BelovedPosted: July 23, 2012
It’s about to get real honest up in here. A little too honest for my own comfort; however, I have a story I have to share. I’ve actually talked with Nick on several occasions about writing this. I feel so passionate about sharing that I feel it might be the sole purpose for having this blog. If this post can encourage one person, I will consider it a huge victory.
So, here goes.
You know this post where I talked about the struggle I went through last summer when I found out I was going to have girl?? Well, there was one small detail I left out of that post.
The number one reason I didn’t want to have a little girl is because I was terrified she would look like me. I didn’t want to be responsible for bringing a person into this world who would have to deal with a lifetime of insecurity because of her weight like I have. This is a fear that I have fought with for as long as I can remember…probably as far back as 8 or 9 years old…and it has plagued me.
In this post, I shared the truth that has been swirling around in my head and heart…You Are Enough. Remember this girl I talked about…?
To the girl who has struggled with weight her whole life. Who feels she’s been consistently looked over for opportunities, friendships, and experiences just because of the way she looks. Who has been told time and time again by an appearance obsessed society that she is not good enough because she doesn’t fit into a certain size jeans or can’t shop at a certain store. Who hesitates to begin a journey of weight loss because she fears she is setting herself up for failure. Who believes that her identity is and will always be “the fat girl.”
Yep, that’s me.
I have dealt with and been insecure about my weight since elementary school. There are a few unpleasant memories that seem forever cemented in my mind. They are moments in which I felt it was confirmed, by those around me, that I was insignificant or unimportant because I was heavier than I was “supposed to be.” Besides a few mean-spiritied jabs from some immature peers, no one ever actually came out and told me I wasn’t good enough…but I believed it and calculated my every step based on the lie that I was an insignificant nobody because I didn’t look the way I should look.
I allowed this lie to take root and grow. The lie became a part of me. It was around so long that I fully believed it to be true.
Amy is not good enough because she’s fat. She’s an embarrassment to herself, her family, and those who surround her. The ONLY reason people hang around Amy is because of what she DOES, not because of who she IS.
So, I worked hard at being funny, smart, caring, giving, spiritual, crafty, fashionable, knowledgeable, etc. so people would accept me. I felt I needed to offer all of these things to friends and acquaintances as a sort of a trade-off for associating with me despite my unacceptable appearance.
The lie was ugly. It had stolen my joy and confidence. This lie held me back and had taken me captive for long enough.
IT HAD TO END.
I become very aware of this lie I was believing and just how nasty it was when I went through Beth Moore’s “Breaking Free” Bible study last summer. In the very first session, she gave us two definitions:
- Stronghold: anytime you are preoccupied with a destructive thought process
- Bondage: anything that hinders us from living in the fullness in which God has called us to live; anything that makes me feel empty, insecure, lesser, etc.
Stronghold? Check. Bondage? Check.
When I took the time to truly reflect on my long path of strongholds and bondage, I knew that God could set me free from my insecurity, but I had lived most of my life comfortable in my chains. I realized that, in a weird way, I had become comfortable in my skin. If I took the leap and tried to start losing the weight or believe that I was worthwhile, special, or significant, I would be vulnerable. I realized that my weight had become a wall of protection that I had built over the years. Losing the weight would be like losing a part of who I was.
A few weeks into the study, Beth introduced us to the following equations:
My “truth” + Satan’s lies = CAPTIVITY
My “truth” + God’s truth = FREEDOM
My “truth” is this: I’ve struggled with weight my whole life. I have experienced some sad things in relation to my weight. I have missed out on some opportunities because of my weight. My weight has been a constant, major issue for 20+ years that has held me back from fully enjoying life.
The problem with my “truth” is that I added it to Satan’s lies…you are worthless, you are embarrassing, no one wants to be around you, you are ugly, the only way you’ll maintain any type of relationship is if you perform…and it led me to a place of captivity.
What I learned throughout the 10 weeks of the study and have been continuing to learn over this past year is how to take my “truth” and add it to God’s truth so I can be free from my chains. Yes, my “truth” still remains, but I’m choosing to add it to God’s truth…you are beautiful, I created you for a greater purpose, you can stop performing and rest in who I created you to be, you are my beloved…and it’s leading me to a place of freedom.
When I talked in this post about the reasoning behind choosing Gabriella’s name, I shared it was important for her name to have a significant meaning. Her name could serve as a type of trigger to remind me of the promise God had given me about who Gabriella was anytime the enemy might try to sneak in with lies. Then, after Gabriella was born and two days later her life was on the line, I shared here about how powerful it was for me to have her name, which was representative of His promise, to cling to.
As I’ve been down my own path toward freedom and dispelling the lies, it has been equally important for me to cling to the meaning of my own name. Amy means “beloved” or “dearly loved” and Beth means “God’s promise” or “God is satisfaction.” The meaning of my name reminds me of God’s promise that I am dearly loved…just because I’m me! I love this quote from Joseph Prince that describes us as God’s beloved:
You are God’s beloved not because of what you do. Christ did everything. He is God’s Beloved. But God put you in Christ. That is why you are “accepted in the Beloved”. And what God said to Jesus, He says to you today: “You are My beloved son. In you, I am well pleased.”
Along my journey, it has been important for me to remember the promise of my name for two specific reasons:
- Because the lie has been a part of who I am for so long, it is very natural for me to run back to my habit of performing in order to receive love and attention. I do this with my friends, family, and even in my relationship with God. In moments of anxiety about whether I’m doing enough to show my love or worth, it is important for me to stop, take a breath, and remember that I am His beloved, I am Amy, not because of what I’ve done or what I look like, but because it’s who He’s created me to be.
- As I mentioned earlier, I found that I was comfortable in the overweight temple I had built for myself. Although I dreamt daily about wearing smaller clothes and feeling proud of the way I looked, I didn’t believe I could ever be in that place and I felt vulnerable coming out from the identity I had given myself as “the fat girl.” This inner turmoil was persistent and overwhelming. The most common solution to dealing with my pain was to eat, which gave me temporary comfort in a place of discomfort, making me a walking oxymoron. I have had to remind myself and believe that God is satisfaction and can fill those empty places…if I will welcome Him in and allow Him.
While I was pregnant with Gabriella, Nick began his own journey of weight loss. While I found it to be very unfair that he was losing all his weight while I was pregnant and feeling larger than life, I was proud that he had stepped up and was leading our family into a healthier lifestyle. Weight Watchers is one of the many amazing health benefits of his job. He really enjoyed attending the weekly meetings for encouragement and ideas and mentioned to me on several occasions that he felt I would click really well with his WW leader.
About a month after Gabriella was born, we had some family pictures taken. When we got the proofs back, I had a reaction unlike those I’ve had before. I’m used to looking and cringing at pictures of myself, but this time was different. I saw myself as beautiful and hidden behind my weight.
That was the day I decided to look into Weight Watchers. Much to my delight, I found that they had a program specifically designed for nursing moms. I officially had no excuse to not give it a try. I went to my first meeting the next week. I was skeptical for the first couple of weeks and didn’t really take anything seriously. But, as of the first week of January, I have been 100% on board with WW and have successfully lost about 1 pound a week. I received my 25 pound medal this past week which was the milestone I promised myself that if I achieved it, I would share my story. So…here I am ;) I still have quite a ways to go, but I am encouraged and excited to meet my goal weight and achieve lifetime status with WW.
**P.S. Nick was right. I do love my WW leader, Michelle. She has been a huge blessing to me!
P.P.S. If you have any questions about WW or would like to attend a meeting with me, let me know! Seriously, if I can do this, ANYONE can.**
Our words are a powerful force. What we say can be used to encourage or tear down. I have zero tolerance for people using their words to slander someone’s appearance, character, or intelligence…specifically, anything that is beyond their scope of immediate control. As a society, we do so much to feed the lie that you have to look, act, dress, talk a certain way in order to be accepted and loved. We can’t control what people say, but what we can do is encourage one another. When someone takes the time to share a word of encouragement with me, it makes my spirit soar. I try to be ever mindful of this wonderful feeling so I can be constantly looking for ways to encourage those around me. Maybe we can’t remove the negativity, but we sure can do a lot to replace it or cover it up with beautiful and uplifting words of encouragement.
For example, I received an e-mail just a few days ago from a friend from high school. She felt God was prompting her to share with me that I didn’t go unnoticed in high school…that she remembers me and what I stood for…and that my faith served as an encouragement to her. This friend had no idea that I was gearing up to write this post about my insecurity of being unnoticed, but she was obedient to what God asked her to do, and it blessed me so much.
Let us all make a concerted effort to slow down and take the time to look around us and watch for ways to lift someone’s spirit with our words and/or actions. Let’s commit to encouraging each other more. You never know what impact your words could have on someone’s day, perspective, or life!
ONE MORE THING..
I’m so thankful God gave me a daughter. I was meant to have a little girl. I’ve come to the realization that it was in my heart to have a daughter all along, but I wouldn’t let myself desire it because of my irrational fear based on a lifetime of lies. Gabriella Kate has rocked my world and launched me down the path of discovering myself…Amy Beth, God’s beloved promise.