I was not a popular kid in high school. And when I say that, it wasn’t for lack of people at some point trying to talk to me. It was a crippling anxiety and voice inside my head telling me I was judged, I was lacking, I was not enough. And I think we can all agree that that voice was not the voice of God.
I can tell you now, as a kind of middle aged but young at heart woman, not nearly as many people were judging me. How do I know this now? Because I know they were all having the same experience as me to some degree. I think we can all agree that we and the people around us are all trying to figure out who they are and how to navigate the world. No one was staring at me and my body and thinking how horrible I was or how much they wished I looked different. They were too worried about themselves.
But I could not get past this voice, this feeling inside. And as I let this feeling fester and linger, my inward voice manifested itself into an outward disordered way of eating. If I couldn’t take hold of the people around me and control how they felt then I could control the way I looked. At this point in my life, my parents were also fighting quite frequently and dealing with some addictions. I’m sure that this played a role in my feeling that I needed to look better, do better, catch perfection.
And so I stopped eating whole meals. I think for a time I lived off of those lean cuisine meals and refused my mother’s or fast food. I started to work out. And with working out started the thought that I needed to work out and work on my body in order to eat that sandwich, eat that cracker, eat that meal. I know now my mom didn’t catch what was happening at first because she herself has a disordered connection to food.
And so for a time I fed off of the compliments on weight loss people would give me, the stares I was sure I was getting. But you know what, I was sick. I was sad. I was empty. All of this came to a head when I was going into college. The feeling that there must be something more to life than just worrying about what other people thought. The tiredness of choosing not to go to someone else’s birthday party because I would be expected to eat cake.
But then God. God placed me in the right dorm room, with the right roommates. One in particular who showed me acceptance and a glimpse of the huge love God has for His children. And I can remember just this deep sense of relief that I was not alone. I was not just my body, but I was a child of God. God loves me regardless of how I look, if I say the right thing, or if I’m cool or edgy. He cares about my heart. He cares about me.
And so what I would want to have you take away is a knowledge that while the world would tell you different, you are not alone. You are not just how your body looks. You are not how much money your family makes, or what kind of clothes you wear. You are a child of God. You are blessed. You are made to be more.