Weight: 253.8 lb.
On Friday night, I went to the Ladies Meeting at the new church my husband and I have been visiting recently, Lighthouse Church. All 3 of my younger sisters and my 7 week old nephew came with me, and we had a great time. The meeting was good, filled with testimonies from a few ladies that centered around a cultural “lie” they had been believing and the “truth” they used to combat this lie. As was pointed out in the meeting, it is crucial to understand what you are truly believing, about yourself, about the world around you and, most importantly, about God, because what you believe shapes the way you interact with the world and everyone around you, shapes the way you live your life. Most people will never need to publicly admit it, but many of us believe lies all the time, every day, just in our own silly little brains. One woman’s testimony and the truth she shared has really resonated with me throughout the weekend as I thought about this struggle to persevere and lose weight. Her lie was Beauty lies on the outside.
Her testimony was about being so fixed on her outward beauty that she developed an eating disorder. She shared intimate details of her struggle and my sisters and I were shocked and provoked by her transparency- we wouldn’t have wanted to say those things in front of any group! Several of her points were extremely relevant:
- There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look good, but it IS wrong to obsess about it and glorify it
- When you put all of your focus on YOU, to make yourself feel good, and not on God, you’re going to end up unhappy
- God doesn’t use us to accomplish his purposes because of how we look- because of our hair style or clothes or accessories or the number on the scale- but because of our heart
- It’s about valuing your walk with God, and your inner beauty, your heart, over your outer beauty
Wow! Those thoughts were so provoking to me! When you’re heavy, as I’ve been for several (ok, many) years, you notice that people can treat you differently because of how you look. When I was younger, I used to tell my sisters to make sure to wear comfortable clothing when they traveled, but also to spend the time doing their hair and make-up, because people are nicer to you when you look good. I had traveled alone on several trips since the age of 9, and I knew this to be true, and I still stand by this today. And if people are nicer to you when you look nice, imagine that in reverse. That is the life of a heavy person.
To compensate for this, I would make sure that my hair was presentable and I at least had mascara on before I walked out the door, even to the gym (I might run into a student there!) I very clearly remember the first time I was rejected by a guy because of my weight. I remember a lot more instances of that than I’d care to. I know other girls who are also struggling to lose weight- I know many of them believe, at least in some part, that they can’t have a relationship because of their weight. No one will want them. They just aren’t worthy. Imagine the way that starts shaping your thinking and your life, because the way we live our life is directly related to what we are believing.
The concept that I could be used for something valuable, something important, and that I would be used for said thing regardless of my weight, that is a mind-blowing concept for someone who has struggled with it for so long. I’ve heard that beauty is on the inside and that it’s your heart that matters, but for some reason, the story of this girl who had driven herself to rehab with an eating disorder resounded in my mind the way no cliche ever had. Yes, I want to be healthy. Yes, I want to lose some weight. But I don’t need to do it to be beautiful. I already am.