But He was speaking of the temple of His body.
I am overweight. I have been for many years and only recently have come to accept that this is a part of me that I cannot change. God can change this; I cannot. You see, part of my weight comes from years of feeling like I wasn’t enough. On the inside, I could never measure up to what I believed others wanted me to be. When I was younger, I would try to diet and was only moderately successful in losing a few pounds here and there. I began to feel that there was nothing I could ever do to fix this flaw. Funny thing was; in high school, I wasn’t actually overweight. I just felt like I was too fat and since everyone around me was skinny, I figured I was the one who needed to change.
Eventually, the idea that I was completely powerless over my weight morphed into a rebellious streak that said, “Fine, I don’t need to be thin.” This thought, ever-present in my mind, manifested in poor eating habits and reluctance to diet. As a teenager, I struggled with depression and a severe lack of self-esteem. There was a lot going on that I didn’t talk to anyone about at that time and as a result, I turned my grief inward. I gained a few pounds after high school, but I was never really overweight until I hit my mid-twenties. When I looked in the mirror, I saw a chunky, unattractive girl. This pattern of thought continued and actually grew much worse when I was raped at the age of 22. I began to create a cocoon of sorts to protect myself and the end result was about eighty pounds of unwanted, but very necessary extra weight.
Necessary because I believed that the extra pounds insulated me from other potential attackers. I figured as long as I was heavy, I wouldn’t be a target. The more “unattractive” I could be, the better. And so, I grew. And I’ve used this “insulation” to protect myself ever since. Strangely, my ex-husband never had a problem with my being overweight. He was a big guy and he didn’t seem to mind that I wasn’t rail-thin. In retrospect, this is probably why we were together as long as we were. He knew all that had happened to me and he put no pressure on me to lose weight. For whatever our differences may have been, he didn’t necessarily add fuel to that particular fire. When we split up, I lost a little weight but I noticed that as soon as I began dating again, I started to gain it back. The process was just too much and I really didn’t want to trust anyone again.
As God has been taking me through various changes, I have noticed that we haven’t yet begun to deal with whatever is keeping the weight on. He’s been patiently working me through some addictions (more like compulsive behaviors and preoccupations) and helping me to build my confidence and my knowledge of His word. He’s been helping me sort through the issues from my past which have served as ample ammunition for the devil and He’s been making some Divine connections between myself and some wonderfully encouraging people who have helped me remember who I am in Christ. He’s done all this, but He hasn’t necessarily given me direction on how to get these pounds to leave me once and for all. Perhaps, I’m still shielding myself from some imagined threat. Maybe I’m still not trusting Him enough to protect me from painful relationships. This has, after all, been my number one stronghold and as long as I keep the pounds on, I don’t really have to deal with it. I’m at least intelligent enough to know that I’m avoiding the issue and He’s allowing me this…for now. But what happens when I finally decide that I am ready to shed the exterior and live completely from the inside out? Am I somehow worried that the inside is still not good enough?
The answer in this case is the same as it is for any problem we face; Jesus. Jesus died so that I could have life and live more abundantly. Not that I, myself could be the abundance, but that I could live in the richness of His love and allow His fullness to surround me and protect me. I don’t need my own “insulation,” I need Jesus. And when I fully accept that the body I’m in is keeping Him out along with all of those who might try to hurt me, then I can emerge from this cocoon as the beautiful butterfly that has been suffocating inside the shell for so long. I can come out from under the weight of condemnation and fly until I reach the heavens. Yes, I know that’s cheesy, but it is probably the truest way to say that our transformations are of no value if no one else is allowed to see the work that has been done in us. We must stop hiding under our protective shields and trust God to shelter us as we reflect His glory into a world that desperately needs to see more true beauty.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
~2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV~