As I pondered writing this post, I couldn't think of any other title. Because really, how many ways could you nicely title a story about the time that you were told you looked like you gained weight? Kinda limited on your options for sweet sounding story titles, you know?
I consider myself fairly healthy. Yes, I try and eat right, exercise regularly, and absolutely believe that health is a gift to be treasured. I also believe it means balance which of course translates into moments of yes-I-sometimes-think-chips-look-prettier-than-an-apple." And chocolate? I'm a woman, 'nuff said.
This past weekend I was pulled aside by an individual at a party to be told that though I may not want to hear it, it looked like I had put on some weight. The worst part was the chuckle that followed the comment.
And BOOM. Just like that, someone just got bumped off my Christmas card list.
If I wrote cards. Anyway...
After playing it off and trying to graciously explained that weight-lifting causes some extra bulk, I walked away and continued to mingle with other folks at the party. But oh, man, that mortified feeling never quite left me that evening.
Looking back on that I realize that what bugged me even more wasn't really just what I was told, but the fact that I was so bothered by it and couldn't pull a Taylor Swift and just shake it off. Insecurity reared it's ugly head and was staring at me in the face with it's taunting grin - no matter how hard I tried to strain and look away. I even went home and spent time examining my legs for any trace of cellulite. #pleasedontjudgeme
That simple statement of "I looked fat" suddenly had more power and hold over me than the more powerful truths of what God has said about me over and over and over again. That I am made in His image. That I am entirely loved. That I don't have to be a certain way to be accepted or validated. That He actually delights in me and sees me way beyond my physical attributes.
"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." - Psalm 139:14
Suddenly all that confidence I thought I had, all the truths I knew in my heart and mind momentarily went down the drain as a result of the rudeness of another individual. Yep, it was kinda sad.
And if I felt that bad over that one time comment, I can't imagine what it must be like for women who hear this kind of talk on a daily basis. About their weight, their hair, their skin, what they do, or don't do, how smart or not smart someone thinks they are, what education they need...basically, here is where your deficit is loser! Now go fix it.
Needless to say, the struggle of surviving through hurtful and abusive words is real for many women.
What I reminded from this experience isn't necessarily that I should just try not to think about it. Because truth be told, I just don't have that willpower.
No, it's way more than that. I am reminded that I can actually forgive the rude words of someone else because I am greatly forgiven by a perfect God for the times I have used my words to hurt, whether intentionally or unintentionally and even forgiven for a lot worse that I have done. I am also reminded that my security about how I see myself needs to be rooted in Christ and no one else because He is the only one whose opinion and love for me doesn't change based on my outward appearance, what I do or don't do, whether I feel awesome or not. And while that kind of love and acceptance sounds crazy and nonsensical, it's also crazy fantastic as well.
So yeah, dearly beloved woman who might be reading this: I don't know you and you don't know me. And I know you're reflex is probably to kick the person who so lovingly said something awful to you (I had to restrain my foot as well, believe me). But I hope somehow you'd know that there is One who loves you entirely and regards you as way more than your outer appearance. Take care of your health yes, but also know that He's crazy about you and His acceptance of you isn't swayed by what is seen by the human eyes.