Just as an extra bite of information, I started writing this as I ate a Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate Protein Bar.
I am a big woman.
Now, I am not so big of a woman that a random dad would make comments to his family on how big of a woman I am… for days and days, and weeks, and years after… Which my dad may or may not have done; okay, he did. No, he was not commenting on my size, but on a random woman we saw in a restaurant. She was probably over 6 feet and 6 inches tall and around 250 pounds. To my dad’s eyes, and to the eyes of my family, she was a big woman. Her size was noticeable to my family, but I come from a big family, so “big,” to us, would have to be a man over 6 feet and 8 inches tall and over 300 pounds or a woman over 6 feet tall and over 250 pounds.
As I take a step back and look at those numbers, I realize that another person’s definition of “big” might be a man that is 6 feet tall and 180 pounds and a woman that is 5 feet and 8 inches tall and 130 pounds. So, basically, to that kind of person, my whole family, including myself, would be seen as big people; an unusually “large” family. It’s sort of crazy to think about the difference in people’s perceptions. Depending on the size of your family, your friends, or your class, your perceptions of size can be greatly influenced. One person’s, “fat,” might be another person’s, “big boned,” “broad,” or “buff.” One person’s, “too skinny,” might be another person’s, “fat.” One person’s, “in-shape,” might be another person’s, “freak.”
I am quite a bit taller than the average woman, so most of my female friends are shorter than me, and quite a few of my male friends are shorter than me. But I have to confess that I don’t notice until I try to take a selfie with them. My hand usually holds the camera, since I have the advantage in that area. And then, when I look at the picture, I suddenly see what other people see, just for a moment; I am a big woman. At least, when I put myself beside some of my friends, I would say I am a big woman, but some people may call me fat, in-shape, skinny, really tall, obese, etc.; it all depends on their pre-programmed perceptions.
The whole point I am getting to is this, being big has never really fazed me. I like being tall, and I have wanted to weigh less, but I haven’t gotten too hung up on that side of things. I don’t spend my life in front of a mirror, pointing out and listing my perceived flaws; I unapologetically live tall and live big. Nothing I say or do can really change how people perceive my size, so I really don’t care about critiques on my physique.
Have I seen my size as a deterrent to male attention? No. Sometimes, I get more attention than I want; mostly because my size makes me stand out in most crowds. But most attention I receive from men is entirely unwanted. Now, attention that leads to pure pursuit of my heart? I have not experienced much of that, and it may be due, in part, to my size. But, honestly, I have not delved too much into physical aspects of myself that would deter attention from godly men. Instead, I like to focus on Jesus; how He wants me to be, and what He is doing in my life. Instead of being caricature-driven, I am characteristic-driven; seeking to produce fruits of the Spirit that would ultimately define me as beautiful and strong in heart and soul. In other words, I seek to be more like Jesus.
When I was fairly young, I heard a talk about the difference between a teen girl’s diary in the early 1900s and a teen girl’s diary today. Today, the diary focused on outward appearance, how that girl wanted to become prettier, more popular, and she wanted to get more friends by becoming prettier and more popular. But the girl from the early 1900s, her entries focused on developing positive virtues; how she needed to be more kind, loving, and gentle. She did not describe her physical characteristics or obsess about her appearance, she focused on the aspects of herself that directly affected her friends and family, and that would last when all natural beauty failed. I have remembered that illustration for years, and it has inspired me not to focus on outward appearance, but on matters of the heart, where true beauty, or ugliness, resides and wherefrom true beauty, or ugliness, shines forth. That is not to say that I have always adhered to the ideology of developing inner beauty first, or that I have not been overcome at one time or another with jealousy of another’s looks. I am a work in progress, learning what it means to be content and to rejoice both in the way God has made me and in the ministry He has given me. So, you could say that I am writing this as description of who I currently am, and who I pray I will continue to be; relying on Christ in me and not on what I put on or take off.
I am a big woman, but what is that to you? Today, I am working out my faith, holding Jesus as my banner and the definer of my being. He alone has the highest right to call me what He wants, because He calls me who I truly am, which is not influenced by what I look like or what others say. He calls me daughter, beauty, blessed, saved, held, strong, righteous, and loved. By His blood, I have been healed and made new. This big and tall work of God rests in the hands of a Mighty King. Therefore, knowing that I am the King’s daughter and heir, how should I be treated?
I realize that those who are not heirs of the King are not accountable for their actions. There is still hope for their souls to be saved, but their actions will be sinful until such a time as they turn to Jesus. However, for those who have committed their lives to Christ, their lives should change. They should love as Jesus loved; loving the unbeliever in Jesus’ name and loving fellow believers as brothers and sisters in Christ. This love is not lessened by the number of zits, a number on a scale, miles logged, or weights on a bar. This love is defined by the One Who first loved us, Jesus. He does not love according to our outward appearance, or even according to what we have done; He loves because of Who He is. And His love transforms those who receive His love into beautiful and holy masterpieces; that is the kind of love I wait and hold out for. Of course, I will be a friend to anyone and love them as Jesus loves, but as a daughter of the King, I have no reason to settle for a shadow of love, when I have the real thing in my heart. For me, I cannot be a best friend to someone or their lifelong companion if Christ is not in the center, the focus, and the definer of the relationship.
Being loved by God is something that cannot be earned, but it is freely given. And being made beautiful or handsome is not earned through works or losing weight, it is only given to those of a humble and contrite heart, who bow before God and follow His Word (Isaiah 66:1-2). It is easy to get discouraged in the pursuit of beauty when the mirror keeps telling you that you are not good enough, so stop looking at the mirror. Seriously, what reason do you have to respect an inanimate object that only comes to life when it reflects somethings God has made? Look at Jesus. In His eyes, the most important aspect of you is whether you have repented of your sin and sought Christ’s forgiveness. And if you are forgiven, then you are in God’s hand, you have been made new, and you are loved, beautiful, handsome, strong, righteous, blessed, saved, held, and heir to the Heavenly Kingdom. All the things you have become are due to Christ in you. He is the hope in you, the life in you, and the purpose in you. Surely, Jesus is enough, no matter what you think the mirror says and no matter what that big screen says. Let Jesus tell you who you are. Believe in Him. Let Him use you for His glorious purpose, and make you into the man or woman that He has called you to be; a blessed son or daughter after His own heart.
I am a big woman, but I choose to focus on, and be defined by, a greater truth: I am a daughter of the King.
Thank You, Jesus, for the truth that You are working in this world today; that Your hands are forming beautiful men and women after Your own heart. There are so many that have not bent their knees to media or to sin, but there are also so many that have yet to repent and run to You. All too soon, this world will crumble and fade, so I pray that the blind and deaf will have their eyes and ears opened; that they may see You in Your Word and in Your people; that they may call You Savior and Friend before they lose the ability to breathe the oxygen that You have made and sustained. Thank You for making each one of us as we are, and giving us the ability to cast off the parts of ourselves that you have not made: lust and pride. Please be glorified within and through every son and daughter of Yours. May we see ourselves, and each other, as You see us; loving as You love, and discerning the true nature of the heart. Oh, how I love You, Jesus. Thank You for being the greatest example of Beauty, Strength, and Love; an example that I am only able to follow because You saved me. Amen and Amen.
Men and women, we are not objects, we are image bearers; Christ in us, the hope of glory. If you do not respect and reverence the Creator God, then you cannot truly appreciate His handiwork, much less the handiwork that is made in His image. When you look in the mirror, what do you see? A slave? A picture in a magazine or on a screen? No, but it is your own face staring back at you; a living, breathing, purposefully created human being. You are intended for so much more than being used by the undeserving. God, in His mercy, has given you life, but you have a choice to be a slave to the world, or to be a child of God. Please, let Him define you, not words or pictures on a screen. Jesus loves you, cares for you, and knows the depths of your soul. You are precious in His sight. Isaiah 43:4 Repent, trust in Jesus, and He will show you what it means to be loved. And you will be able to boldly proclaim, "I am not a slave! I am a child of the King!" #precious #loved #Godbreathed #redeemed