I’ll never forget the first time I heard the word aimed at me. He spewed it out like vomit, his eyes filled with disgust. “Fat,” the boy accused me, and I believed it even though I wasn’t anywhere near “fat” back then.
I always was a strong girl, a tom-boy with a hearty appetite, a girl who loved sports and climbing trees and running races. My feminine side appeared on occasion, though, and like every other girl, I wanted to be pretty, to be liked. I never saw my body as much of a hindrance to those desires until that day, the day he called me fat in front of the whole lunch table.
I acted like I didn’t care about the word, but my eyes burned and so did my face.
I stuffed the word way deep down inside of my junior high self and tried so hard not to hear it anymore.
Not long after that, I remember surpassing my own mother’s weight on our bathroom scales and shame nearly smothered me. How could I, at thirteen years old, weigh more than my mom? It didn’t seem fair, somehow.
During my high school years, I finally resigned myself to the fact that I just wasn’t built to be tiny. I would never be a size 2-4-6 girl. My healthy hangout would be the 10-12-14 range. But my legs were built thick and strong for soccer, volleyball, softball, and basketball, so I called a sort of truce with myself. I ignored the word within me and began to find things I actually liked about my body.
I liked my blue eyes and long, dark hair. I liked my smile. I even began to like some of my curves. I liked my brain (it’s a good one!) and my athletic abilities.
So the word remained hidden for the most part, only whispering to the surface when my friends were all asked to attend banquet (missionary kid date night) and I sat at home by myself or when we tried on clothes at the second-hand shops in town. Nevertheless, by junior year, I was growing in the confidence that comes from Christ alone and the word bothered me less and less. I thought I had won the battle, defeated the Enemy.
When I met my husband a few years later, I never felt more beautiful. Even though I couldn’t call myself thin, I knew I was healthy, and I was alive in Christ. He was tall, dark, and handsome, and he loved the Lord and he loved me.
And then I conceived our firstborn not long after our summer wedding and I found myself alone in our country home. My parents and siblings had returned to the mission field and my husband kept busy with classes and work and ministry. I grew depressed.
I used my pregnancy as justification for eating anything and everything I wanted. Instead of filling myself with Christ, I filled myself with food. I had already gained about 20 lbs. before our wedding because like any girl in love, I spent all of my free time with my soon-to-be husband, not realizing I was failing to take care of my body. By the time our sweet son was born, I had gained about 80-100 lbs. (give or take) in a little more than a year. I can’t really be certain because at some point, I quit weighing myself.
I just gave up.
Then, one year our church offered a First Place for Christ class, focusing on putting Christ first in all areas but especially in the areas of nutrition and wellness. It was just what I needed. The idea that my body had been purchased at a price convicted me. I knew I needed to quit filling my God-sized hole with food.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit,
who is in you,whom you have received from God?
You are not your own; you were bought at a price.
Therefore honor God with your bodies.
Since then, I’ve jumped on the bandwagon of healthy eating and exercise and fallen right off again. And back on, and then off, and back on, and so forth. Healthy living will probably be a lifelong struggle for me, my personal thorn in the flesh. :)
In the meantime, I’ve birthed three more children, including a set of twins, my body changing with each pregnancy. My weight and health are still a work-in-progress, and I’m okay with that.
The word still haunts me on occasion, it does. It sneaks up on me when I walk at the gym or play soccer with my kids. Occasionally, I hear it faintly in my ear when I look in the mirror, tempting me to give up, quit fighting, resign myself to the word.
But I recognize the Enemy for who he is and even more, I know the power of Christ within me. I know the Father promises to never give up on me, but to complete the work He started (Phil. 1:6). I know that man considers the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. I trust in my new creation status. I believe His Word when He calls me “fearfully and wonderfully made.” He says the same thing about you, too, my sisters in Christ!
We are not the sum of our insecurities, for we were created for more than this!
We’ve talked before about how insecurities keep us fearful, and that’s just how the Enemy wants us to feel – alone, afraid, unworthy. My sisters, our God is greater than he who is in the world. He is greater than our deepest shame and insecurities. Our God loves us, pursues us, redeems us, and calls us His beloved.
We are daughters of the One True King, and the value He has placed on our lives is the blood, the life force, of His one and only Son.
Let us then live as children of the Light!
Also sharing this post with: Cornerstone Confessions
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Graphic by Kerry Messer
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This Week’s Topic: “Greatest Insecurity” (We are going vulnerable here, asking you to share your greatest insecurity. How do you recognize it when it creeps up? What does insecurity sound like to you? What do you do to silence it? Any scriptures that help you fight it?)
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