Article by Rachel, an Unshakable Girl staff writer.
The look. The double-take. With looks like that, I can only imagine what is going on in their minds. “Is she really that big? What is wrong with her? Doesn’t she know that she needs to lose weight?”
I have been “bigger” than all of my friends since I was young. People, even strangers, have made comments–giving me tips on weight loss and exercise. Sometimes it seems like everyone *thinks* I am the only one in the world who doesn’t know that I am bigger than “average”. There are times when people feel so badly for me that they try to find something, anything, that they can compliment me on (while also managing to throw in there something about my size anyways) so that maybe I won’t feel so badly about myself. Kind ladies asking if I am expecting, don’t know that I’m still single and totally taken aback by their forward questions. “No, I’m not.” I try to politely respond with a smile, all the while wanting to run away crying.
All of us are insecure. Hollywood and just about every other form of media tell us that we HAVE to be a certain way in order to be beautiful, accepted, and (of course, the end all) to get love. We’re told that guys only want blonde, skinny girls with perfect skin, perfectly placed hair that blows in the wind just so, and sparkling white teeth that will blind them when you smile. Sounds unrealistic, doesn’t it? That’s because it is.
In a world that tells us the skinnier the better, being larger than average is not easy. Even being average sized isn’t easy. No matter what, you will never ever meet the standards that have been set by the modern world. Every girl is plagued by a desire to have an eating disorder just to “fit in” and be crowned the title of “beautiful” in a harsh world. However, true beauty is not found on your body, but in your heart.
The Bible says “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30)
Fearing the Lord…That doesn’t mean being terrified of Him. It means that Jesus is your Lord and Savior. He is the one whose opinion matters the most to you.
So how do we keep focused on God, not on our looks, when everyone around us is focused on making us a “better” us? How can I, a larger than average sized, brown-eyed, brown-haired girl, filled with blemishes and imperfect teeth exist in a world that tells me that I’m not beautiful and need to just try harder?
I am not oblivious to social norms and how my outward appearances do not fit the mold whatsoever. Believe me, I have tried losing weight in all different ways. If it weren’t for the Lord, I am sure I would be a total mess, completely caught up in the latest diet trends, exercising non stop, and more. I spent one year in that mindset after someone informed me that “guys like skinny girls.” I started exercising no matter the weather every day and obsessively counting my calories. This person had also prayed with me about my future husband, followed by a list of all kinds of exercising and weight loss tips. That year was completely spent on pursuing worldly beauty and approval, all the while sticking the phrase of “taking care of my temple” on it. Surely this was godly, right? I am trying to be beautiful so that I can get married. There is nothing wrong with that…right? But God was not in it because I was spending all of my time working on my outward appearance, instead of spending any time in His Presence, and letting Him change my heart.
Over the past few years, God has indeed been chiseling away at my inner beauty–my heart. Slowly I have been letting go of my own ideas about beauty and letting Him transform my heart and show me what true beauty means to Him. It isn’t a weight loss plan on how to have a thigh gap, or a new facial regime to prevent early facial lines. It is actually being close to the Lord. When you grow close to the Lord, He begins to cultivate your heart–weeding out the bad, and caring for the new and joyful things He plants in there. He will change your heart into a beautiful garden, filled with fragrant flowers and flowing with Living Water.
Sure, eat healthy, exercise. There’s nothing wrong with either of those things. But, DON’T let it consume your life. Do not heed the condemning voice of the devil blaming you for being hungry or even for eating. It is not worth losing your relationship with God. No amount of striving for outward beauty is going to make up for lost time with the one who made you. No calorie counter or 5k running app is going to be such a good friend as Jesus. He alone will comfort your hurting heart. He is the One who holds your heart, Who knows what is best for you and wants the absolute best for YOU. Will people still say things? Yes. People will always say things, no matter if you are a size 16 or a size 6. When they do, run to Jesus and remember:
“God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7b)