My Fat Girl Insecurities

I’ll never forget the first time I heard the word aimed at me.

He spewed it out like vomit, his eyes filled with disgust. “Fat,”  the boy accused me, and I believed it even though I wasn’t anywhere near “fat” back then.

I always was a strong girl, a tom-boy with a hearty appetite, a girl who loved sports and climbing trees and running races.

My feminine side appeared on occasion, though, and like every other girl, I wanted to be pretty, to be liked.  I never saw my body as much of a hindrance to those desires until that day, the day he called me fat in front of the whole lunch table.

I acted like I didn’t care about the word, but my eyes burned and so did my face.

I stuffed the word way deep down inside of my junior high self and tried so hard not to hear it anymore.

Not long after that, I remember surpassing my own mother’s weight on our bathroom scales and shame nearly smothered me.  How could I, at thirteen years old, weigh more than my mom?  It didn’t seem fair, somehow.

For much of my life, I struggled with my fat girl insecurities. I learned early on that I would never be the skinny girl.  But I'm learning that I'm not the sum of my insecurities, that my worth comes from Christ alone!

 

During my high school years, I finally resigned myself to the fact that I just wasn’t built to be tiny.

I would never be a size 2-4-6 girl.  My healthy hangout would be the 10-12-14 range.

But my legs were built thick and strong for soccer, volleyball, softball, and basketball, so I called a sort of truce with myself.  I ignored the word within me and began to find things I actually liked about my body.

I liked my blue eyes and  long, dark hair.  I liked my smile. I even began to like some of my curves.  I liked my brain (it’s a good one!) and my athletic abilities.

So the word remained hidden for the most part, only whispering to the surface when my friends were all asked to attend banquet (missionary kid date night) and I sat at home by myself or when we tried on clothes at the second-hand shops in town, shops filled with clothes from China and other countries where my size seemed non-existent.

Nevertheless, by junior year, I was growing in the confidence that comes from Christ alone and the word bothered me less and less. I thought I had won the battle, defeated the Enemy.

When I met my husband a few years later, I never felt more beautiful.  Even though I couldn’t call myself thin, I knew I was healthy, and I was alive in Christ.  He was tall, dark, and handsome, and he loved the Lord and he loved me.

And then I conceived our firstborn not long after our summer wedding and I found myself alone in our country home. My parents and siblings had returned to the mission field, and my husband kept busy with classes and work and ministry.

I grew depressed.

I used my pregnancy as justification for eating anything and everything I wanted.  

Instead of filling myself with Christ, I filled myself with food.

I had already gained about 20 lbs. before our wedding because like any girl in love, I spent all of my free time with my soon-to-be husband, not realizing I was failing to take care of my body.  By the time our sweet son was born, I had gained about 80-100 lbs. (give or take) in a little more than a year.

I can’t really be certain because at some point, I quit weighing myself.

I just gave up.

For much of my life, I struggled with my fat girl insecurities. I learned early on that I would never be the skinny girl.  But I'm learning that I'm not the sum of my insecurities, that my worth comes from Christ alone!

Then, one year our church offered a First Place for Christ class, focusing on putting Christ first in all areas but especially in the areas of nutrition and wellness.  It was just what I needed.

The idea that my body had been purchased at a price convicted me.

I knew I needed to quit filling my God-sized hole with food.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit,

who is in you,whom you have received from God?

You are not your own; you were bought at a price.

Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Since then, I’ve jumped on the bandwagon of healthy eating and exercise… and fallen right off again. And back on, and then off, and back on, and so forth.  Healthy living will probably be a lifelong struggle for me, my personal thorn in the flesh. It’s been a lesson in perservering, overcoming obstacles. :)

In the meantime, I’ve birthed three more children, including a set of twins, my body changing with each pregnancy.  My weight and health are still a work-in-progress, and I’m okay with that.

The word still haunts me on occasion, it does.  It sneaks up on me when I walk at the gym or play soccer with my kids.  Occasionally, I hear it faintly in my ear when I look in the mirror, tempting me to give up, quit fighting, resign myself to the word.

Fat.

But I recognize the Enemy for who he is and even more, I know the power of Christ within me.

I know the Father promises to never give up on me, but to complete the work He started (Phil. 1:6).  I know that man considers the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. I trust in my new creation status.  I believe His Word when He calls me “fearfully and wonderfully made.” He says the same thing about you, too, my sisters in Christ!

We are not the sum of our insecurities, for we were created for more than this!

We’ve talked before about how insecurities keep us fearful, and that’s just how the Enemy wants us to feel – alone, afraid, unworthy.  My sisters, our God is greater than he who is in the world.  He is greater than our deepest shame and insecurities.  Our God loves us, pursues us, redeems us, and calls us His beloved.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

Nothing can separate us from His love, not even our layers of fat. :)

We are daughters of the One True King, and the value He has placed on our lives is the blood, the life force, of His one and only Son.

Let us then live as children of the Light!

Jen :)

Also sharing this post with: Cornerstone Confessions

The Loft is open, come on up!

The Loft: A weekly Hangout and Link Up for Christian bloggers
Graphic by Kerry Messer

#TheLoft

UPDATE: The Loft is now hosted by Leah Adams.

Now it’s time to link up!

This Week’s Topic: “Greatest Insecurity” (We are going vulnerable here, asking you to share your greatest insecurity. How do you recognize it when it creeps up? What does insecurity sound like to you? What do you do to silence it? Any scriptures that help you fight it?)


Next Week’s Topic: “Something Funny” (Laughter is good medicine and after this week’s topic, we all need a belly laugh. Or as one co-host put it, we need to spit in our coffee. Tell us a funny story, share a funny quote, post a funny picture or video, crack a funny joke. Just be careful with that coffee because this is going to be good :) )

Add Your Link Here:

Also sharing this post with: Cornerstone Confessions, Jennifer Dukes Lee, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Wholehearted Home, Teaching What is Good, Sew Crafty AngelMessy Marriage, Missional Women, My Freshly Brewed LifeBeauty Through ImperfectionsRich Faith Rising, Beautiful Ashes, Grace & Truth Christian Living

Comments

  1. says

    Oh my goodness! Thank you for sharing this. It could be my story. My fat girl became a real issue after 3 kids and it has not be a great journey. Your post has been an encouragement to me, an encouragement to get back on track. Thank you so much for your honesty!!!!

  2. says

    Jen, WOW! This is one of your best posts ever, in my opinion. You have filled my heart today with your vulnerability, hope, and mostly, the helping of Jesus here. Thank you, my friend.

  3. says

    Hi Jen, It sounds like you are in an amazingly strong place and hear the enemies whispers. You have conquered those whispers with God’s truth! I believe this is the only way to win the battle! We all have a struggle we carry our entire Christian life. Some of our struggles are hidden where no one can see, and other’s struggles are shown. Both are battles where we need to continually feast at the table of grace.

  4. says

    I so appreciate the language of this post. I love the imagery of your insecurity sneaking up on you through out life’s moments! That imagery is what all our insecurities do and you captured it so well! Thank you for this post! Coming to you from The Loft!

  5. says

    You definitely hit one of my insecurities right on target. I have struggled with this issue for most of my adult life. I have been up and down, and when the weight goes up I feel very ashamed. “What is wrong with me? Why do I do this to myself?” Ugh. Thank you for your thoughtful post and reminder that we are all daughters of the King and precious in His sight. God bless you!

    • says

      Hi, Anita, I’m glad you found some encouragement here. It really does start with remembering who we are in Him and choosing to believe it, even when guilt and shame set in. I actually pray that the Lord will help me to make good choices AND that He will help me to see results, no matter how small. That doesn’t always mean losing weight – sometimes it just means recognizing that I don’t get as out of breath when I exercise or that I have more energy. When I focus solely on the scale, it’s easy to get discouraged, so I ask Him to help me see the small ways in which my health is improving. It will be a long road for me, but I plan to keep on trucking along. :) Just remember that shame doesn’t come from the Lord, it only comes from the Enemy and his aim is to discourage you so you’ll quit. As long as you don’t quit, you’re winning! Praying you’ll be encouraged this week!
      Jen :)

  6. says

    Jen, I’m so touched by your story. You see I was at the other end of the spectrum, and unlike you, I never was able to make peace with my body. It nearly killed me in my early 20s. I love how you had the wisdom to think about being healthy versus being thin.

    About 3 years ago, which would have made me 47 years old, a friend was talking about how she doesn’t talk about being thin to her kids. Instead they talk about eating right in order to be healthy. When she said that, it was like a punch to the gut for me, and a major light bulb moment. My food choices had always been made in order to be thin. It had honestly never occurred to me to make food choices in order to be healthy. I know that sounds bizarre, but it the file drawer I operated out of.

    Thank you for this wonderful, honest post, my friend. You rock!!

    • says

      Leah, I’m so sorry you struggled with food, too. Valuing health rather than appearance is still a work-in-progress for me, but I hope I can pass on what I have learned to my own children! Thank you for stopping by to encourage me; I greatly appreciate it!
      Jen :)

  7. Rebekah says

    Thank you, Jen…this post…mm-hmmm. So many of the same struggles over the years. Even now, in a house with 2 boys and then a girl, I’m conscientious of trying to teach health first – especially as we venture into the teen years. I love the beautiful honesty of this post – thank you for sharing it.

    • says

      Thank you, Rebekah. It’s a challenge, isn’t it? To teach health without adding all of the weighty burdens that our culture adds to it. Our daughter is only 5 now, but I pray that she (and our sons!) learn to find themselves in Christ and that they desire healthy bodies as a result of honoring him. I appreciate your encouragement!
      Jen :)

  8. says

    This – me too in middle school. Felt isolated and ‘not in’ and blamed it on the weight I had gained in middle school. So, I crash-dieted. In “Practical” ways, forsaking food for a week, here and there. Enabling me to take off the pounds, and then I lived with ‘fear of fat’ and it’s actually one (of several) of the reasons I stopped having children. Fear of fat. And I lived with the shame of that reality for a long time. I was a Christian and it should not have been a contributing factor. But I was a control freak about it.

    Fortunately, as I’ve grown, my eating and exercise is about health instead of image. But that doesn’t mean the image thing is dead, and especially as I age, I’ve experienced the arrows here and there, but I am glad you have shared how the Lord has given you victory and you live from that place now. As believers, we fight from a place of victory! “I’m already loved, so I don’t have to fear…”

    Beautiful post Jen!

    • says

      Thanks for sharing, Kathy. It’s always good to know we’re not alone in our body image struggles! And I completely agree that aging brings up its own set of “issues.” :) Thank you for stopping by to encourage me!
      Jen :)

  9. says

    I loved this! I too am dealing with this same insecurity after having my first baby..I am so happy to hear how you have overcome :) I love how you said that insecurities keep us fearful. So true that fear is what the Enemy wants us to live in. I loved your transparency in this topic!

    • says

      To be honest, it’s still a work-in-progress here. :) I feel less like I have overcome and more like I am overcoming…if that makes sense, haha. Those fiery darts still come my way, and I’m still tempted, but I think I’m much more aware of the Enemy’s game now than I was at a younger age. Thanks for stopping by and remember who you are in Him!
      Jen :)

  10. says

    Jen, Your post brought tears to my eyes. The world can be so cruel with outward appearances instead of what we have on the inside. We don’t need that, we are already hard enough on ourselves. I gained a lot of weight during my thyroid and initial auto immune issues and put on an extra 53 lbs at one point, that was almost another half of me. I didn’t see myself when I looked in the mirror anymore. I’d always been thin. My body stayed this way for about 3-4 years and then within a few months it all just dropped off with no help from me with another 20 lbs. I was skin and bone.

    My mind could not adjust; I still saw the heavy person in the mirror because it happened so fast. It was the strangest time in my life. It is all about being healthy and keeping your body a temple to God. We should never make it about anything or anyone else. I think it just becomes an idol too easily at that point. Blessings to you.

    • says

      Thanks for sharing your story here, Kim. I completely agree that the focus has to be on health rather than image, with Christ always at the center, always. I’m so glad you stopped by!
      Jen :)

  11. Michelle says

    Thanks for sharing your story! It so easily could have been mine too. I relate to almost all of it! I really like your point about nothing being able to separate us from the love of God (even all the layers of fat)! Blessings to you! Appreciated this post today!

  12. Barbie says

    Thank you so much for sharing. I really needed to read this today as I’ve been so depressed about my weight for so long. I have so many struggles in my life, things I am going through, that it has been hard to focus on me. I’m hoping God will show me how best to conquer this mountain. Blessings!

  13. blessingcounterdeb says

    Jen, You have no idea how many women you have blessed with this post today. Thank you for having the courage to share and bless. Hugs!

  14. says

    Great reminder, and I am with you on the it is a life long struggle thing, so thankful we serve a faithful God. Found you on the Salt and Light Link up, have a blessed day!

    • says

      Yes, He truly is faithful! This past week, He gave me accountability for exercise and even a group of awesome ladies to walk with, all within 24 hrs. I didn’t even go searching, but He knew I needed it! Praying encouragement for you, as well, this week!
      Jen :)

  15. says

    I haven’t visited you for a while and I realize how much I have missed! Tears this morning reading this…it is me and so many others. Thank you for the reminder we are HIS no matter what we look like and to continue to strive to be healthy and happy. Visiting from Grace & Truth ♥

    • says

      Nannette, you bless my heart with your words! I almost didn’t link that post in favor of another, but felt maybe it needed to be shared again. I know I need the reminder almost daily at times. Thanks so much for joining with us this week!
      Jen :)

  16. says

    Jen – you are such an inspiration to me. I have had a very similar experience and it has haunted me since I was about 11. I really appreciate your honesty and openness in writing this post as I am really struggling with this issue at the moment. It seems to have become much worse in my mind and heart. I know the promises of God but fail to see them in myself at the moment. However, this food addiction and insecurity I have will be defeated and perhaps, like you, it is my thorn in the flesh. I am thankful and blessed by your writing Jen and hope to journey this battle with you. God bless :)

    • says

      Ruth, I am so humbled at what He can do when we’re willing to be just a little bit vulnerable. It was all His idea because I certainly didn’t want to type these words out for the world to read. ;) This year my word is persevere, and I know that will carry over into this area of health. He continues to remind me that it’s a work-in-progress – it’s going to take time, and lots of it. I’ll be praying for you as we both strive to honor Him with our bodies!
      Jen :)

      • says

        Jen – thank you, I really value your prayers in this! It certainly is a work-in-progress. I have only started to see it as something that I need to address with the Lord’s help. Thank you ever so much for your encouragement and I am always blessed by your words! :)

  17. says

    Reblogged this on The Mustard Seed and commented:
    This is a post that I want to re-read over and over again as it is a battle that I face regularly. Written by a lovely blogger – so thankful for her words! :)

  18. says

    Jen, I love your transparency here. About 2 years ago I was on a weight loss journey. I lost 60 lbs in 6 months by changing my perspective on dieting. Treating my body as a temple instead of a garbage disposal. I haven’t been as diligent in the last few months , but your post has given me renewed resolution, bringing me back to the heart of why I did I did it in the first place. Praying for you as you continue your journey. “We are not the sum of our insecurities, for we were created for more than this!” Amen, girlfriend! Amen! <3

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