June 20, 2012

Discussing "Weighty" Matters

Photo Credit: A Shared Lens


Lately, I am purposing to find the balance between being open and exposing what grace has covered. Sometimes, it is just a matter of seeing the truth free from ambiguity. I'm not sure I have ever been this open with this part of my life so here goes.
Yesterday I discussed physical differences and how our actions teach our children. As I pondered the discussion, I thought about how my own journey with weight loss has always made me feel as if I have a unique view on what it means to diet, exercise and lose weight. It is so easy to feel as if no one really "gets it". They seem to have all the answers to the hows and whys and the "if you would just do..." as if I have never tried. Can I just tell you? I am almost 50 and there are very few "plans" that I haven't put my body through. To top it off, there isn't anything that has been held back by both well meaning and cruel individuals about my size. There are things very few people know about me on this topic.
Countless moments of my life were depleted by the belief that my worth was tied to the number on the scale or the size of my clothes. I have spent a total Six months as an inpatient in an eating disorders clinic for the treatment of depression (and of course issues with food). If you think "will power" is the issue, I have gone weeks at a time without eating solid food. I have existed on liquid protein out of a bottle, protein pellets as a snack and just the few tiny bites allowed until my metabolism slowed to what feels like a complete stop. Food has been my friend, my enemy, my nemesis, my comfort, my art form.
Don't get me wrong, I am aware that besides being the lucky recipient of two separate medical issues that cause weight gain, there are still emotional hurdles to conquer. My relationship with food still needs reshaping. Finding the energy to actually get out for walks and bike rides has been a challenge.
You know what I think people find strange and shocking? When I do lose weight, I absolutely abhor anyone noticing. I cringe if someone mentions it. I feel like an anomaly. I smile politely, say thank you and try to change the subject. Well meaning lovely people who themselves value being thin just want to be encouraging. In no way do I fault them. We have been taught to praise what we value. They want to say "You look great!" but all I hear is "Congratulations! You have finally become valuable!" My mind skips The Princess Bride and  I hear Inigo Montoya say: "You know, Fezzik, you finally did something right!" and Fezzik replies: "Don't worry, I won't let it go to my head." but it does. Not in the way you might think. Not in the motivational way. It lands in the "Why is my worth linked with the world's view of success and failure?" It takes up residence as that gnawing voice that eats away at my resolve to focus on things above, not earthly things. I have a set of "after" photos where I am sporting a tight, fetching red outfit. Mom, being the wise woman, commented on it couple of years later. She pointed out that there was no joy in my eyes. She was right, I had achieved a physical goal but was emotionally shattered, self focused and lost in so many ways. I was however, pleasing to the world.
Which brings me back to the original point, why does all of this really matter? Why do so many compliments and conversations hinge on what we look like or what we do? Why does what we look like get held in such high esteem over how we treat eachother? How did we become shallow? I have never read in Scripture where God values physical beauty the way we do. He even asks the question Matthew 6:27 "Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?" (Yesterday I talked about people making comments about height) However, He constantly tells us to love Him with all of our "heart, soul, mind and strength" and our "neighbor as ourselves". He calls us to trust Him and that trusting Him pleases Him. We are also told Romans 8:1-2 "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death."
In the past few years I have been more settled in who I am because I am starting to grasp how my God sees me. He has reset my focus. 
He sees me as His daughter, covered in His grace.
My value is in who He is making me, not what I am doing.
In order to please God, I must trust Him.
He is settling in my heart how He sees me.
He is showing me how He sees you and what is truly worth noticing.
I am "fearfully and wonderfully made" and so are you.



Always,

Hope


2 comments:

Sara Raynor said...

I appreciate you sharing about this. You are not the only one, for sure. I have struggled with self-image since my teens. While in ballet and skinnier than I ever should have been, I was not happy with my weight. Also after years of medications that make me gain weight, trying different diets and not achieving promised results I eventually became convinced it was not for lack of trying. I also notice a difference of how people interact with me when I am overweight and when I am not. I also fear that if I ever got to my "goal weight" that I would still not be happy with my self-image. Lately I have tried to focus more on maintaining my health and that has helped switch my focus and purpose in the way I eat and exercise.

thefaeryinn said...

How timely this turned out to be for me today.