“So when is that baby getting here?”

Lovely sentiment when you are pregnant. Which I am certainly not.

“Four and a half years ago. But thanks for that.” I literally said this as I gestured to my (almost) Kindergartner.

Awkward, right? But she would not let it go.  She continued to press the issue. What I failed to mention, this lovely scenario took place in the grocery store checkout. While waiting for a price check. And the lady with all the questions was hovering so close that I could feel her breath.

And just when you think things have reached the threshold of awkwardness, my four year-old joins the conversation.

“What?? You have a baby in there?? I’m having a new sister??” No. No. And no. At this point, I would have apologized and invoked the right to remain silent. But not the elderly shopper. Undeterred by her faux pas, she was relentless. “You aren’t pregnant? Are you sure?”

Frankly, I was in no mood to pee on a stick for a stranger, and there was no end in sight. So I cracked. Just a little. While holding on to my love for Jesus as tightly as I could, I tucked the crazy in, took a breath and (probably a little too loudly) told the cashier to forget the price check.

I  cried all the way home, while my four year old sang along with The Greatest Showman soundtrack (oblivious to my tears.)

But bottom didn’t come until I sat at the dinner table that night and recounted my story. And my husband laughed. Uncontrollably. As in roaring fits of laughter.

Their Approval is Your Distraction

Someday I may laugh about the kooky old lady who asked me about my non-existent pregnancy. But that day is not today nor any other time in the foreseeable future. I came home that day and threw my flowy red top straight in trash. And honestly, it still hurts my feelings.

Weeks later, I was at an event with my youngest daughter. An event that albeit she was enjoying, but my reasons for allowing her to participate were very much distorted.

The elephant in the room. So well meaning and but so very misguided. The mother of them all: I want her to be more than me. Better. All the good without the baggage. But in doing so, I was inadvertently setting her up for her own issues.

So mid-event, I scroll through Instagram. The first thing on my feed was this: “What you choose to validate you, you also give the power to invalidate you. Choose well.”

Ok, that stung. But probably coincidence, right?  Scroll down to the next. Seriously? Havilah Cunnington throwing some truth. “Their approval is your distraction.”

I’m a big believer that God can speak whenever, wherever and however he needs to get our attention.

This battle with body image and comparison, the baggage and the never measuring up! One minute, I’m sailing through and things are seemingly under control and the next minute, boom! My insecurities are driving my mama choices. And the next my confidence is shattered because a super old woman hurt my feelings.

These moments show me one thing clearly. And it isn’t really a surprise that I haven’t arrived to a place where words don’t hurt and the past never affects the present. These moments remind me that I need grace daily. That these parts of life need as much prayer, for me, as all the other things I have to address every single day.

As women, this is one of the biggest mistakes we make.

That moment that we let our guard down. Not because we mean to. We get tired, weary. Life gets hard and sometimes we  go on auto-pilot. We stop being proactive in our prayer lives, in our community of friends who help us keep things in check. And sometimes we just shut down.

Isolated, weak and spiritually deplete. Because if I’m being 100% honest, isolated and spiritually deplete would perfectly sum up my state before I walked into either of these situations. Stumbling into an awkward moment that was beyond my control. And the one I walked into voluntarily with my daughter that wasn’t good for either of us.

Maybe that’s where the battle of body image, comparison and never feeling we are enough is actually won. In the soul work that goes into quiet moments, before we ever have to interact with this crazy world. In allowing our hearts to be transformed daily.

According to Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world. But be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Real transformation comes with renewing our minds.

I’m so guilty of this one. When I’m a train wreck, I admit my need to be transformed heart, mind and soul. But truth? I need this everyday.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers.

But I do have my new game plan.

I am going to focus a little less on picture perfect Instagram lives. Focus more on keeping my heart and head in right places. Daily remembering my need for renewal.

I’m worrying less about fitting in and more on being the girl that makes others feel welcome at my table. I’m worrying less about crazy old ladies who have poor social skills, and more on being healthy in all regards. Making mama choices that are going to shape amazing hearts and beautiful spirits and less on what looks good on paper (or social media).

And hopefully, the next time someone talks to my belly or calls me thunder thighs, it will be a minor blip in my day and not an identity crisis. Here’s to hoping.

Becca Fee-Carter is a wife and mother of 2 amazing daughters. She lives in Kentucky where she enjoys obsessively reading, running 5Ks with her daughters and bargain shopping. She loves Jesus, daily discovering new facets of God’s grace, and the fact that she’s so far from perfect and that is just fine. Read Becca’s posts here.