07 September 2009


One of my primary concerns hiking up Cascade Mountain in the Adirondacks this weekend was to figure out a way to have my picture taken so that I didn't look too fat

Yes. I admit it. I confess to you brothers and sisters, I’m incredibly vain, painfully so at times.

When I’m not snatching a second look at my waistline in a hallway mirror, a preoccupation of mine, I'm looking for food. – I see it. I eat it. I mourn. I eat again. It’s a worn out familiar cycle.

After a long ascent to the top of Cascade Mountain, looking out toward the breathtaking countryside surrounding Lake Placid, I was so happy it was cold. ‘Now I can put on a jacket,’ I told myself. Jackets cover offending waistlines! A person can look slim in the right jacket!

I ripped my red North Face rain-jacket out of my backpack. Whipped it on over my head. “Hey McCrory, can you take my picture,” I yelled to my hiking partner. Click! Picture taken. Mission accomplished.

On the flight home, just a few hours ago, I asked myself, where does this vanity come from? What am I trying to accomplish? – And, ultimately, when I trace it back, step-by-step, I’d have to admit that it's a lack of faith that drives my vanity. A lack of faith in the knowledge that God loves me. A lack of faith in the belief that our Father’s affirmation is all I ultimately need.

We are relational beings. We were not created to walk with God or experience life on earth alone. However, at times I still make the mistake and believe human admiration can somehow replace love that emanates from our God. It is disordered love in one of its saddest forms.

God loves you and me, despite what we look like, despite the crazy things we did in the past ... and, despite what other people might think about us.

He is an amazing Father who cares about you so much and longs for a relationship with you …

If you see me at the YMCA, I’ll just be trying to lose a few pounds, exercise is still a good thing. But, if you catch me standing in front of a mirror, kind of puffing out my chest and flexing my biceps, you have permission to slap me on the back of the head and remind me that God really does love me.


  1. I encountered this quote earlier today (Monday):

    "The person who seeks all their applause from outside has their happiness in another's keeping." - Dale Carnegie

    I might redefine this by saying that to the extent we seek the approval of others, we entrust our contentment to them. I don't think this is entirely a bad thing. Is it preferable for a person to not care what others think? What happens to a marriage if we do not desire the approval of spouse?

    Our humanity is defined by our capacity to give and receive love. A good deal of love is unconditional acceptance of a person. The line between acceptance and approval is so fine that we scarcely notice it.

    It is a shame that the standards with which we express approval of one another are so narrow. I hold myself to high standards. I teach them to my children. But they cannot be the basis of acceptance which expresses love and infringes upon the contentment of others.

    You've been extraordinarily candid here, Russell. I thank you for that, and for the thought-provoking piece this has been. I trust you don't mind me "thinking out loud" so much.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Hey Anne,

    Thank you for 'thinking out loud.' :-) Your thoughts on acceptance and approval seem to me to be on target.

    The older I get, the more significant the statement, 'God is Love' means to me. -- Love is God. -- It is where we see our Creator in our daily lives.

    The line from the song, "Looking for love in all the wrong places," comes to mind. After pride, that is where human problems usually begin. :-)


  4. Great post and comment. Was very helpful to me this morn.

  5. Jan,

    Blessings to you... :-)

  6. Russell,
    Funny, last year I did a 5 day gig on the AT and saw the photos...guess what....an old fat guy..me. I felt very similar to what you experienced.