This was circa 1992. I was doing my famous spins in this picture. I have always loved to dance, and dance I did, and even more freely when I had alcohol in me. Though I look happy in the picture, I thought I was overweight and ugly, and alcohol was often the cave where I would hide. My boyfriend at the time would call me “Fluffy” (this was way before Happy Feet) and would tell me I was getting a little pudgy or that I should work out more so I would look more like “so and so”. Shortly after this picture was taken and a messy break-up, I started taking dangerous diet pills that wreaked havoc on my body and mind and gave me horrible heart palpitations. I don’t know for sure, but I’ve always wondered if those pills were the culprit in my appendix nearly bursting and subsequent emergency appendectomy. I didn’t dare tell the doctors, my family, or anyone that I was taking diet pills. To say I put my life in danger is an understatement.
I forgive my ex for those comments and I am aware that a seed had been planted in my mind way before him by the world. The world told me I wasn’t enough and the world is doing that to young girls and women even more significantly today thanks to social media (that didn’t exist in 1992, in case you weren’t aware). Our girls are being bombarded with the “you’re not enough” message every day in so many different ways.
I received an unsolicited Victoria’s Secret catalog in the mail today. Talk about a trigger that can send me into the self-loathing pit quick…and that is just from seeing the front cover. I am ANGRY (why do I think of Edward from Pretty Woman when I type those words?) about the message this world is sending to our young girls and angry that even I can get caught up in that message. This morning my sweet, 16 year old girl looked in the mirror after getting dressed. She said with a wide smile on her face “I look skinny in this outfit”. I didn’t know whether to rejoice, tell her she looks fine in any outfit, tell her that “it’s all about that bass” (Selena, this song is still weaving through my head..thanks a lot), or just smile and go about my day. I guess I could remind her that her identity is in who God says she is – the beloved – and not the size of her jeans. Isn’t it funny how I think of the right thing to say hours after the event? It may go in one ear and out the other at this age, but at least I’ll be planting seeds.
I’m glad that I know about the Love who will never leave or forsake me – back then when that picture was taken I saw Him as more of an angry mob boss type most of the time. The angry mob boss loved me on my good days and on my bad days he scratched me off his list and ordered my execution. I know it sounds horrible, but that is truly how I crawled through life for many years..even after I accepted Jesus into my heart. It was a message deeply embedded in my soul. Unfortunately, it is indicative of the faulty operating system of this world (even if they don’t bring God into the equation).
Thanks to a very painful season in a spiritual desert, where God revealed to me the truth of who He is and who He ALWAYS has been, I know that I am LOVED, gloriously LOVED – on my good days, bad days, mad days, sad days, jeans don’t fit me days, and I lost 5 pounds days. I don’t need alcohol, diet pills, lingerie from Victoria’s Secret, a boyfriend who calls me “Fluffy”, or anything else to fill that hole in my soul perfectly fitted for my Creator. Yes, I still struggle, but I know now that He is with me in that struggle every step of the way.
I pray that my daughter, niece and all the girls out there (whether you are 15 or 105) know that Jesus is right there with you, He loves you and you are enough.
Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.
Psalm 139, The Message