of course not." And we feel better - or do we?

I never do for two reasons.  First - I know I am not thin.  Second - I know they are lying (or stretching the truth, like the dress stretches across my hips) just to be nice.  I don't believe them.  And that makes me sad, too.

I asked my dad once if he though I was fat.  I was about 17 years old.  It was spring time, approaching summer.  I needed some validation.  He looked at me with loving eyes, and after a long pause said, "Well, you don't have what I would call a "bikini body", but you are not fat."  At first I was crushed.  I went up to my room in disbelief.  How could he say that!  Even at that young age I was somehow inherently aware of the "fat-question" rule.  He completely violated it by being.......honest!   I'll admit, I was hurt.  But, what I found was the validation of my physical appearance that I desired was replaced by something far more important- honesty.  I learned that day that I could ask my dad anything - anything- and he would tell me the truth.  Even if it hurt my feelings.

Because I knew this about my dad, I found that I was afraid to ask him certain questions for fear that my insecurities or fears might be valid (was I smart, was a special, etc.)  I sometimes wished he wasn't so honest.  On the other, sweeter, hand, when my dad said kind things to me and about me (which he did often) I found that I actually believed him.  I knew he did not have ulterior motives.  I knew he did not lie.  So, when he told me I was special, I believed him.  When he told me I was beautiful, I believed him.  When he told me I was amazing, I believed him.  When he told me I would be alright, I believed him. I believed him because he did not lie.  Because my dad loved me, and was honest with me, as a young woman (and even now) he gave me the gift of confidence in and a love for myself.  I love him and trust him - and will be forever grateful to him for that.

I was reading in the Book of Mormon this morning.  I was reading a story of a young missionary who went off to preach the gospel to his enemies.  They hated him, and their people were often at war with one another.  This young man, Ammon, fasted and prayed for strength, comfort and direction.  I read "And it came to pass that the Lord did visit them with his Spirit, and said unto them: Be comforted. And they were comforted."  What a sweet answer from a loving God.  But- what struck me was this young man, and those who were to accompany him, stood in the face of danger and the unknown received an answer from the Lord and believed him.  No doubts, no questions, no second-guessing or giving into the fear of possible destruction.  The Lord spoke and they believed.  He told told to be comforted, and they were.

He may not give us the answers we want.  We may ask, "Does this sin make me look unworthy?" hoping for a polite, "Oh- no!  You look just fine!" and rather get the honest (but loving and divine) answer, "Yes. You need to repent and change."  The Adversary would have you second guess God.  Sometimes logic itself might cause you to question Him.  But, remember this: No matter what you ask Heavenly Father, He will tell you the truth. He does not lie. He will never steer you wrong.

When He tells you He loves you, it must be true. When He tells you that you are special - even  amazing - believe it.  When He tells you things will be hard, and life is tough -  but you will be OK,  believe Him.  When He tells you He has a plan for you, believe Him.

He tells you the truth because He loves you.  He tells you the truth because He knows the truth will bring you the greatest joy.  He tells you the truth because that is the way back to Him.

I am grateful to Heavenly Father for showing me the truth.  I am grateful to my earthly father for telling me telling me the truth.  And................I am (truthfully) thankful for my husband who knows precisely when to omit the truth ("No, that dress doesn't makes you look - oh, is that chocolate over there?")

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