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  • Alane Stanton

It Happened in the Toilet Paper Aisle

While strolling down the toilet paper aisle, I sense someone behind me. As I turn, I offer a smile and look casually on the shelf as if searching for an item, giving an opportunity for this person to move along. Instead a young gentleman comes alongside my shopping cart and notices my coffee obsession, (four boxes and my favorite creamer) then the encounter began.

"Are you going to ask me over for coffee?"

At this point, I'm giggling so as to cover up my embarrassment. "Ummm, I don't think so."

"What's your name? And how about Starbucks?"

Some days I wonder if this kind of thing happens to others, or just to me. Do I have words written on my forehead like "Gullible?" "Desperate?" "Lonely?" "Needy?" Oh, I don't know, maybe even a phrase like, "I'm not feeling loved or very pretty today, so PLEASE give me some attention!"

I proceed to move along the aisle ... maybe I can outrun him? Right. Maybe not. I turn to go down the next aisle. He follows.

"What's your number?"

At this point, I'm not sure whether to be flattered or frightened. But I deflect with, "I'm sorry, but I don't give out my number to strangers."

Not to be deterred, he responds with, "I will give you my number, and you can text me for a smile. It will be up to you!"

By now, I'm laughing out loud and respond with, "I'm just a shopper with no name, and I'm not giving you my phone number. Did one of your friends put you up to this?"

"Oh no. It was your hair. I love your hair. Then you turned and smiled at me. That was it!"

After three aisles and accompanying me halfway through the store, three attempts at my name and number, and three invites to Starbucks, he finally smiled and gave up. Anyone who saw me shopping for the rest of my groceries undoubtedly wondered what I was smiling about. I couldn't help myself!

Someone noticed my hair and loved it. Someone noticed my smile and was drawn to it. Never mind that he was in his twenties and most likely following through with a bet from his co-workers. It was nice to be noticed!

Before my divorce, I felt unnoticed by my husband. I craved some form of validation that I was still attractive in his eyes, but received none. Just something as small as, I love your hair. I saw your smile, and that was it!

Following my divorce, I struggled with phrases I allowed to run around in my head like a run-away freight train.

"You aren't pretty enough."

"You couldn't make him love you."

"Why are you even trying, nobody is going to notice anyway."

Satan uses lies such as these to make us look at ourselves and to others for validation. When we are looking at ourselves and others, we are NOT looking to the One who created us in His own image. To the one who lovingly knit us together in our mother's womb. To the one who calls us Beautiful.

I've come a long way in seven years, but those freight trains still come lumbering down the tracks on occasion. That is when I have to lean into the One who is my Train Engineer, and allow Him to switch the tracks and guide my runaway thoughts. In Jesus, I know I am pretty enough. I didn't have to make my husband love me. And when I am fully trusting in Him and allowing Him to take control of my runaway thoughts and actions, others will see Jesus in me.

I don't need validation from anyone, but my Father. AND ... neither do you!

Should we take care of our appearance? Certainly. "We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus ..." (Ephesians 2:10) But we must also be careful how we prioritize our appearance and the validation that may come from it. "... present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." (Romans 12:1)

We may crave validation, we may want it, BUT our Father supplies all that we require. You and I are loved fiercely and made in the image of God. What more do we need?

So while my admirer, didn't get my name ... or my number ... or a date to Starbucks ... we both parted with a smile. In a small way, we built each other up in a brief encounter in the toilet paper aisle. But, just in case he might be working on my next trip to the store ...

I'm wearing a hat.


Are you searching for validation from anyone or anything besides our Heavenly Father? Remember:

You are made in the image of God. (Genesis 1:27)

You were lovingly knitted together in your mother's womb. (Psalm 139:13)

You are beautiful! (Song of Solomon 4:7)

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1 commentaire

20 oct. 2021

Very good

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