*-James 4:11-12New International Version (NIV)
11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister[a] or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?
Proverbs 16:24New International Version (NIV)
24 Gracious words are a honeycomb,
sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
This morning, we were visitors at Velocity Church. Never in a million years did I expect the message to speak to me the way it did. The service was about trash talk and judging others. The leading versus in this post were two of the versus that spoke to me most.
Ready for the life changing business? The pastor spoke of bad mouthing each other and reducing the severity of our sins when compared to the people we struggle with forgiving. All I could think of in this service was how I badly I trash talk and judge. The kicker is, I bad mouth and trash talk MYSELF! I am so ugly and hateful to myself that it makes me sick. Say you are out with me and a stranger walked up and said to me, “You’re absolutely disgusting. Your belly is huge, your face is wrinkled and broken out, you have no business being in public with how absolutely gross you are. You are not worthy of love and acceptance. You don’t deserve the life you lead.” If you love me, you’d want to punch them in the face. Some of you may actually punch them in the face. And I’d be really pissed and offended and likely cry. Guys these are the actual words that run through my head at times. It’s sad isn’t it? And how dare I think that way of God’s masterpiece!
Did you ever consider that every time we think ugly thoughts about ourselves or others that we are actually dissing God’s work. What gives us such right? I know I would NEVER stand before God and say “Dude you screwed that one up…you should’ve given her a flat belly and bangin body.” You see, He already knows He’s given her the perfect body for her purpose. He loves her exactly how she is!
So where does this come from? How did we begin do develop such hatred for ourselves. Typically we project that hatred onto others as well. You can’t think negatively all day every day and be a positive person on the outside. It’s impossible. What’s in your mind and in your heart is projected in your daily actions to with those around you.
For me, self hatred started very young. Growing up in a home with an alcoholic and an enabler made for really screwed up coping skills for me and a skewed view of myself. I’m sure I felt like it was my fault if my parents couldn’t get along. It was my fault if my sisters were fighting. I remember many times trying to break them up so that my parents wouldn’t have to deal with them. We’d all get in trouble for arguing, and I’d feel like a failure for not being able to control the situation. It was like this for the first fourteen years of my life. At age 14, my dad got sober. He came back from rehab and was a totally different man than the one that left. Suddenly he was semi-responsible. (If you know my dad, you know being an actual adult is impossible for him, haha!) He suddenly had rules and opinions and input. It was really hard. At that point, I was used to being the other mother and dad being another one of the kids. I started binge eating to deal with it all at a very young age and struggled with weight for most of my life. I remember going out with the family, and people saying how pretty my sisters were. I remember someone saying “She’d be pretty if she lost some weight” while pointing to me. Self hatred. I only knew how to soothe that pain by downing sweets and junk and eating until I was numb.
As a teenager I searched for love in all the wrong places. I gave the best parts of me to men who didn’t deserve it. I never received the label as the town whore, but sure did deserve to. How I didn’t wind up dead or with some life threatening disease is beyond me. All I know is God surrounded me with His protective armor. I’m sure He wept numerous times over my actions. I remember getting up from these rendezvous and telling myself I didn’t deserve a relationship. They only wanted me for sex because that’s all I was good for. I was fat and disgusting and certainly didn’t deserve a real relationship with anyone. I settled for men that were less than I deserved. I paid their way because they couldn’t hold a job. I drove them around because if they had a license, it was revoked. Most didn’t graduate high school and most were headed for prison. One night I was held at knife point and forced to drive my “boyfriend” to meet another girl at the mall. And I was convinced THIS is the life God chose for me because I was nothing. He must have some plan for me to keep these boys up for Him.
I finally started dating my first husband. I know now that I married this man because he had a job and was nice enough so it was better than the alternative. The self loathing continued into my marriage. I wasn’t a good wife, he wasn’t a good husband. At 320+ pounds, I decided enough was enough. I found myself hiding in the pantry eating entire boxes of oatmeal pies and gorging on large combos every single day. He couldn’t make me happy, as it was my job to do so.
I started my weight loss journey around 2014. I started diving into WHY I accepted the things I did. Why did I let myself turn to food? Why was settling the best option? Why didn’t I feel worthy??? Turns out, a lot of the story I just wrote is why. And I certainly don’t blame my parents. They were babies out of high school and did the best they could. I blame myself for not asking for help first. It’s my own fault I got in those dark places. I knew it was wrong and I should’ve tried to figure it out then.
When you start a weight loss journey, however, the thoughts and bad habits don’t just stop because you decide to get fit. You see I starved myself for a while and dropped 80 lbs and still couldn’t look myself in the eye in the mornings. I looked and felt great, but mentally I just wasn’t there. I found myself prey to a man that was supposed to be safe for me. He was my youth pastor at on point, so I trusted him as someone I could confide in. He found me online one night while my husband was sleeping and I was editing pictures. Asked how I was doing and it was innocent chatter. I thought I was really great. I was the smallest size I’d ever been, and by the looks of my life I was living the American dream. I was struggling though. My uncle had committed suicide fairly recently, and I was mentally killing myself over it. I felt very much at fault and had so many clues that it was going to happen, yet I did nothing. My husband and I were arguing uncontrollably. He couldn’t understand why I just wouldn’t get over the fact my uncle was dead. I couldn’t understand why he couldn’t help me through the guilt of it. So I confided in this person that was my “safety”. He used my mental state against me. Before I knew it, we were having an affair. More self hatred. More failure. More self loathing. Eventually my marriage fell completely apart. Not because of the affair. He never knew about it until now. It was because of the fact we just couldn’t care for each other properly. Our cultures and beliefs just wouldn’t allow it. We were strangers sharing a home with a couple kids. I asked him to leave 2/1/15.
I immediately started dating as my last 8 years were very lonely and basically I was single. I found out I was pregnant with Liam 4/10/15. Self hatred. Self loathing. How could I get pregnant knowing I’m still married? How in the world did I find myself with two fathers now?! I knew it was commonplace for this generation, but never did I think I’d be one to be in that position. And at the time, the father of this baby was being murdered in court by his ex wife. She wanted it all. All I could think of was how could I do this to this poor man?! I gave him an out. I told him I’ve raised 3 by myself, and could surely raise another. He was free to go, no strings attached. Two years later, we are really living the dream. But I still find myself hating me. I have the best lover, the best husband, the best kids, yet I am still disgusted with me. I still feel like I don’t deserve his love and that he can do so much better.
Back around November or so, I visited my doctor and asked for the diet pill that helped me before. He responded with “You’ll never be thin. You’ll never be successful by yourself. You’ll never be able to lose weight. Your only hope is weight loss surgery.” When I tell you I came home and wanted to die….Lord I was devastated. I tossed around the thought of weight loss surgery. I thought this must be the answer and it’ll be a quick fix. But at the end of the day, weight loss surgery doesn’t teach me to love me. Being thin won’t make me happy with me. So I became determined to change my heart and my mind. I pray for God to help me love me like he does. I make a conscious effort every day to actually look myself in the eye in the morning. I try to make good decisions. I try not to buy a lot of junk. I try to avoid fast food. I try to workout at least 3 times a week. But most importantly, I try to be kind to me. I’m learning that it’s ok to indulge once in a while. It’s ok to find yourself attractive. It’s ok to be in love with who you are. My husband is a huge encourager. And he holds me accountable when I talk ugly about myself. It makes him really angry to hear me say the things I say and he rarely gets angry.
So today’s service was an eye opener. God made me perfect in His image. My prayer is to learn to love myself the way He does. My prayer is for Him to use me as His vessel because I am WORTHY to be! I pray to find the strength to forgive MYSELF for my bad decisions. I pray to forgive myself for not turning to God in my times of need. And I will forgive myself because I DO DESERVE love and I AM WORTHY. And you know what else? So are YOU!!! Stop shaming my beautiful friend, because God loves you dearly. I love you dearly. It kills me to hear you talk about my friend that way. ❤
“If you take on someone else’s negativity, it’s because YOU forgot that you’re amazing. It’s your responsibility to remember you are fabulous.” -RuPaul