As many times as I have been to summer camps as a camper, counselor, and dishwasher, I know enough about camping with teenagers to know some things. And it’s inevitable that every time I go, God speaks. Little did I know that I needed to really be the learning camper girl over the adulting camper girl.
At summer camp, when with a bunch of preteens or teenagers for a week coupled with multiple showers, random underwear and emotions are all flowing, it’s in those times you really lean in to hear.
Imagine God bending down right now and asking you “What can I do for you?” That’s the way He comes with a willingness to hear from you. My response to God surprised me a little after His initial opening. We simply chatted though one of those summer afternoons in a really quiet spot. I asked if He could show me what He liked about me, my body, and the image that was made in His likeness. I was astounded. I didn’t get the answer I was expecting and it came through my friend Kat who is losing weight too.
“I don’t like the way you are treating my friend Janelle.” I teared up a little. She was right I’ve not been kind to me. I might have been a little too hard on myself, quite honestly I have been a little strict on my regime. It’s because I know the cost of a gain. And I don’t want to go back to where I was…ever. No seriously ever, never, never.
The constant battle in our minds with those of us who have a lot of weight to lose is this: “Do we have what it takes to stay at or around our goal?” Personally this has been a HUGE fear that God has revealed. You just don’t know the thought processes of a chubby girl’s mind unless you have been there yourself. Fear comes dressed in all kinds of sizes and the Enemy knows exactly which button to push to get you to think about food, eat something with a lot of regret later, and worse yet push you to binge for a week on absolutely everything that is not healthy or green.
Kat reassured me that I could let up on myself a little. She was right again. How could I possibly love me like He loves me knowing what I had eaten or crammed down out of stress or guilt or flat out pleasure? God really hit it home when I asked my question of Him. There is something that we tend to believe about God is that He doesn’t really care about how we treat our bodies says my new blogger friend Laura, she was right too! Nothing could be further from the truth. Our bodies are a house in which His Spirit dwells, moves and has a life inside of us. There is something about the lie of false humility that leads us on a path of self-depreciation but leaves us feeling super spiritual to think less of ourselves.
There is also something about growing up without the verbal affirmations of a father that somehow and ironically transfers to our Heavenly Daddy to make us think that God feels the same about us as we attach to those “loser” feelings of value and self-worth. I am writing a book and dedicating a whole chapter on the emotions that come with gaining weight and losing weight and everything in between.
Back to my summer chat with God. He gently reminded me to show His full love to others, I had to receive His full love for my body including all my wrinkles, crinkles, and unmentionable parts too. His house that is on the inside of me and you. To experience His fullness, I had to grip the reality that His love is the kind of love that dwells from within is enough to cover my years and years of mistreatment and abuse by food to my own personal piece of property.
I am His and He is mine. We have ownership rights. From that day forward I vowed to appreciate myself in a new ways that helped me see God’s bigger picture of who I really am. This is a process friends and doesn’t come overnight, but I am being kinder to me, once God lined it all out for me and took time to explain it in a way that really helped me. And it all happened in the middle of overloaded hormones and sweaty pre-teens pits. Appropriate homework at my adult age that I missed from my summer camp lessons.
God thinks more about me and you in ways that you can’t imagine. We can’t comprehend the deep love He has for us how He shines His glorious light when we let His love engulf us. When the rigid walls come down from the inside out, it was like a soft gentle, healing rain upon my scarred over heart. God even showed His sense of humor, as I was stationed in the snack bar all week. I never touched so many sweaty palms and was met with so much indecision as I was this summer. I was surrounded with all kinds of temptations and treats that could send me into a sugar coma that would last all the way next year and God gave me a way out of each and every temptation.
To know God’s love for others, you have to fully realize His love for you and inside of you. If you are alive right now and breathing you have so much to be grateful for and still have plenty of chances to make some smart changes that will get you back on the right track. The truth is God does care about you, each and every detail of you. You are fearfully and wonderfully woven by His design to have the body you have. So love you and stop beating yourself to a prison that keeps you comparing to others. It’s a liberating way of experiencing true and unmeasurable freedom, and I promise you will never be the same.
For extra encouragement, read Psalm 139.