It’s almost time for the new semester to begin, and I always take time to reflect on what I’ve learned, how I’ve grown, and how I want to continue to grow. Earlier this year I was on the news a few times discussing the benefits of going back to school. I shared a little about how taking a chance and going back to college benefitted me, and I also made it clear that people who want to do the same should be gracious with themselves in the process. My colleague and I explained that it’s important to ask for help, and it’s okay to work toward that goal even if it takes longer than you think it should. That’s a great principle that I apply to every area of my life now, and I love being in a position to encourage people and to explain that it’s okay if their path looks different than they may have thought it should.
We recorded one segment last week, and when I saw myself on camera prior to the recording I considered asking them to tighten the shot and redo it. It wouldn’t have been possible to create a more unflattering angle for me, and I know this because I’ve seen myself from flattering and unflattering angles on TV in the past.
Everything I said in the segment was true and encouraging, but as I watched it, I wondered if anyone would hear what I said or if, instead, they’d be distracted by my size.
I used to define myself solely by my weight. I did it when I weighed over 400 pounds and when I weighed 290 pounds. Right now I weigh 300 pounds, but my weight is no longer the only defining factor is recognizing who I am.
I’ll spare you the list of attributes that l believe define who I am because most importantly, I’m a child of God. I’m imperfect, as I’ve shared in my other posts here, but I’m loved, redeemed, forgiven, and restored by the almighty Creator of the Universe who knew I’d struggle with my weight even before I existed. He knew I’d love baking and eating late night snacks, that I’d spend years and years of my life trying to lose weight and gain a healthy relationship with food. He also knew how much I would dislike myself until I discovered my worth in Him, yet He formed every intricate part of me anyway.
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. – Psalm 139:13-16
He knows my deepest innermost thoughts, and while he desires his best for me, he loves me regardless of my imperfections.
God doesn’t look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. – 1 Samuel 16:7b
When I see myself on camera now I’m still reminded that I have so much work to do to fulfill my own goals, but I also recognize that God did not choose to wait until I get it all right to use my life and story for my good and his glory.
It’s not a coincidence that everything I’ve walked through – the deep pain, insecurity, self-loating, forgiveness of those who hurt me, self-forgiveness comes up regularly with others who are fighting similar battles. I believe that God’s Word is true, and I’m encouraged because he will never love me more or less than right now. He will never stop loving me, pursuing me, or watering the seeds he’s planted in my life.
I choose to look past my imperfections as I draw close to my incredible God, who knows me by name and loves me to remind others that he knows their name too. Society promotes glossy perfection, while God’s desire for us is to live fully submitted to his will. So instead of judging myself based on how I looked in that interview, I’m going to continue rating my days on my level of obedience to the One who always looks past my imperfections and offers grace.
Thank you, Lord, for seeing me and for being patient for my sake.
I used to say that I’m a work in progress, which is true, but I’m also saved by grace. I’m fearfully and wonderfully made! I’m the Lord’s masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for me to do! When I start doubting that I go right back to Ephesians 2: 8-10 and remember the truth that set me free.
We cannot earn salvation, and sanctification is a life-long process. As long as we’re on earth, there will be room for improvement, but I never want to lose sight of everything God has done in me, for me, and through me already.
What has God done in your life?
Are there areas he’s changed that you take for granted?