Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
Psalm 139:13-14a MSG
I have struggled with my weight, body issues, and eating disorders since I was a teenager. At my highest weight, I was what the Doctors term “morbidly obese.” At my lowest, I was borderline malnourished causing some of my bodily functions to cease working properly. I was the queen of extremes.
While the term “body shaming” hadn’t been invented when I was an adolescent, we still had cruel people who made fun of others whose body was different from theirs. I was never body shamed by any other person, except for my own inner critic. My own self-talk about all the things wrong with my body was as cruel as it got. I could tear myself down in the blink of an eye.
I used to stare at myself in the mirror saying, “You fat little fu@*er!”
So, you can imagine my utter disbelief when I read the Scripture verse above. The idea that I was “marvelously made” was ludacris, in my opinion at least. God had obviously gotten that all wrong when it came to me. Me, marvelously made? Never.
But as I continued to read that Scripture over and over again, hoping that if I read it enough I might actually, possibly start believing it. I noticed that it said that God created my inside first, then my outside. God started by creating the most important part of us (our insides) then I built our outsides around that inner foundation. God, looks at our insides, our hearts not our bodies. He doesn’t love us less if we have to wear plus size clothing. And guess what, He doesn’t love us more when we are a small size either.
My clothing sizes have ranged from a size 2 to a size 24, yet God has loved me exactly the same at all those sizes. The person whose love has fluctuated with my sizes is me. The larger my clothing size the larger portion of hate I direct at myself. But here is the thing, I didn’t love myself anymore when I was a smaller size. I just hated myself less.
The simple fact is that unless I could accept the truth in God’s Word that says that I am marvelously made and receive His unconditional love, I was never going to be able to love myself. My feelings would simply remain running up and down the gamut of the hate spectrum.
Over the past several years, Jesus has really been working on my insides. He has been helping me redefine my definition of marvelously made. He has been opening my eyes to the fact that He loves me because I am His daughter. His love is not based on my performance or my appearance. He loves me because He is love.
Somedays, I still struggle with the idea that I am marvelously made, I don’t always feel marvelously made, but God says I am. And God does not lie. So, I am going to choose to believe Him over my inner critic. Those days when I don’t feel all that marvelous, I am going to look at myself in the mirror then pray that Scripture above.
If you are struggling with body image issues or body shaming, I invite you to join me in changing the narrative. Let’s take a moment to look at ourselves in the mirror saying, “Thank you God for creating me from the inside out. Body and soul, I am marvelously made.”
The image above is one of my characters, Cora Danvers, from my yearlong visual storytelling project. People are constantly telling her, “You could be so pretty if you would just lose weight.” However, Cora’s parents have both told her for as long as she can remember that she is beautiful. And she believes them. She is a victim of body shaming at school and on social media, but it bothers her best friend more than it does Cora. She is comfortable in her own skin. Her grandmother gave her a framed cross-stitched Scripture verse that hangs on the wall of Cora’s bedroom that reads, “Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! Psalm 139:13-14a” Cora reads it every morning before she goes to school.
Until next time blessings and healing