Decades. I have struggled with food and my body for decades. Since my early teens. One morning, at age 50, after spending some delightful time alone with God, an important realization came. It was finally time to take off my Meat Suit of Shame. God gave me the clarity that I had been wearing decades worth of shame on my body. Carrying it around with me daily, everywhere I went. As if it was a costume I wore 24/7. Even slept in it. I apologized for it when I met someone new. “Hi, I’m Kara. Nice to meet you. Sorry I’m so fat. Don’t look at my body, look into my eyes.” The meat suit was HEAVY and uncomfortable. No wonder I’ve been so tired for so long.
What was this meat suit made of? Shame. Lots and lots and lots of shame. Shame about decades of body-based sin. Sexual sin, mostly. If I had to categorize the sins of my lifetime, the largest percentage of wrongdoing falls under the sexual sin column.
I was an early bloomer. I lost my virginity at age 14 to my wild and slightly dangerous boyfriend. He rode a motorcycle and had a water bed. Exciting! When we broke up I slept with many of his best friends to piss him off.
In high school, I dated a few older guys. One night at a small party at my best friends house, (her rich dad was out of town) we all did some cocaine then did all sorts of fun naked things. A few months later I got a letter from him saying he got a sexually transmitted disease from me and that I had better go get myself checked out. That was very kind of him. He could have said nothing, or told everyone but me.
In college, I participated in a game where the challenge was to sleep with a guy from each fraternity on campus. I didn’t win, but I’m sure I was a runner up. My college years can be summed up in two words: Party Girl. Friends, keg stands, dancing, guys, doing shots, cheerleading, parties. I loved being a party girl. Except for that one time. We were at a keg party. There was a guy there that I had seen around campus but I don’t think he was a student. He was much older and always shot hoops alone on the outdoor basketball courts. He must have lived nearby but not on campus. Maybe he was a non-trad student. Maybe he was a sexual predator shopping for his next victim. He found one. I came to in the wee hours of the morning. It was still dark. He was passed out on the mattress next to me in his small, grimy apartment. I snatched up as many articles of my clothing as I could and bolted out of there, silently. I walked the few miles back to campus, sobbing.
Then came the early career days. Shiny new bachelor’s degree. New city full of bright lights, new friends, hot guys. Making good money. Sales job with an expense account. Wining and dining clients. Super fun except for that one client. He owned a very successful restaurant. I was there way past closing sitting at his bar, drinking his fancy pink drinks. Then I’m lying on the metal staircase that led to the second floor of the restaurant, skirt hiked up around my waist. He’s on top of me. After a few confused and conflicted moments of feeling sexy and cool I say “No! Stop, get off me. Stop. No!” He didn’t stop. I wriggled out from under him and bolted to my car. I drove drunk as fast as I could as far as I could. He had a wife and two kids.
My Party Girl lifestyle carried on through my 20s and 30’s. I now refer to them as ‘The Sexcapades.” Decades of looking for love in all the wrong places, looking for love in too many faces. Thank you Jesus for sending my husband Dave to me when I was 39. The sexcapades finally ended when I met him, but the consequences of decades of sin still remained.
Thank you Jesus for keeping me alive. When I look back, I see how many times I placed myself in seriously dangerous situations. So many stories, my friends. I could fill 10 blog posts with stories of my sexcapades. They felt funny then. Now they just feel sad.
What I didn’t know then, but I do know now is that I had a hole in my heart. A Jesus shaped hole in my heart. I tried to fill that hole with all the things the world offers: boys, cheeseburgers, wine, weed, cheesy poufs, friends, cigarettes, Buddhism, money, red velvet cupcakes, career success, a positive mental attitude, yoga, winning awards, people pleasing, Sanskrit chanting, potato chips, self help books, music, tropical vacations, snickers bars, reiki sessions, therapists and anything else I could think of.
Some of it helped a little. None of it worked completely. Of course. Because the only thing that fills a Jesus shaped hole in your heart is Jesus.
Jesus invited me to lay it all down. He showed me how to unzip the Meat Suit of Shame, step out of it, place it at his feet and watch as he turned it to dust. Praise God. Hallelujah! Amen.
I don’t tell you all of this because I want your sympathy. I don’t need that because I’ve been washed clean. I tell you this because somebody out there needs to hear it. Somebody else is struggling. Somebody else is buried under a large pile of shame over something. I see you. I’ve been there. If your story is similar to mine, there is hope. Healing available to you. You just have to run to the Father.
I run to the Father again and again and again and again. You can too.
Text me if you want to talk (303) 669-7284.