24 03 2011

As I was thinking about composing this week’s article, I caught myself fixated on the thought, “How many of us are really comfortable in the skin that we are in???”  I have been seeing those Dove Soap Commercials over and over again on television during the NCAA College Basketball Tournament featuring prominent men like Georgetown Coach John Thompson III and former big time athletes like Magic Johnson and Bobby Hurley.  

 Bobby Hurley, the former St. Anthony High School star who led Duke to two NCAA championships, is featured in one of the advertising spots.  While we are treated to a montage of photos of Hurley growing up, he talks about not being the most talented or fastest player. But then he confidently expresses how he still got the job done!  The tag line of all the Dove commercials has been how all of these men have learned the secret of being “comfortable in my own skin.” 

 “I am comfortable in my own skin.”  This phrase stings me even as I hear it.  It almost teases and taunts me as I view these guys in the spotlight boasting about something that I know I truly can’t join them in!  I can honestly say that I am NOT now nor have I ever been content or very confident in the skin that I was created in!  I have struggled and battled a very low self-image my entire life because of the very tent that God chose for my contents to be prominently displayed in.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am not mad at God nor am I bitter.  I am eternally grateful that the Lord loves me no matter what, no matter where, no matter when.  But still when I read verses in the Bible that tell me that I was fearfully and wonderfully made- accepting them as personal truth comes very hard for me to grasp!  Dare I even say that I believe that my body has held me back from truly becoming the man that I know deep down inside I have always wanted to be!  I have felt that my spirit has been cruelly trapped by the clear limitations of my physical being.  Does anybody else understand what I am even talking about?  How about you?

 This madness plagues me way beyond March each year.  I struggle with this ordeal through every season of every year.  I wish that it was just one thing that could be easily corrected, because God knows that if I could, I would!  If it would result in my world being turned around so I would never have to battle this oppression and suppression again, I would invest the minute to win it immediately!  But there are some days that it takes every ounce of faith and trust that I am able to muster to gather enough gumption just to be able to leave the house and go out into the world and function at the level that I demand, never mind trying to live up to all of the outward expectations put upon us by others!  It is almost like my body betrays me and fights against me and I hate it passionately.  Why can’t we be friends?  Why can’t I get it all together?  I wonder what it is like to just be able to wake up and get up and get going without having to fight so hard just to live!  And before you know it, I catch myself on the road of comparing myself with others which I know only leads to further depression and defeat!  So somewhere in this entire menagerie of mess that I find myself always battling with- I know I must look for my answer!  I refuse to lose and surrender to it!  I won’t just give up!  So I look up and continue to navigate my way “stuck” in the skin that I’m in!

 My answer to my lifelong dilemma is that there is no easy answer.  Maybe for too long I have been looking and waiting for something that probably is not going to come to me here this side of heaven.  I am honestly thankful to God for the “contents” of my life!  I know joy!    I have been blessed beyond measure and I really don’t need another “thing” to make me complete.  It is the “container” that frustrates the daylights out of me.  I will never be OK with the skin that I’m in!  And I don’t expect anybody who has cancer or struggles through daily disabilities to sing the praises of their outer impairments.  But who we are must not be measured by the standards of what we see on the outside!  Who we really are is the treasured soul that lives on- no matter what shape, size or color the package that we have been wrapped in may come in!  I am still Rudy Sheptock no matter how much I despise the skin that I’m in!  I will always yearn the rest of my days for the prison walls to fall and the bars to break away and the key to finally set me free.  I was not designed to be contained and that is all this fragile parcel that I see in my reflection in the mirror does!  And soon and very soon I am going to fly and nothing will ever ground me again.  But the “not yet” is “not now!”  So no matter what soap I may use and Lord knows that I use tons of it, I am not comfortable in the skin that I am in and I don’t have to pretend or lie about it or just say it so that it makes a nice commercial!  It is the very discomfort that keeps me fully alive and earnestly yearning for the grace of God that I know is sufficient until those wide open spaces become my true home once and for all!

“Oh, Job, don’t you see how God’s wooing you
   from the jaws of danger?
How he’s drawing you into wide-open places—
   inviting you to feast at a table laden with blessings?
”                              JOB 36:16 THE MESSAGE






2 responses

25 03 2011
Kelly Schuknecht

Rudy — This post makes me want to cry! Thank you for being so open and honest about your own struggles. We all have them and hearing them from someone I’ve looked up to and admired for so many years makes me admire you even more. It’s easy to pretend that we’re perfect and life is perfect; it’s harder to admit that we aren’t perfect, but none of us are. Thank you for sharing this!

25 03 2011

Thank you for this post, Rudy! Have you heard this quote (by C.S. Lewis, I believe): “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” Interesting… our bodies are indeed temporary, and not who we truly are. -Blythe

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: