Ok friends…It’s time to get personal for a little bit. This could get painful (probably for me more than you) but I promise it will be ok in the end.
While changing what I’ve been eating and adding exercise to my daily routine have been essential to my journey of getting and being healthy there’s a third componant to it that I think I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about. That’s my view of myself. Who I thought I was and how valuable I thought I was.
As you can imagine this is not an easy topic to talk about. *Ok…deep breaths…you can do this…*
Before this whole journey started (and really for most of my teenage/young adult life) I had a really messed up view of myself. I placed most (and by most I really mean all) my value and worth in what other people thought of me. So I did everything I could to make them like me because that is what I thought was most important. Whether it was to say the right thing, act the right way, be funny, be friendly, wear the cool clothes, do things for them…the list goes on and on. My reasons for doing this was not to be a good person or to love the other person or to serve them out of the Love of my heavenly Father but it was to try and make up for the inadequacy and failure that I felt in myself. I hated the fact that I was so overweight and I didn’t love myself AT ALL the way I was. When I looked at my body in the mirror all I saw was failure and unloveableness. Because of this I couldn’t believe that anyone else (including my heavenly Father) could love and accept me for who I really was. So I worked and I did. I worked really hard trying to gain people’s approval and I did things to hopefully make people like/love me more. In hopes that they wouldn’t look at me and see a overweight and insecure girl but that they would see a funny girl who does things for them so they should keep me around because of that.
Reading that makes my stomach turn. It’s so messed up. I am a broken girl. A girl who couldn’t find any value in herself. And spent 29 years like that.
So back in January I started working out and eating right and I lost weight and now I love myself. The end!
HA! Oh how I wish it was that easy. I think this is going to continue to be a life long struggle for me. As I think it is for a lot of girls and women. It’s so hard for us to not wrap up our self-worth in what others think of us and how we look. I know…I did.
Let’s go back to August of this year. I was struggling. The first three quarters of 2012 had proven to be super stressful. Yet in all of that the Lord was gracious and gave me the strength and tenacity to pursue this healthy journey. And I had been successful up to that point. But August came and I struggled.
I got to 91 pounds lost and I plateaued…bad…for like 3 weeks…I didn’t lose a pound. And Oh. My. Word. was I a grump about it. I didn’t stop my routines. I kept eating right and working out but I was wrestling with God and with my body. I was mad. “You mean to tell me I’m going to be 9 pounds away from 100 and then stop?” Not cool. All of a sudden those 91 pounds I had loss were completely insignificant.
But there was a bigger struggle going on during that 3 week plateau…there was struggle going on in my heart. I was wrestling with a change that I felt in my body but also one I felt in my heart. I looked at myself in the mirror and for the first time in my life I liked what I saw. I was proud of myself. I felt different. I felt good! But I couldn’t figure out how this affected my relationship with God. I thought differently about myself now. I was valuing myself. So did the Lord think differently about me too? Was I now more valuable to him. Was I more loved by him? Did I finally achieve true acceptance of my Heavenly Father and of others because I was not longer super overweight?
The answers to those questions is a BIG OL’ NO!
Through the help of a fellow blogger, a book I highly recommend, my mentor and friends I was reminded that even though I had changed. My heavenly Father had not. He loved me; His creation JUST AS MUCH as He did before I lost the weight has he does now. And that Love will continue and will never change.
What I came to realize was that I never didn’t have His love (sorry…double negative). I am created in His image. As a creation of Him I am loved and valued because I was made exactly how he intended. I was never (no matter how much I weighed) not how he intended me to be. And I am now still created exactly how he meant me to be. I’m just a healthier version of that creation.
Does that make sense? I had to learn to love his creation. In whatever form it took. I couldn’t fully grasp His love for me until I realized that it was not contingent on my appearance or health or self worth. It also was not mine to work for either. His love for me is because I am His child. His creation. Made in His image. And no matter if I lose more weight or gain it back…that is never going to change.
So I don’t have to try or do anymore. Oh what freedom! I am fully and wholly loved and accepted. So I can serve out of that love and not out of duty or guilt or “trying”.
I think in our day and age this is such a hard thing. We struggle with the monster of comparison. Looking at what everyone else has and seeing what we don’t…so therefore we are not as good or valuable because of that. But here’s the thing…We are all unique creations made by a loving God. We’re not meant to all be the same. So we can’t compare ourselves. It would be like comparing apples to carrots and saying one is better than the other. They are both unique and different and serve different purposes. You can’t compare the two. Oh, the fashion, beauty, media and tv industry want you to. They want you to look at their model, their product, their solution and compare your life to what they are selling. If you do that you are always going to come up short. And that monster of comparison is going to creep in to your heart and tell you “you don’t have x y or z. You must work at it. Try harder. Do more. You are not valued unless you have it.” And that my friend is a big fat lie from satan himself. Oh how I want girls to understand this. I want them to see their value and worth as a beautiful, unique creation of God. And to love that creation. And to take care of it.
So much of me would just like to take that first part of my story and stuff it deep down inside and pretend that it never happened. But that wouldn’t be right…it would be denying that part of my story existed. Because if I didn’t have that part of my journey…i wouldn’t be here. I believe in a sovereign creator. One that does not waste any experience but uses every thing to draw us to Himself and teach us about His character and His purpose for our lives. A lot of times those experiences can be really painful. But it’s when He brings us out of that refining fire that we see Him more fully. Sometimes that fire lasts a really long time. And we may come out of it with scars. But that’s all part of who He’s made you to be. The beauty and uniqueness of His creation in you.
You are loved. You are beautiful. You are valuable. God has created a unique creation in you. Cherish that. Love that. Celebrate that.
And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. (Genesis 1:31 ESV)