Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Why Starvation Diets Don't Work

Our bodies are miraculous things.  Always working, always thinking.  The body is a very logical machine.  It responds to, and prepares for, the things we do to it.  As more and more science confirms, how we eat, what we eat, when we eat, all can have profound affects upon the body.  At the center of all of this is one simple truth; Good food in, healthy body, bad food in, unhealthy body. 

Do you want to lose weight?  It's not about cutting calories, its about changing the very way you eat.  When we eat poorly our body responds to that by storing unhealthy stuff and our very cellular makeup health is diminished.  When we eat in a healthy way, we get healthy at a cellular level! 

The very worst thing you can do is to crash diet.  So many people starve themselves for long periods of time to lose weight.  And it works.  Stop eating for a few days and I guarantee you will lose weight.  And I won't even charge you 19.99 for that advice.  That ones for free!

So if it works, why is it so bad?

Our bodies are amazing machines.  It operates in response to what you are doing to it.  When you starve your body everything begins to shut down to survive.  And, what little it does get, it holds onto greedily.  So, after losing your desired weight, you start eating again.  Often, just like you were eating before.  But now your body has been tricked into hoarding.  Instead of dealing with the new influx of food efficiently it stores as much as it can possibly get to prepare it for what it assumes is some more starvation around the bend.

And so you gain it all back...and more than likely, gain even more.

So you starve again.

And you gain even more again.

Do you need a personal and visual illustration of this?  Check out the before and after photos of people who won the "Biggest Loser".  It is amazing how much weight they lose.  Now, look up photos of those people a year after the competition.  They have nearly all gained it back.  Why?  Because they weren't actually living and eating realistically.  The tricked their bodies into losing weight temporarily.  They didn't actually change their core lifestyle to create permanent health changes.

 Our physical realities are mirror images of our spiritual realities.  We often approach sin with this zero sum game mindset.  There are no fundamental forever changes taking place.  For brief periods of time we just eliminate sin.  And for a while it works.  We get our spiritual bodies prepared for Bikini Season, then we get lazy again.  Soon, it is all back.  Many times worse than it was before.

"When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it.  Then it says 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives it finds the house UNOCCUPIED, swept clean and put in order.  Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there.  And the final condition of that man is worse than the first"
          -  Matthew 12:43-45

Key word here; Unoccupied. 

We do good at starving our sin nature.  It is easy, for a period of "dieting" to eliminate sin behaviors.  Drink to much?  We stop going out for a few weekends.  Struggling with sexual sin?  Turn off the internet and stop returning those "phone calls" for a while.  And then we say, look, I am doing great!  And then we find ourselves right back where we started.

Like misguided yo-yo dieters we approach our spiritual health with the belief that simple elimination will fix the problem.  And the real solution is the same;  Change your diet permanently.

I have lost over 100 pounds in the last few years.  How?  I do not live like I used to.  Vegetables are a part of every meal.  Candy and treats are barely apart of my diet ever.  I fill up on healthy food all day long and it causes me to actually not crave bad food.  But, every time I go without food for a long period of time I find myself eating crappy food again.  The solution is to keep healthy food always going in.  When I do that, there is no room for the bad stuff. 

Jesus is teaching us an important truth.  It is one thing to get sin out of your life.  But if you don't fill up on Him, it will just come back.  Leaving your heart unoccupied is the sure fire way to invite any and all crap into it. 

Stop starving yourself to be Holy.  Start filling up on the good stuff.  Jesus said, Taste and see that I am good!  Just like changing your eating habits, it might be a challenge, but once you adjust, the bad stuff will make you feel sick to your stomach.

Sound familiar....spiritually?

Monday, April 14, 2014

When God's Will Is Difficult

One of our cultures greatest weaknesses is our unwillingness to deal with anything that makes us uncomfortable.  We seek out friendships, voices, activities that reinforce what we already want to believe and do.  Challenges are just too.....challenging.  A common refrain is that we want people to just accept us just as we are.  Which is itself a philosophy built upon the premise that the way we currently are is perfectly fine and acceptable.  Of course there are other people who should change, but not us, we are just fine.

This has bled deeply into the American Christian identity.  We proof text scripture to affirm ourselves.  Jesus is bent and twisted to conform to fitting into a that "celebrates" whatever it is we already have decided in our hearts to do.  Or, we just ignore Him all together and pursue whatever it is we want. 

The will of God is a difficult thing to grasp and pursue.  Often, we falsely assume the will of God is that we are to be "happy".  And if things fall outside of that spectrum we claim to be following the will of God by jettisoning it.  As a 30 something year old Pastor I can tell you of multiple stories of people, who claim to be Christian, who are leaving/left their spouse because they weren't "happy".  And since God clearly WANTS them to be happy, it is God's will that they abandon their vows.....

When did God's will become a tool to achieve personal happiness???

There is something very interesting when you study the immediate effects of following God's will in Scripture; It is really difficult and often unenjoyable.  Perhaps you can set me straight, but I cannot think of an event in the Bible where following the Will of God led to some sort of immediate personal satisfaction and "happiness".  Paul followed God's will to great personal trials.  Abraham gave up comfort to follow after God to a place he knew nothing about.  Jesus submitted to the Father's will, even to the death.

"Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done" 
            - Matthew 26:42

Even Jesus, when seeing what the immediate experience of following God's will was, prayed for another path. 

Following God's will is never easy.

But it is always worth it.  It is always the best.

Catch this important line in this passage, "if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it..."  God's will was deeply rooted in dealing with a deep problem.  Sin.  Sin had to be dealt with.  It had to be defeated.  And the cup of God's wrath that Jesus is referencing had to be drunk.  Either by Jesus, or, by us. 

And that is the beautiful thing about God's will for us.  What He calls us to isn't pointless and without immeasurable value.  It is the exact perfect and right answer to our problem.  If Jesus had not submitted to God's will, as difficult as it was to follow, the beauty of salvation would not be ours.  Sin would not be defeated, death would have the final triumph. 

When you think about God's will in your life, are you willing to drink whatever it is that He has for you?  Or do you only want that which gives you what you want?  God's will is what will lead us to the beauty that our hearts ache for.  But it is often a path that is much more difficult than what selfishness and shortsightedness desires. 

Are you looking for just right now, or, for always?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Problem With Our Hearts

Behavior modification is all the rage in religion.  When you study the main precepts of any religion it is deeply tied to behavior.  Do this, don't do that.  To be a good "whatever" requires certain behavior markers that prove on the surface that you are what you claim to be.  At its heart is the idea that we, through our own strength, can perform acts of righteous justification.  Our self-evaluation, and the evaluation of others, becomes rooted in these measurables.  It seems so simple, so obtainable, so righteous.

But behavior modification is a load of baloney. 

My kids do not behave in the manner that I wish they would.  They are selfish, disobedient, difficult, whiny, frustrating.  Anyone who has raised kids could probably list some pretty funny scenarios where their kids bad behavior caused a bit of embarrassment.  Every day we go back to the drawing board of doing our best to shape and direct their behavior so that they can grow up to not get themselves put in jail. 

What I, and all parents, need to recognize is that bad behavior is not just bad behavior.  It is an outflow of the heart.  My son doesn't just need to stop telling us that we make "gisgusting" food as he pushes his plate angrily away.  He needs to have his heart, his innermost being, changed to WANT to honor his parents and be obedient.  I am bigger and stronger than him(for now) and I could absolutely force his behavior in a more appealing direction.  But what happens when I am no longer stronger and he lives on his own? 

In Matthew 12:34 Jesus has an insightful line, "For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart."  This whole section in Matthew is Jesus confronting the Pharisees in their behavior modification priorities at the expense of peoples hearts.  Your actions, in a vacuum, are not what honors God.  Your heart is what God seeks. 

So how do we change hearts?

"Moreover the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul so that you may live"--Deuteronomy 30:6

Religions love to talk about what you have to do to be good enough.  Jesus talks about what God is going to do so that you will be seen as righteous.  Behavior modification will only take us so far.  The fundamental change of our hearts will change our behavior forever. 

When we look at our lives and hearts we can see, when we are honest, so much sin and absurdity.  Quick to anger, bitterness, infidelity of heart and behavior, jealousy, etc.  And we can exhaust ourselves constantly trying to combat it.  There are little victories of course, but the war is always keeping us back on our heels.  God's promise is that the war is over, the victory is won, our hearts will be changed.  But only when we allow ourselves to have our hearts circumcised by Him.

Do you know you need to change?  Are there behaviors and sins that you just can't seem to get real control over?  Come to the Cross.  This isn't just some sort of philosophical theorizing, it is practical and true.  Repent and believe, the Kingdom is near. 





     

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Jesus Christ "Superstar".....?

We have a lot of "Jesus Movements" today.  I put the preceding term in quotations because I am a bit skeptical about how Jesusesy(?) they really are.  In my typical way I have done in depth scientific research into the types of movements that are currently out there in the landscape today.  This is not necessarily an exhaustive list, but hopefully a good starting point...

Kum Bay Yah Jesus Movement:


This is a real popular one today.  This Jesus Movement is marked by lots of Social Justice stuff.  The Jesus you find here has a few clear characteristics;  Kind, gentle, non-judgemental, tolerant, just wants everyone to get along.....  Passages about hell and sin are generally jettisoned, ignored, or wildly re-interpreted due to how they create a lot of contradiction with the characteristics that this Jesus is known for. 

Within the Kum Bay Yah Jesus Movement there appears to be a low view of Scripture.  But, you can't say that, because their claim is that by reinterpreting the Orthodox historical understanding of things like sin and hell they are actually the ones with the high view.  The ambiguous concept of "love" is the driving theological framework for interpreting scripture.  The irony of this(which I can leave for another post to unpack) is that this newly defined "high" view of scripture requires us to accept that for 2000 years no one was ever capable of reading the Bible correctly.  The whole time God must have been so frustrated with all our mistakes, but, lo, a miracle occurred.  Modern professors and "theologians" finally arrived to set the record straight for God.  He must be so relieved!  I feel so bad for those uninformed bigots from 200 years ago because they are going straight to hell(if this movement believed in that.....)

Health and Wealth/Name it Claim it Jesus Movement



At least this movement gets things about sin right.  What do they get wrong.....This Jesus is a great buddy to have around.  His main purpose in your life at this moment is to make everything "Awesome!!!!"  Are you dying, pray.  Are you sick, pray.  Did another tribe just genocide nearly your entire people group....um...pray.....  And, if things don't work out in just the right way, you aren't praying enough, or have enough faith, or, have unrepented sin...probably related to not giving enough......

Even though Jesus died horrifically, and, Paul had a miserable experience, and pretty much every apostle died in unmentionably cruel ways...while generally being broke....This Jesus clearly says you are better than those Patriarchs of the Faith, because everything will be awesome. 

Can God heal, and bless, and do miracles in your life?  Of course!!!  But, pretty sure Jesus didn't come to Earth so your legs are the same length again....

Legalist Jesus Movement



This is the easiest Jesus to understand, and the hardest to combat.  Legalist Jesus is all about you cleaning up your act to prove your righteousness.  Which is really appealing to us in so many ways.  We like to see the goals and the hoops we need to achieve and jump through.  One, because it gives us a sense of personal self-worth when we accomplish it, and, two, it allows us to compare ourselves to other people...mostly how we are better than them.

This movement reads the Bible as a "how to" book on Self-Righteousness.  They like to sprinkle in a bit about Grace, and salvation by Faith, but in practice, its all in how you act.  It is a difficult challenge to address because it is hard to argue with the Bible saying, "Thou Shall Not".  Clearly you don't want to advocate for actively sinning, but it is hard to address what Grace really means.


The John 12:20-36 Jesus Movement



So how do we combat all of these false movements?  By seeing what Jesus said He was all about.  Throughout his ministry we keep getting this interesting refrain about it not being time yet.  And, then, in this passage, He says, "The Hour has Come".  Everything He was doing was simply a precursor to what His purpose and ministry was all about.  They were simple foreshadowings of the ultimate work and goal of Christ.

To Die.

To suffer.

To submit Himself fully to the will of the Father. 

To be the vessel by which God's justice, wrath and righteousness would be poured out upon.

To be the answer to our hopelessness. 

And answer not found in social justice movements, or healthier lifestyles and bigger houses, or, better ability to be self-righteous.  But an answer found in His death and His death alone.

The entirety of His ministry was to point people to the work of the Cross.  Did he heal, bless, love, serve?  Yes. But those acts were rooted in the promise of the Gospel.  Not as themselves alone having stand alone value.  The promise of the Gospel, the finished work on the Cross, is that God's covenantal promise with His people is that ALL things will be made new. 

A movement of Christians should be shaped, not by outward activities, but, by the purpose of Christ;  To die because of sin, for our sake.  And that is what leads to behaviors that foreshadow and give the foretaste to a desperate world what the Gospel is all about. 

If our message is not Christ Crucified, then we have no message.  And if we forget why Christ was crucified, we also have no message. 

What movement will you be a part of?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Jesus Loves You, But Not in the Way You Want

I really like my kids just the way they are.  I wouldn't want them to be anyone else.  Even their bad behavior is uniquely them, and, in its own way, precious to me.  The other day my son was mad at me and said he didn't want to live with me anymore.  When I asked where he would go he told me he was moving to Hawaii.  But he wasn't going to do that until he was grown up.  BUT once he was there I wasn't allowed to live with him, but I could visit at Christmas.  So, as punishment, my son was promising to move out when he was an adult(yayyyyy!!!), move to Hawaii(double yayyyy), and, let me visit for holidays(yippeeee). 

Precious.

My kids are unique, precious and loved by me just the way they are.  But they better not stay this way.  I refuse to be changing diapers for my daughter before she goes of to college.  I will lose it if my future 20 year old son pushes away his dinner plate and yells at his mother that her food is Guhstusting.  I love them right now, just the way they are, and I am working every day to see them grow and change. 

In the Gospel of John, chapter 12, we have the "Triumphant Entry" by Jesus into Jerusalem.  The whole town comes out to see the miracle warrior, the messiah!  Even Christ's enemies feel overwhelmed by his support with the masses and are at a loss of how to deal with it.  But a few days later these same crowds cry for his crucifixion. 

What happened?

Jesus didn't go along with their plans for themselves. 

For hundreds of years the Jewish people had not been a free nation.  Always a vassal state, never a State.  People like Herod were appointed as their local "kings" and their benevolent rulers taxed the daylights out of them.  This is not what the people wanted.  This is not who they believed themselves to be.  They were the children of the Abrahamic covenant.  Not a bunch of oppressed minorities. 

In the century leading up to Jesus' arrival there had been a number of self-proclaimed messiahs.  They would lead somewhat successful rebellions against the powers that be after gathering a large group of "believers/supporters".  It was easy to start a rebellion with the Jewish people.  They were nationalistic, jingoistic and fairly racist.  They had decided that their identity as God's chosen people meant that they were supposed to be the dominant nation and they should crush their enemies.  While they had spent a few hundred years with the short end of the stick, they were waiting for the day when the true messiah would come to them and throw off the shackles of their oppressors.

They, and only they, were righteous and good.  And all things from God were about them.  Their vision of the future is that they did everything right and they wanted God to come to them and make it easier for them to bask in their own greatness as His people.  There was no sense of maybe they had misunderstood the ultimate goal of the Abrahamic covenant, or, its eternal purpose.  It was all about them and only them. 

Jesus was the next great hope for realizing this goal.  He was going to come in and beat up those Romans and establish the Davidic line for all time.  What did Jesus do?  Rode in on a donkey, didn't start a revolution with the thousands canting for him, and peacefully allowed them to lead him off to his execution.  Jesus didn't play their game the way they wanted to play it.  And they hated him for it.

You and I are like this in so many ways.  We like our lives just the way they are.  We want to think, feel and behave just the way we always have.  And if someone challenges us they are intolerant, mean, jerks, etc.  And we want a Jesus who not only complies with this vision of ourselves, but we want Him to help bring it to pass.  The lie we believe is that we are basically just fine exactly as we are, we just need to spice the recipe up with a decent dose of Jesusness. 

Jesus comes in and says, "I love you just the way you are in this moment, but it is not the way you should be, and not the way that, with me, you can be".  We hate that.  Who does he think he is questioning my actions, my beliefs, my lifestyle?

Who does He think He is?......God

My kids are great and I love them in this very moment more than I thought it was possible to love someone.  But I love them too much to be the dad they demand that I be sometimes.  They will not eat candy for every meal.  They will not skip bed time and brushing their teeth.  They can't watch Breaking Bad before they are at least....I don't know....7... ?  Is that a good age for that...?

Are you ready to be loved in a real and life changing way?  Stop demanding that God love you on your terms.  Experience being loved on the terms of the only person who is actually capable of loving perfectly.  Mostly since He IS love.  And guess what, you are going to find out that a lot of what you want for yourself and want Him to do is going to not be what you get.....BECAUSE He does love you.

I've always been confused.  Since His head apparently was always glowing, how come they didn't know who he was???


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Theology Vs. Love

This post is borrowing elements and insights from John Pipers book, "Think:  The Life of the Mind and the Love of God"(specifically chapters 5-7).  It is a good and challenging read that I encourage anyone to pick up for themselves.

Matthew 22:36-40
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

If the blogs are to be believed there is a great war within Christendom about the heart and future of the Church.  Heated exchanges between multiple camps draw distinct lines that say, "If you do not agree with this, you are out!"  Every public utterance has a response.  Each response receives a response.  And each response to a response receives a.....response. 

For most Christians who are not well versed in Scripture and Theology they are left to throw up their hands and say, "What about love?"  And even more difficult to understand is the perception of the damage to the Church's witness all the infighting seems to create. 

So, what do we do?  Do we step out of the debates and focus on Love?  Do we create new coalitions and draw bolder lines that all who step outside are no longer a part of the Church proper? 

Let me contend with you.  To avoid important theological debates is diametrically opposed to Love, AND, it may be important to draw more distinct lines of what it means to be a Christian.  And, to not do so is to bastardize beyond recognition the whole concept of Love.

Perhaps you find this confusing or offensive.  The whole idea that "dry and sterile" theological debate is a primary source for proper love is difficult for you to swallow.  Is not Jesus' greatest command to Love God and Love your Neighbor?  How do theological debates fit into that framework?

It fits perfectly.

How can you actually love someone when you do not know anything true about them?  You might love the "concept" or the "idea" about them, but you do not love THEM.  If my wife would ask me, "Why do you love me?"  It would be hurtful and ridiculous if I began to describe things that I love about her that are the actual opposite of who she is.  If I would tell her that one of the things I love about her is her dark straight hair, she would probably wonder what woman I was really describing because she is a natural curly headed blonde!  Or, what if I described the color of her eyes wrong, or had no actual idea what her favorite book/movie/date etc are?  Each wildly incorrect statement would be a dagger to her heart because it would tell her that I haven't really taken the time to actually know her and love her for her.

How can we love God, and love others, if we do not know what is true about them? Or, if we deny that which is true about them and only love them in the way WE want them to be?   The heart of sin starts in the garden with, "Did God REALLY say that?"  And from there we begin to craft God after our own image, instead of being shaped into His. 

So what about the greatest commandment?  It says its all about Love, right?  Well, yes and no.  Yes, because Loving God is at the heart of repentance and redemption.  No, because we do what I just described, love on our own terms, not His.  Which is no real love at all.

To understand this passage when it comes to loving our neighbors we cannot miss an important point.  The second command is LIKE the first.  Not the same as.  Not a perfect copy.  But like.  The way it is constructed is that it indicates that loving your neighbor is an outflow of the first commandment.  When you fulfill the first, you will be able to fulfill the second.  Conversely, if you do not fulfill the first, you cannot fulfill the second.

The first commandment is very important to grasp in its entirety as well.  It says to love the Lord your God with all of your Heart, Mind and Strength.  But what we miss in the English is the Greek verb usage in this passage.  The primary outflow of love is FROM our Heart.  The mechanism's by which we love in our heart is our Mind, AND we are to do so with great vigor(strength).  Meaning, to love God with all of our heart REQUIRES the work of the mind.  And to do so with commitment and dedication. 

This means that to fulfill the second command we must first love God out of an outflow of thinking truthfully and rightly about Him as a discipline of the use of our intellect.   How can we love truthfully when we desire to create our own truth and characteristics about Him and even deny those truths that He Himself has stated about Himself?

We cannot.

You do not have to agree with any position that the Bible gives.  But do not deny what the Bible says and say you are loving God.  They are intellectually diametrically opposed.  How can you say to your spouse, "I love you, as long as you are the opposite of what you really are?"

This is why, as troubling as it can be currently, the debates about Theology are essential.  To know and defend the truth about God is at the heart of Loving God, and therefore, Loving others.  Perhaps you disagree on some point or another, and that is ok.  Let's go to the Word and figure it out.  Because being right about Truth is of the utmost importance.  For both of us.  But let us have no more of this criticism of peoples criticism.  it is right and good to correct that which is incorrect FOR the sake of Love.




 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Nakedness and Shame at the YMCA

 
As a warning....this is not a typical post about theology.  It is my humorous take on my lifetime of experiences in the lockers rooms of the YMCA. 

The YMCA has been a prominent part of my life.  Some of my earliest memories are swim lessons as a toddler and camp as a pre-schooler.  As an adult I have continued these traditions with my own family.  For those who have never experienced the "Y" culture, especially the culture of the locker room, this could be a very eye opening post.  Or, in reality, "Please please please burn out my eyes and gouge them with a melon baller!!!!!"  And, if you have ever attended a YMCA, you will know exactly what I am talking about.

Here is my list of the stages of development as related to shame and nakedness at the YMCA:

Ages 0-2: 

Fun and cute in the pool!
 
What Happens:   At this stage you have no memories.  But from observation and personal practice, you go into whatever locker room that the parent who brought you goes into.  You will run around without shame and cause a great deal of frustration for the parent trying to dress/undress you.

What it Reveals:  You have no shame or concern

Ages 3-4:
Please please please do not say that word out loud!!


What Happens:  If you go into the locker room with your same gendered parent, nothing really.  If you go into the locker room with your opposite gendered parent it is a much different experience.  They will hustle you to a corner or a row of lockers where as few people as possible are.  They make a number of statements like, "Look over there for a second, stop staring, don't move until we are ready to go" 

What it Reveals:  It's rude to look at other people naked, unless its your family.  And if it is your family, DO NOT make loud comments about how they look while in the locker room.....

Ages 5-8:
Life is completely confusing, but at least mom and dad are super cool


What Happens:  You have now learned about stranger danger and "private parts".  Not sure how to negotiate this world completely you just try to get dressed quickly and get out.

What it Reveals:  You have NO idea how to feel.

Ages 9-12:
I am my own person, I've got a California scooter, I came here by MYSELF!


What Happens:  Dear God, did I forget that I am wearing my cartoon themed underwear today?!?!?!?!  Worries about laughter and ridicule drive every decision about the locker room experience.  But this does not stop you from spending enough time in the locker room to cause your parent to come in to yell at you to hurry up.

What it Reveals: Peer evaluation of how we appear in the "raw" begins to shape your personal perspective about yourself.  To this day I remember making fun of someone for having batman underwear, while secretly praying that no one noticed my superman underwear....True story
 
Ages 13-18:

I can totally go home anytime I want to, I am my own person, man!
 
What Happens:  I'm confident.  Well, not as confident as that weirdo who clearly enjoys walking around completely nude...mainly for the purpose of making the other people uncomfortable.  That person wears their nakedness like a weapon.  They are usually a Senior and their "targets" are generally freshmen.  While we may now feel more "comfortable" it is still a bit of an act.  We carry a strategically placed towel around and shower with our backs to the rest of the room.

What it Reveals:  Still not too sure about this whole body image thing.  Comparison is huge which leads to a life long obsession with body shame....

Ages 19-22:
My first semester has been hard.  At least I can go to the Y on break....


What Happens:  Who cares?  I go to college!!  Communal showering has changed my perspectives.  But I mostly hang out in the locker room to unabashedly flex my muscles in the mirror prior/post work out.  Also, when no one is looking I suck in my gut and stand sideways to look at the mirror.  Man, I need to cut back on the pizza when I get back to campus....

What it Reveals:  I am too obsessed with how I look and way to confident in my appearance. 

Ages 22-30:


Got my first head shot for that amazing career opportunity they gave me when I graduated.  Totally not a pyramid scheme.........
 
What Happens:  Gotta get in and out fast.  New career, new kids, new home.  I know I need to exercise, but I just don't have time to really think about what I am doing in here...

What it Reveals:  Too busy with life to really get hung up on much at all.  There is plenty of time to feel bad about yourself at work or home....

Ages 30-45:

Life makes sense to me.  I go to the Y to relax.
 
What Happens:  Finally, the locker room is not a place for apprehension.  Dressing and undressing is just something we adults do as we prepare for activities.

What it Reveals:  This is the sweet spot.  Finding our stride in life, last decade or so of optimal health.  Married long enough to not overly worry about what we look like. 
 
Ages 45-60:

At 50 my best friends are; 1)That one girl from high school who I still talk to, and, 2) The other ladies at work.....can't wait to retire.....

What Happens:  Where did I put my towel?  I know it was just over here....Let me wander around until I find it...Oh, there's Jerry from accounting...gotta ask him a question fast

What it reveals:  We wouldn't walk around naked outside, but here, in our domain, the locker room, who cares.
 
Ages 60-65:

So how many more times do I have to let my doctor check that before I die......

What Happens:  Naked toe touches in the sauna(true story).  20-30 minutes spent completely nude and no one knows if you are just getting there to work out, or, just about to go home....Wasn't this person in here a few hours ago???

What it Reveals:  Clothes are a restriction to being comfortable.  Our spouses and "society" don't let us really be free.  But here in the locker room I can finally relax. 

Ages 65 and Up:

This is an image a of a typical "old" person at your local Y.....


What Happens:  More naked toe touches.  Hogging the only hair dryer to completely dry your naked body while staring at yourself in a mirror......Walking over, naked, to speak to small children who had been dragged in by well meaning parents....Standing as close to the door into and out of the locker room.....Sitting completely naked, without a towel as a cushion, on the seat someone else was just about to use.---ALL of these happen on a regular basis and in a given week I observe each of them occur

What it Reveals:  I'm naked?  No idea!!