"Whoo hoo!" I hung up the phone with a huge smile. Any chance to hit stores and come home with bargains stirred girlish excitement. Since I lost my eyesight, these trips gave me a chance to get out, catch up, laugh and come home with crazy stories.
Anticipating a great time, my friend took me by the arm, and we strolled through crowded store aisles, headed to the petite department.
"I see a perfect outfit for you," she said, "and I think it's on sale!" Our steps quickened.
Once in the dressing room, she handed me the fitted top. "The colors are perfect. They'll look great on you."
I slipped my arms through. "Hmm ... a little tight." I tried to poke my head through, but got stuck midway. "I think I need a bigger size," I muttered.
"No way. It's your size," she said. She tugged first on one side, then the other.
The top wouldn't budge, on or off. My arms pressed against my ears, and my words of panic muffled by the blouse that smashed my face.
"No pain," she said as she yanked with all her might, "no gain."
My head poked through, jack-in-the-box style, and while catching my breath, I stared into space.
My arms hung limp at my sides, and my mind imagined this garment, never to come off again.
Moments later, my friend gasped as she ran her fingers to one side. "Oh, I can't believe it ..."
"It has a zipper."
A zipper? She's got to be kidding.
"Sorry. I just didn't see it."
Another Crazy Story
But this one mirrored a difficult dilemma in my own life. I battled, trying to decide whether I fit into the world's pattern or fit into the mold tailored by God.
Initially, thinking it'd be a perfect match, I carefully chose goals, dreams and expectations in line with the world's standards. But when adversity swept through, the struggle began. I tugged, yanked and pulled on various styles to find a way out of difficult situations. I wore myself out trying to make my own solutions fit my problems.
I even battled with the correct order of priorities. In my role as a wife, mom, friend or church member, I desired to please everyone. Often anxiety visited reminding me of my inability to please even myself.
But did I change? No. I stubbornly continued to use my values, beliefs and choices to overcome and find satisfaction.
But when the effects of losing my sight crushed my world, it became real, painfully real, that my own ways to solve my problems were not sufficient. My solutions were not a match for a tragedy of this magnitude. Nothing I tried brought comfort, reassurance, encouragement or hope.
And empty of hope, I began shopping for a dose of comfort—through fortune tellers, psychics, New Age healers and more. They successfully increased my frustration and decreased the balance of my checking account.
My whole life was off-balance. And when almost ready to tumble in defeat, I found the zipper—the opening. It was the entrance designed in my heart for Jesus to come in.
When He did, He provided freedom from the world's deceptions.
Once I received Him into my life, I made Him my Lord, my God, my all.
His faithfulness, compassion and guidance offered a perfect garment for my soul. The price tag read, "Free."
This incredible gift, complete with the jewels of His trustworthy promises, adorns my renewed life.
A new beginning, leaving behind unnecessary struggles when facing difficulties. A newfound reassurance, knowing He created me and thus knows what will fit my soul. He knows the size of my needs, the color of my pain, the fabric of my fears and the fashion of my insecurities.
Christ knows yours, too. Trusting in the pattern He custom-designed for you, surrender happens. Fear, anxiety and doubt no longer fit a new life in Christ.
All becomes new. Redirection begins. No more desperation to be free from setbacks big or small. Christ is the one who gives eyes to see a new world—one of renewed hope, confidence and peace.
And it's that profound peace that filters through when God turns blindness or any other setback to joy. And with a new outlook, we can hold on to His healing Word as it dances in our soul. "I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland" (Isa. 61:10, NIV).
Father, thank You for giving me the spiritual garment I can wear as I live the life, abundant and rich, You promised. In Jesus' name, amen.
God has the perfect garment for your soul. Will you try it on?
Janet Perez Eckles is an international speaker and the author of four books. She has helped thousands conquer fear and bring back joy.
This article originally appeared at janetperezeckles.com.