Sunday, July 26, 2015

Am I Skinny Enough For You?

(Beware: Complete transparency and insecurities addressed below)

Last week at my girls' swim lessons, I was approached by another mom who gave me a sample pack from a company that specializes in weight loss. She didn't say anything or explain why she was giving it to me; she simply told me to call her with any questions. Not realizing what just happened or how to react, I just smiled and said, "Thank you." It wasn't until after the lessons were done that I had a chance to process what just went down and couldn't help but wonder..

 Had this stranger just looked at me and decided that I needed to lose weight?

Something about me is that I am not exactly proud when it comes to my physical appearance- never have been. I like to think that I've gone through life being strong and confident in a lot of things, but truth be told, I still have vulnerabilities and insecurities just like everyone else. I may not think I'm downright repulsive, but I do have this perception of myself and what I should look like, and let me tell you what, it is NOT matching up to the image I see in the mirror.  So when someone I don't even know basically implies I have "room to shrink," its pretty hard to keep my head held high.

I wish at this point I could say that I held my ground...  that I scoffed at the nonsense and let it roll off my shoulder... but I didn't. In fact, I stared at that packet for almost an hour, locked in my room, crying my eyes out. It didn't matter what sweet and encouraging words my husband was telling me on the phone or what I knew in my spirit was truth, I had hit a new low and was basking in the self-pity. The thing is, I had never really dealt with someone else basically reaffirming my own physical insecurities, let alone a stranger!!! Sure, I had people make comments about the size of my bum when I was younger, but back then I must have not realized how mean they were or I didn't care. Either way, for the first time in my life, I felt ashamed of how I looked... and this comes after going through four pregnancies. Yeah, it was pretty bad y'all.

So why am I telling you this sob story? Because chances are, you've been there. Maybe you are there. You know what it feels like to be judged in one way or another. That pain that is so deep and so personal that it begins to cripple you from the inside out. No matter how hard you try to put it in the back of your mind, every once in awhile you are clearly reminded of how you don't measure up to the standard of someone else.  You're not skinny enough... You're not smart enough... You're not rich enough... You're not creative enough... You're not... You're not... You're not...

I don't know about you, but I'm tired of listening to those lies. I'm tired of feeling as though I'm not good enough to walk around with a smile on my face and be proud of who I am. I'm tired of doubting. I'm tired of ME. Because truth be told, no matter what anyone else has said, it is ME who has believed those lies. I gave in.

What is so ridiculous is that there is absolutely no way anyone who could EVER convince me that there is no God. Ain't gonna happen folks; truth is truth. Oh, but if someone tells me that I'm not wonderfully made but instead that I need to lose a few pounds, they are instantly in my "circle of trust?!" What is WRONG with that picture y'all?! Well I'll tell you what's wrong, I let the opinion of a complete stranger matter more than the truth of the founder of perfection... the One who created me in His image... the One who "saw all that he had made, and it was very good" (Genesis 1:31)... the One who says that I am "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14). I put my identity into the wrong hands and the Word is pretty clear:

"Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself"- Proverbs 26:4

I may not have responded with words, but I responded in a way that ultimately made me no less of a fool than the lady who handed me a weight loss pamphlet. I knew truth, yet I chose to ignore it and it only caused me pain.

But you know what the great part is? There is a Redeemer. There is a Comforter when it felt as though I had no joy left inside of me. The Lord "heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds" (Psalm 147:3). He poured out His love and mercy over me and gently reminded me that..

"In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence"- Proverbs 14:26

"For the LORD will be your confidence"- Proverbs 3:26

"Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you."- Deuteronomy 31:6

... my dignity is not for the taking, as long as I willing give it to Him. He formed me. Only He determines my identity. He is my confidence.

Friend, my hope is not to get your sympathy, but rather to encourage you with my story; to remind you that you are beautiful. You are God's creation, I hope you don't take that lightly. I'm not saying that you won't encounter hard days, but there is such hope and joy in knowing that as long as you put your identity in the hands of God rather than in the hands of man, your confidence in and through Him will stand.