I’ve done a ton of therapy.
I’ve read the books. Done the programs. Bought the CDs.
And I’ve prayed. Oh how I’ve prayed.
But here’s the thing: I’m still fat.
Can I tell you how humbling it is to have your weakness – your sin – on the outside for all the world to see? Even before I open my mouth, share my heart, or find out one little fact about you, I have to overcome the fact that you know I’m not in control. That I’m a failure in this really huge part of my life.
If I could change anything about me, this would be it. I feel like it has “clicked” for so many others, but has never clicked for me.
Some of you may be thinking, “Well if she weren’t so lazy, she wouldn’t be fat.” or “If she could just show some self control, she wouldn’t be that way.” I used to think that as well. But here is the thing that all that godly therapy and the love of an amazing husband has shown me: I’m not lazy. (I work really, really hard in a lot of areas of my life.) I do have self-control (in many areas of my life). But this one area? I haven’t got figured out.
I’m not writing this so that you will be sympathetic. The good news is that the people who love me are going to continue loving me whether I can shop in the regular store or have to shop in the plus-sized department. The reason I’m sharing this is because there is so much shame around this for me, and if there is for me, I’m sure that my other friends who struggle with their weight (or other areas of their life,) feel that shame as well. And I’m telling you that I think it’s OK to believe with my whole heart that as I keep trying to become healthier and stronger, God loves me in my brokeness and weakness. That shame that we feel that we have to “lead with” in life so we can say to the world: “Don’t tell me I’m not OK – I already know it – I’m totally shamed so you don’t have to shame me – I’ve already done it for myself” is not what God wants for us. God wants us to live free. Not just skinny and free. Free.
I’m also not writing this as an excuse for being this way. I’m trying to figure this out because I love God and my family and want to be around for a long time. I know this will make some people angry, that I’m not going to shame myself here, but I’m OK with that. My weight is between me and God. For some reason, fat people make a lot of other people angry. That’s about them – not the overweight person they are shaming.
I’m going to choose to believe Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
I don’t know why I overeat. Oh I know the standard answer: I have a hole in my heart that only God can fill, but I’m filling it with food. But here’s the thing: That is shaming, and I don’t think shaming people gets them to change. (At least it’s never worked in my life.) In the past ten years I have been fifty pounds heavier than I am now, and I’ve also been fifty pounds lighter. My weight didn’t correspond to my prayer life or my bible reading. I don’t have the answer, but I’m not going to give up trying to figure it out.
This is the thorn in my flesh. This is the most humbling thing in my life. This situation right here? This is the thing that I pray about and struggle about and talk to God about. In some ways, this has been the thing in my life that has made me run to God and fall on my face like nothing else ever has.
So here’s what I’m going to do: keep talking to God and trying to figure why I am the way that I am. I’m going to keep trying to believe that God loves me the same way that my husband does: He loves me just as I am. AND He wants His best for me. There is no “but” between those two statements. It is possible to be overweight and totally adoringly loved by God.
Am I alone in this? If you struggle with your weight, do you know that God loves you exactly as you are this very moment? Do you know He is not waiting for you to be “normal” before He will love you? I want you to know you are adored. You are cherished. You are a delight to Him who loves you more than you will ever understand or know.
I have to work on this every single day of my life – this knowledge that God loves me just like this. I pray that it becomes a reality for you and for me.
She and her husband Roger are the parents of four young adults in San Jose, CA. When she’s not dating her husband or hanging out with her puggle Jake, Kathi is speaking at retreats, conferences and women’s events across the US.