Before: Bloated, even in this good picture! My husband is hot, though.
Some of you know that I just recently lost about 25 pounds. I feel great — in my body and about my body. Sometimes, though, you can be standing there perfectly fine, and a little crumudgeon steals your thunder.
In this case, it was a little kid. I mean, you know I can’t blame her. She is, after all, little. And a kid. They have no filter.
I was standing within ear shot when she turned to someone else and said, “She looks so skinny. She used to be so fat, but now she’s skinny.”
I pretended not to hear her, and so did the person she said it to. But I heard it.
When I was so fat I had no idea that I was so fat. Chunky, yes. Beyond-my-goal-weight, absolutely. Not happy with the way I looked, definitely. But I never once thought of myself of so fat. I often thought, “If I don’t stop now I will get so fat, but I don’t think I ever really considered myself fat. I was in danger of being fat. I was close to being fat. But in my head, I was never so fat.
But that’s how it is, isn’t it? The grips of our strongholds are strong but stealthy. We often don’t see them coming. We have no idea they are holding us in their slippery little palm until the vice of their grip is sucking the air from our lungs.
For a moment, I did basque in the past tense of her statement. She was, afterall, marvelling at my accomplishment in her young little child way. I marvel at it, too. I am the slimmest I’ve been in almost 8 years, since I started having babies. My husband can’t keep his hands off me. He probably feels like he’s cheating on me. Even my underwear falls down these days. Sometimes, it’s inconvenient to lose this much weight.
(Me, a few minutes ago, if you can see past the need-to-be-trimmed eyebrows and the front tooth that keeps getting more and more crooked:)
But quickly — oh so quickly — my emotional response targeted the so fat part, and immediately, I was so fat again. Right here in this slim body I was, again, reminded of my overindulgence, of the stronghold of too much red wine and ice cream, and I felt convicted, ashamed, and all the victory of my achievement vanished like a whisper on sleeping ears.
True to form, I kept a straight face, defiant in the wake of my accuser, acted normal for a little bit, then lashed out at the dishwasher when it refused to release a pan to my beckoning. This is how I roll. I learned it from my mother.
But then, these words began to stumble over themselves in my brain, and I realized I had to write about it. Confess it all to you, my (one or two) readers.
Now here’s where I might get a little strange for the non-Christians. Forgive me while I digress for a moment or two.
When I first became a Christ-follower, I was willing to accept what seemed like foolishness to me before: that not only is there a God, but that He loved me so much He became a real-life guy who then essentially sacrificed Himself so that I could be with Him for eternity. That’s a very simplified version of the events, but it’s basically the deal. I was ready to accept that, willing to accept that, but the whole idea of the OTHER guy, well, that part, I wasn’t so sure about. Was there really some little red man with horns hiding around every corner, ready to do me in with his pitchfork?
Well, maybe not exactly. But I’ve come to realize that Satan is real, and He tries to mess with me every chance He gets. I try not to give him too much airtime, but the truth is, Jesus acknowledged him, and so should I. Not to give him any credit (he deserves none) but rather to keep him from overpowering me. Because the biggest weapon in his arsenal is people’s disbelief in him, pure and simple. If you don’t believe in the devil, you will be all the more open to his manipulation of you.
And one of the ways he manipulates us is to constantly remind us of our failures, even when — maybe especially when — we’re reigning over them in victory. Just when we think we’ve got that credit card problem in check, that drinking under control, the overeating whipped or the gossiping over with, we’ll find ourselves smack back dab in the middle of it. Even if it’s by proxy — because if the bastard can’t get us to participate fully with his plan, he’ll deceive us into feeling like we are by reminding us of how messed up we were back then. For those of us in Christ, he will do everything he can to keep us from living victoriously. For those of us who are not in Christ, he’ll do everything he can to keep us from knowing the beauty of what Jesus did on the cross — he’ll keep us too smart for it, too well-read, too skeptical, too reserved from the all-out, full-on, all-encompassing love that God has for you and for me.
All of that is what happened in the split seconds that followed her comment. My brain synapses went into overdrive and immediately I felt the kind of shame and self-loathing that can come only from being a completely imperfect human specimen. Even though I am victorious not because of what I’ve done but because of what Jesus has done in me, for a few minutes there, the other guy got me. He must have been giggling with glee, doing a little pitchfork dance.
But my God is all-powerful, and the war has already been won. The other guy — he’s got nothing. Jesus has everything. And for the first time in a very long time, I have flat abs.
If I’m so fat, I am fat with the pleasure of knowing a God who loves me, and who wants me to live my best life. I am plump with the possibilities of what God has in store for me. And most of all, I am so fat with the love that Jesus shows me, each and every day.