I’m fat…. & lovable.

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I’ve always been fat.

At a very early age, I was told that I was disgusting and a pig. The person who spoke these words over me, was supposed to be the one person that shouldn’t have said them. I can still hear her voice in my head, daily.

The kids at school, when they were feeling especially mean, would taunt me with the nickname “Miss Piggy”. As I got older, classmates stopped making verbal remarks, but I always wondered if they were silently judging me. I couldn’t fit into the LIMITED jeans that were wildly popular like the other girls. Instead, I cloaked my body with wide leg skater jeans and baggy t-shirts. I dove headlong into the “punk” look thankful that it masked the outline of my body.

In high school, I started taking diuretics given to me by a friend. She educated me on different tips to lose weight and burn calories off of different anorexic sites she frequented. This season didn’t last long– I didn’t enjoy being on the toilet all the time and I was afraid my family would find out. I opted to just skip meals when I could.

Between then and now, I’ve tried everything. Calorie counting. Fad diets. Long hours at the gym. I’ve set goals. I’ve joined accountability groups. I’ve phoned a friend.

Each thing worked, momentarily. I’d lose some weight. Start feeling good about myself. People would start commenting on how good I looked. (Funny how I don’t hear the same compliments when I’m not losing weight.) But then something would happen, and I’d stall out/give up. 

No matter how many pounds came off, I still hated myself. My body. My face. The way my eyebrows stick out wildly. The thinness of my lips. The mole next to my left ear. The crookedness of my bottom teeth. The critique could go on, people, but I think you see my point.

I’m 30 years old, and refuse to have a full length mirror at my house. I crop every picture that includes anything below my chest. I labor over what filter to use on selfies, in an attempt to find that one that will hide the most imperfections. (The selfie song is right– Valencia IS the best!) I’ve become the girl who can’t leave the house, even to go hiking, without my make-up on. All in an attempt to feel lovable.

Because the real issue is the thought that because I am fat I am unworthy of love. That only those that can pull off a bikini or leg baring skirt can be loved. That a man, no matter how God-fearing, won’t love this package I am in. That I will be single until I lose the inches and the pounds.

BUT my worth, your worth is not based on your lack of muffin top. You are lovable because you are YOU. That’s it.

I’m aware that most, if not all, magazines are plastered with tall, skinny models. I don’t find any comfort in knowing that all of them have been photoshopped in some way. Thigh gaps put in later. Hips slimmed. Necks raised and thinned. The picture society paints as beautiful won’t change any time soon.

 

So, what do I do? What do we do?

Well, we keep speaking Truth to our hearts and to others. We cut off the internal dialogue when it starts pointing out our flaws. We speak words of life and beauty to our hearts, instead of words of disgust and disdain. It’s not an easy battle, but one I believe that is worth the fight because you are worth it.

You are lovely. All of you. Every roll, every pimple, every cellulite dimple. You add beauty to our world. Your laugh a unique song. Your smile a ray of light to a dark world. Your eyes sparkling with life. Your hands vehicles of love.

You. are. beautiful.

And you are worthy of love. Just the way you are. Just the size you are.

Take it from John Legend, you are perfectly imperfect.

Shame: God’s Favorite Tool

Oh, it’s not?

Then, why do we keep living (and acting) like it is?

I started attending church as a little golden haired cherubim. My perfect ringlets bouncing with each step into the stone encased architecture. My little hands folded on my lap while I sat on the worn, wooden pew. My eyes clenched shut during each prayer. And I was an angel each year in the Christmas program (even though I always wanted to be Mary).

I participated in sword drills in Sunday School. Sat through every awkward dating/sex talk in youth group. Attended a small, conservative Bible College and then later on a larger, more liberal college where I studied Greek and all things Bible. I feel like I’ve seen a lot. The good and the….not so good.

I’m not here to start finger pointing at my fellow Christian family members because that’s no more Christ-like than the topic I want to discuss. My heart has been softened recently in regards to the Church and I don’t wish to speak ill of it. With all conviction of heart though, I feel like something needs to be said in regards to shame.

Negativity, name calling, shaming (call it what you will) should NEVER be used to spur people on to growth.

I get it, some people are big on “calling out sin”. I call it like I see it. You see the flaw in that kind of thinking is that God speaks things that aren’t as if they were. (Rom. 4:17) You may see a sinner, but He sees a saint. Before you get up in arms, let me reassure you, I am not ok with sin. I just think the finger pointing, “calling out” business is the wrong way to deal with it.

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Let me give you a for instance here to drive the point home on a practical level. It’s real easy to pick on girls who dress “inappropriately”. Sure, no one needs to see cavernous cleavage or butt cheek curvature, but telling those girls they look like whores isn’t going to solve the problem. The more you speak something over a person, the more they are going to act like it, think like it and believe themselves to be it. There’s a deeper issue there than her need to expose her body for attention (or even just her preferred fashion choices). There’s a girl who should be built up and called up higher in love. A girl who should be told she’s treasured and worthy of love. A girl who should be told that she’s loved whether she looks like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman or looks like Laura Ingalls Wilder from Little House on the Prairie. It’s a worth issue. Bottom line, Jesus loves her booty out and all.

It’s not like I haven’t been the biggest culprit when it comes to this, friends. Let me assure you. I’ve done my fair share of shaming. I’d just rather be a woman who calls worth out of a person instead of clothing them with shame. I want to empower the sinner (ugh, even saying that sounds so religious) with words of freedom. I want to bring a refreshing word to a thirsty soul.