You Must be 90 Pounds Soaking Wet

*Please realize this is not an attention-seeking post or an attempt at reassurance. I simply want to share my personal story!

I have always been small. Growing up I was pretty much all knees and elbows. I’ve always had a high metabolism, and no matter how much I ate, I didn’t gain weight.

My entire life I have heard comments like “You must be 90 pounds soaking wet!” or “You need to put some meat on those bones!” or “There’s not an ounce of fat on your body!”

I think most of the time these types of comments were meant as compliments, and I would usually smile and nod, but I felt differently inside. Every time a comment like this was made, I thought “90 pounds? Well, I’m a lot more than that. Am I supposed to be 90 pounds? I better suck by stomach in,” or “Am I not good enough the way I am?” or “Yes, there is, but I better hide it so you don’t see me differently.”

I felt such pressure to be as small as everyone thought I was, yet pressure to gain weight at the same time. I hated it. I hated my body no matter what. I wasn’t small enough. I wasn’t big enough. I wasn’t good enough. I was so insecure.

•••

A few weeks before I found out I was pregnant I remember telling my husband that I wasn’t scared of what my body would be like when I was pregnant someday, but I was scared of what it would be like after. I knew that it was going to be different and probably never go back to the way it was before.

Sure enough, I loved my body when I was pregnant. Actually, I was the most self-confident that I’ve ever been. Yet there were still things that were said that hurt. I heard from many people that I “looked good with some weight on me.” I happened to agree, but I was a bit hurt at the same time. I knew it was a compliment or perhaps a reassurance, but what it felt like was “you weren’t good enough before.” I tried not to dwell on it because I knew it wasn’t meant that way.

•••

Fast-forward and the day has arrived. The moment of truth. I’m no longer pregnant. How am I going to feel?

Honestly? Just fine.

At some point something changed. I wasn’t scared anymore. My body had just spent months growing a person. Of course it would look different! My body did something amazing; who cares if it doesn’t look the same as before?

I don’t.

And that’s the truth. I decided that the only one who can make me feel insecure about myself is, well, me. Yes, the things that were said to me over the years were hurtful, but ultimately I chose to let it get to me. And honestly, I’ve got too much going on to be worried about some extra weight and stretch marks.

At the end of the day, I don’t want to be known as “the thin one” or “the pretty one.” I’ve got more important things going on. I’d rather be known for how I walked with Christ. What kind of wife and mother I was. What kind of friend I was. Not my pant size.

All this to say, friends, be careful with your words. They hurt and have long lasting effects. But also, don’t let what other people say define how you see yourself.

With love,

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I’m a Kind Person… but Not Always

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

You may disagree with me, but this is one of the biggest, fattest lies we tell ourselves and others.

I wrote a post last year on the topic on the importance of being careful with our words and what Scripture has to say about it. This time, however, God has laid a bit of a different message on my heart.

•••

At work, I try to be a positive, uplifting force to those around me. I try to shake things off as they come and be a voice of calm in the chaos. Of course, this doesn’t always happen, but I try. I try to encourage and love on my peers at school. We’re all in the same boat, and sometimes we just need a positive word to make the day a little better. At my internship, I work with a grateful heart. Sometimes, though, I come home, and it all falls apart.

My cheerful, positive personality is genuine, but sometimes I get tired. Sometimes, when I get home after a long day, I find it much more difficult to find the silver lining, to realize that something is really not a big deal. Then my words become less kind. I can become harsh and insensitive, frustrated and annoyed. My husband doesn’t deserve that – he has long days, too!

Sometimes we are less kind with the people closest to us because we let our guard down, but in all honesty, they should be the people we are the kindest to. We should be encouraging, lifting up, and loving everyone we come into contact with with our words and actions – especially our families. If there is tension in our family life – it doesn’t matter if it’s your siblings, cousins, in-laws, parents, spouse, whoever – it’s going to affect our work life, our school life, and our hearts.

•••

Ironically, the Bible app’s verse of the day is Proverbs 15:1: “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare” (NLT).

This verse has been on my heart for some time – maybe not enough. Our words – and actions for that matter – really do impact people, especially those we love. We shouldn’t just say we love them, we should show them, and that includes speaking kindly to them even when we aren’t feeling our greatest. Everyone deserves to be treated kindly and with respect, regardless of how we feel at the moment. I know that if the words that come out of my mouth in a moment of frustration were said to me, I would be hurt, and that bothers me. So I am working on this. I am quick to catch myself and apologize if I get snappy or harsh. That doesn’t take away what I said, but it shows that I am trying, and I’ve realized that people notice when you try to change. Your words may still hurt them, but they see that you are a struggling, flesh-and-blood human, just like they are.

Have the strength to be kind when you don’t feel like it, because the bottom line is, we really should treat people how we want to be treated, because actions matter, words matter, and people matter. 

Photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez

Sticks and Stones

“Are you stupid?”

“You can’t do it.”

“Don’t give up.”

“No one cares.”

“I love you.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Are you kidding me?”

“It’s going to be okay.”

 

Yes, these are kind of lame examples, but words are powerful. Yet we throw them around like they’re weightless.  How often do you see a parent snap harshly at their child and watch as the child completely shuts down? How often do you see a kid give up because no one tells him he can do it – or they tell him that he can’t? How often do you see someone’s day take a turn for the better because someone says a kind word?

Our words are not empty, they are full of impact, whether for good or bad.

In Genesis 1, God speaks creation into existence.

In Matthew 8, Jesus drives out demons and calms a raging storm with His words.

In Colossians 3, Paul says to rid yourself of anger, rage, spite, slander, and *abusive language.

In Ephesians 4, Paul says not to let unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up.

Words have impact. It is up to us to choose whether or not we use our words to help or to wound others. Speak love.

Also, Jeff Bethke coincidentally did a youtube video on a similar subject this week! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzHxJUcnvb0

By the way, this is a cool topic for a **word study.

Until next time, lovelies.

 

 

 

* NIV – “filthy language”

** https://wordssweeterthanhoney.com/2015/10/24/why-word-study-is-the-new-definition-of-cool/

 
Photo Credit: Joshua Fuller
 

 

 

Search Me, God

“Search me, God, and know my heart.  Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139: 23-24

I came across this Scripture earlier this week; I believe it was the Bible app’s verse of the day.  I had read it before but this time I read it in a new light.  It became my memory verse and also my prayer.  I prayed for God to search me and find anything in me that was offensive to Him.  Then in prayerful silence I waited.  It didn’t take long to get my answer and it was an answer that I should have seen coming.

Now, this post is a little longer than my typical posts, but hang with me to see what God revealed to me in the past few days.

I’m a complainer.  I have a grumbling issue you may say.  If there were a Complainers Anonymous I would need to be in it.   It’s one of those things you just fall into the habit of: “It’s too hot out.”  “Why is there so much homework?”  “Seriously? I got food on my shirt. Again.”

Now, some people may think, “What’s the big deal? We all complain.”  Yes, we all complain, some more than others – guilty – and we are born with a sinful nature, but I believe constant complaining is a sin and something we need to combat.

First off, I believe walking around with a complaining spirit is a heart issue.  The Bible is full of verses about being thankful (seriously, just Google it).  Grumbling about everything isn’t living with a very thankful heart; we are saying we are dissatisfied with what we’ve been given.

Secondly, what are we really complaining about? Awhile ago I had come across a verse in Exodus – 16:8 to be exact – saying that when we complain we aren’t doing so against people, we are doing so against God. That really puts things into perspective.  Everything we have comes from the Lord and honestly I think this really goes back to being thankful. Even when we’re complaining about people, we’re complaining about God’s creation – the creation that He cherishes and loves.

Thirdly, I believe we need to speak life.  This has been a real motto in my life the past few years, but I really haven’t been living up to it.  Words do matter and we need to speak positively to and about each other.  Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”  Notice the words any and only.  Complaining definitely does not fit into the category of wholesome or helpful, yet we do it all the time and consider it to be fine.  Let me clarify something, though – there is a difference between complaining and talking about problems or situations you are going through.  It is healthy and necessary to share with our fellow believers the struggles, temptations, and heartbreaks that we are dealing with. It’s when we find fault with everything and everyone that is the problem.

Luckily for us, there are ways to fight this complaining spirit within us. Psalm 78:1 says, “My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long.” When we are praising God, our perspective changes from us to Him.  When we focus on how wonderful He is, we don’t think of the petty things we often complain about.  Again I say, it’s a heart issue.  A thankful heart will overtake a complaining heart always.

Psalm 1 talks about the godly and how they delight in the law of the Lord and meditate on it day and night.  I never really thought about what that meant until earlier this week in a message at chapel.  The speaker said meditating on the law of God day and night means being constantly conscious of God and His standards for us.  When you are conscious of God and you’re about to do something that goes against Him, He will let you know.

Also, prayer.  Pray for God to change your heart.  Pray to see the beauty in things and not just the negative things.  Our God and this life He has blessed us with are beautiful.

I prayed for God to show me how I needed to change, and show me He did in just these few short days.  It can be uncomfortable, yes, but I believe it’s worth sacrificing a little comfort so God can refine us and allow us to live a holier, more God-glorifying life.   It’s an every day battle, fighting our inborn sinful nature, but with the God of angel armies on our side, no battle is impossible.

Photo Credit: Yaoqi LAI