Lose Weight & Other Insecurities That Rob Us of God’s Promises

October 9, 2017 |
Lose weight and other insecurities...

Dear Sheila,
         You’re fat. Lose weight.
                            A Friend

Well, I’m paraphrasing, but that was the gist of it. I stared at the letter in disbelief as the tears started the trek down my hot cheeks.

It had arrived in the mail from an anonymous friend who’d said she’d noticed I’d put on some weight and suggested I lose a few.

“Anonymous” obviously knew me. Within the last year, I’d had a baby, my fourth child, and I still couldn’t zip my pre-baby jeans.

The note confirmed what I already believed about myself but didn’t want to say out loud. I’m fat. I wore the fat on the outside. Everyone could see it.

The note spoke to the feeling I wore on the inside, where no one could see it: I’m not enough.

I Knew I Had To Lose Weight

Well, the “friend” turned out to be a weight loss company. The letter? Part of an ad campaign. The company had sent out “anonymous” hand-written notes from “friends” with an ad for a weight loss product attached.

The success of the campaign depended on me–and people like me–feeling bad about myself and wanting a change.

The note had hit its mark.

After reading it, right on cue, the insecurities thinly concealed by a thick layer of skin came crawling to the surface.

I made a plan. I’d go to the gym five times a week (two times a day). I’d restrict my diet to 1,000 calories. No sugar, no white flour. I’d only drink water. And I’d keep my house cleaner, fold my laundry, and cook dinner every night. It’s amazing what shedding a few pounds could do. It would give me a sense of worthiness, change my life.

Insecurities Don’t End With Body Image

It’s been years since that day in my kitchen, but I still remember that desperate, girl with 14 pounds of left-over baby weight, who never felt like she measured up. I eventually lost the weight, but the girl still lived inside me. The number on the scale was the only thing that changed. My house wasn’t cleaner. My laundry wasn’t folded, and the pizza guy still rang my bell a few nights a week.

I was still plagued by doubt, rejection, and fear. Still plagued by a lack of self-worth the letter had initially tapped in to. I was still frustrated by trying to live up to other’s expectations.

And, I was still riddled with envy and self-loathing when I compared myself to women who never seemed to struggle with laundry, cooking, weight . . .  or confidence.

Why did everyone seem to be able to do it so much easier than me?

Dear Younger Me…

I wish I could’ve told that girl in my kitchen that day all she suspected was true. Her house would never be clean enough, her laundry would never be folded, and she should buy stock in the pizza company.

But that doesn’t mean she’s not enough.

I would’ve told her when she imagined other families sitting down to a home-cooked, Pinterest-worthy meal as the pizza boy rang her doorbell for the third time that week, to remember Romans 8:1, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (NIV)” and know she’s worthy.

I’d remind her–when she’s tempted to feel bad about herself when she logs on to Facebook and reads someone’s endearing love letter to their spouse on their anniversary or when she sees someone whose kid was inducted into National Honor Society when her own kids struggle in school– to stop and remember she’s not striving to someone else’s standard.

Through God’s Eyes

My challenge is to embrace the standard of the God who made me. And strive to live His way.

I’d tell her to have faith to dance in the ashes instead of being defeated by jealousy.

I’ll never measure up in my own eyes, so I have to evaluate myself through the eyes of Christ.

Through His lens, my imperfections make me who I am. And that will always be enough. And 14 extra pounds of baby fat, or unfolded laundry or fast food meals will never change that.

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  • Reply Heather Hart October 9, 2017 at 8:03 am

    Thanks for sharing this truth with us today, Sheila. It’s a message we all need, regardless of our age.
    Heather Hart recently posted…Finding My Answers In Jesus

  • Reply Stephanie Carter October 9, 2017 at 10:27 am

    So love this article.. very needed for a lot of women. Thank you for being so transparent. Insecurity is truly inside and we as women need to get that message loud and clear we all are not going to look like the Victoria Secret girl… (actually who wants to anyway) but thank you for the words.

  • Reply Sherry Chamblee October 9, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    What a great message! Thank you!

    While I’m glad it turned out that the letter was not from one of your actual friends, I’m rather outraged that a company would think that was a good idea as an ad campaign. Imagine how many people had to approve of that before it was sent out… So clearly a lot of people need to hear what you’ve got to say.


  • Reply Tara October 10, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Sheila, what a powerful story. So hard to believe the company advertised this way. I would have reacted and had the same emotions too. It can be so easy for us to compare ourselves to others. I know I often can fall into that trap. You are a beloved child of God. Blessed to be your neighbor at the Ra Ra linkup this week.

  • Reply nylse October 10, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    It’s funny because I remember when I too got that letter. I had a number of thoughts – none of them good and tossed it. But I also knew I wasn’t the intended audience and thought it was a cruel advertisement.
    We spend an awful lot of time believing the lies in our and head and not the truths of God’s word. Some of us will never be skinny – so what? You’re still a worthwhile human fearful and wonderfully made in the image of God.

    Stopping by from #RaRaLinkup.
    nylse recently posted…And Still, Be Still

  • Reply BlenCouragesU October 10, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    Wow! NO company should ever send a message like that, PERIOD. Shaming people into losing weight or anything for that matter is uncalled for.

    While Jesus told the truth, He did it in love. Even His rebukes were in love, even after telling the people what they needed to hear.

    Great post!

  • Reply SUSAN SHIPE October 11, 2017 at 6:16 am

    Satan will use everything in his arsenal to tell us we’re not good enough. Weight. Hair. Clothes. Job. ETC. He’s a thief and a liar.

  • Reply Paul Brads October 11, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    You are amazing!

  • Reply Amy Christensen October 11, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    This is so true, Sheila. Even at 53, I still struggle with those feelings, but I can always go back to the one who made me and to His truth and get back in focus on His reality! Thanks for the reminder! – Amy

  • Reply Sheila Schweiger-Rhodes October 12, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    I think you should share the company who did this because body-shaming is never cool! Who wants to support a company who would use such repulsive tactics to make a buck off people’s struggle with weight. The devil might think he is clever, but he will never outwit God! The enemy calls us names, but God calls us His daughters! The world will always tell us we are not good enough, but God made us good enough from the moment He created each of us. I always appreciate your authenticity! Many Blessings to you! Thanks for the reminder….If I am good enough for God, I am better than I think!
    Sheila Schweiger-Rhodes recently posted…The Best Get Rich Plan Ever!

  • Reply Barbie October 14, 2017 at 10:38 pm

    Weight is something I struggle with and have for years. I know part of my issue with chronic pain is weight related. But I can’t seem to follow any plan long enough to get to a health weight. I’m praying and asking God for direction. I am thankful He sees the real me and loves me — fluff and all!

  • Reply Lena Cavitt October 29, 2017 at 8:05 pm

    This is just what I needed today! Thanks for reminding me I’m not condemned for wrinkled shirts. 😃

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