I’m Not Fat Anymore

I hate labels. Let me just go ahead and say it. I hate that we put names on people and sometimes – never take those labels off. And more than I hate that we do that to other people – I hate that we do it to ourselves. Because, let’s face it – it’s not like those labels are ever positive. And sooner or later – like an actual label that has been stuck to something for too long – trying to take it off isn’t as easy as it was putting it on.

And that is what years and years of seeing myself as ‘fat’ has done. Slowly but surely, as I tear off the remnants of that label, I start to see the person I was meant to be before labels, before descriptions, before assumptions. I begin to see me as God intended ‘me’ to be. Not skinny, not fat – just me.

{{{As I write this blog – let me precursor the fact that this is my story. I am fully aware that some of you may weigh more or less than me, and you yourself don’t at all struggle or see yourself as this. And again, you shouldn’t – the label I put on myself in my past, I am in no way trying to put on you in the present. So please, if you know yourself and as you read this you will become insecure or doubt your own beauty – stop reading it. Believe me, I’ve been there. It’s why I take ‘social media fast’ every once in a while, it’s true what they say – “comparison is the thief of joy.” And in no way would I ever want to steal your joy. So please, stop here and let me say goodbye by telling you that you are beautiful and God loves you and please, don’t put labels on yourself that you were never meant to wear.}}}

My story began in jr. high, well it honestly began on October 27, 1988 – but I’ll skip those years for time and writing space. I remember it so clearly – I was in JCPenney’s in Midland, TX. I was looking for a dress for my jr. high Valentine’s Day dance. I was more than excited – as this was the first ‘formal’ dress I had ever worn. My mom took me shopping and as we shopped, it became apparent that there were no dresses in the ‘juniors’ department that would fit me. As we ventured to the women’s department, my heart sank with every step I took. I remember thinking of my friends and knowing that they didn’t have to venture to the ‘old lady section’ to find their pretty dress. I also remember knowing that they would have dates to this dance. And ‘if only I was able to shop in the juniors department, maybe I would have a date too.’ You see, just like that I began putting a label on myself. (undateable)

As we tried on dress after dress, tears began welling up in my eyes. As did my mothers. She only wanted me to see myself as beautiful as she saw me – as does every mother. But I couldn’t. You see, in those moments I realized the damage I had done to my physical body, were all apart of internal wounds. I had eaten for years before to hide the pain of the past. To somehow cover up what those boys had done, and do what only what I knew to do to make sure it never happened again. Because if I was fat and ugly, maybe they wouldn’t touch me again. And in that dressing room in west Texas over 12 years ago, I remember sticking that label on me as I voiced these words to my mother: “Mom, I’m just too fat.”

In the years that followed, I took to a treacherous cycle of eating to throw up – and then eventually, to not eating at all. As I look back at pictures (some you will see below), the sickness that I thought was so hidden – wasn’t at all. Many of my high school classmates became aware of this in my senior year, when I collapsed during a basketball game. It was there that my coach took me aside, and let’s just say, gave me a verbal butt whooping. In his eyes, I remember not only seeing tears – but true hurt and pain. He knew what I was going through and knew the only way to get me to stop, was to open my eyes to what this label had blinded me from. In the most loving way, he began expressing how though I had thought what I was doing was only affecting me – was really affecting so many more. And this is what we do – we think these labels we put on our self are only affecting us – but they are not. They affect your friends, family, co-workers, classmates, husbands, wives, and the legacy you choose to leave. Because the label you put on yourself only covers up the person that God intended you to be.

In those weeks and months that followed the collapse, more people paid more attention to what and how much I ate. It was a struggle for a long time, and took my mom years to stop asking me if I had ate every time I talked to her on the phone. You see, I was blind to people caring about me because in those years of self-abuse, I put on another label. I covered it up for years and tried to call it humility – but it was not, it was pride. And it was me believing I was unworthy. It was me choosing to believe a lie, a label – instead of what God says as true.

Throughout college and the few years after, I would gain weight, then lose it, then gain it again. And even in the last 6 months, I am now down almost 20 pounds. You see, these labels I put on myself at age 13 and 16 and beyond, though now have been mostly torn off by the daily renewal of my mind – have left remnants of those labels behind. And every once in a while, the enemy comes in and just gouges those past wounds and reveals the stickiness of the label that had at one point, been who I saw myself as.

And the enemy did just that this past weekend. Living through one of the top 5 most amazing weekends of my life, I found those thoughts find their way from my mind to my heart. And for the past 48 hours I’ve repeated truth over and over in my mind to try and, metaphorically, scrape away the last remnants of those labels. I don’t want them anymore. The young girl at 13 in me cries tears of exhaustion praying for the day when the 26 year old me will just be happy with who God made her to be. She screams at the enemy telling him to get away and stop with the taunts of comparison, insecurity, doubt, and hellish lies that he so desperately wants her to believe. And the 26 year old me, with tears of just as much exhaustion running down her cheeks, holds her hands open and pleads for her loving Heavenly Father to come and restore her identity, to tell her she’s beautiful, and to lavish her with words of truth and a filling of joy.

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” Romans 2:2a (NLT)

And as I did just that this morning – the Lord sweetly and softly whispered to me, “You’re not the only one.” So, that is why I write this blog – to not only declare in writing freedom, but hopefully – to help you begin the road to freedom from labels yourself.

What labels have you put on yourself?

What caused those labels to be put there? Do you need to speak to someone about it?

Which ones have been torn off, but you find yourself still struggling with those deprecating thoughts?

As you answer these questions – and the Lord begins to reveal the answers and your identity – I pray you accept the voice of beauty that is trying so hard to break through those taunts and lies of the enemy. As I work to do this just the same, slowly we will together, replace those sticky labels – with eternal identities. Identities that will not dishearten, but empower. Identities that do not come to steal joy – but instill life. Identities that will never leave you feeling less than – but one that will always, always leave you with your cup running over.

The 13 year old in me is smiling with sweet relieving tears of joy now running down her cheeks – praising God for truth, for life, for forgiveness, and for the beauty that is so evidently in her. Though my weight may continually change while I do my best to live a healthy lifestyle – my prayer is that the remnants of the labels of my past would not find its way to replace the eternal identity I have received. And anytime the enemy comes to try and remind me of what was, I can declare with authority from Jesus Christ that, “I’m not fat anymore. For I am beautifully, strategically, perfectly – His.”

My sweet sisters and God’s radiant daughters – will you tear the labels off with me? And together, declare with me – “I’m not ­­­­­­­­­­______ anymore.”

[I put these pictures below as a depiction of my journey. Before filters, before anything – it’s the journey of yours truly becoming who I now am. Jessica Marie – beautifully and forever, His.]

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2 thoughts on “I’m Not Fat Anymore

  1. Hi, my 2 hour friend! This is a beautiful & heartfelt story of truth and His redemption. I am so blessed to have stumbled across this. Thank you for blessing me.

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