Note: This is not in anyway slamming anyone in. This is me dealing with my issues in a public forum. Of course this is just one side of the story, I am completely aware that the opposite side of the coin can be just as bad.
(Me at 9 months – look at those cheeks!)
I was born a 9.5 lb baby. I was 9 days overdue. I come from a large boned people, but those are also people who love food. And not just any food, we love good food. Homemade chicken and dumplings. Shrimp and grits. Brisket and twice baked potatoes. Don’t get me wrong, I love vegetables, but I love them even more when they are covered in flour or meal and deep fried. I grew up in a family that believed you had to clean your plate to get dessert. We stayed with my Ma and Pa in the summer while Mom worked, and they always had dessert. There was just something in me that loved food. Some experts would say it was because I was bottle fed, some would say that I have a gene that makes me overweight, others would say that I have some deep psychological issue.
(Why on earth do they make flowery fat girl clothes? Why on earth did no one stop me from wearing this? Sara I’m looking at you, you’re the one with fashion sense in our family!)
Like I said, I’ve always been fat. For a long time I couldn’t say that word, there was so much emotion tied to it. But let’s call a spade a spade. I am a fat girl. College was when I became okay with it. Since then it really hasn’t been an issue. In Kindergarten, I was roly-poly Foley, in 4th grade I was lard butt (the sad thing was I knew this was an insult because of the venom it was said with but I had no clue what lard was), and by 8th grade I had to start shopping at Lane Bryant. At 15 I was freezing Slim fast cans overnight and bringing them to school in my purse. I lost quite a bit of weight, slimming down to a size 16. Still plus sized. That’s the smallest I’ve been in 17 years. I kept the weight off for a little while, then came college, working crazy hours and eating out a lot, a horrible break up, and marrying a man who gagged at the sight of vegetables. Understand me, none of those are excuses. I made choices: horrible, bad choices.
I have felt that my whole life is controlled by my weight. I assume people are going to judge me because of it. I know people will not like me because of it. We even began to pass it on to our children. Isaac’s first table food was french fries from Wendy’s. We’re paying for that one to this day.
(Me at 16 and a size 16 with my Winter Formal date Matt Medearis, who was my go to date for any function, bless his heart!)
A year and a half ago we began the Prism diet. We made a commitment, we counted calories, we turned in our sheets and for the first time we talked honestly about weight and food in a church setting. Then Christmas came and the diet ended. I have maintained what I lost, but old bad habits have started to creep back in.
I guess my issue is the way the church has handled this problem. I don’t mean our local church, but the global community of believers.
Never in a sermon have I heard that overeating is sin. I know it is, it’s in the Bible right beside some of the things I’ve heard various sermons about. I was not born with a desire to drink myself into a stupor, but some people were. I was not born with a desire to be in sexual relationship with a person of the same gender as myself, but some people were. I was born with a desire to eat myself silly.
Until just a few days ago no one had ever tried to hold me accountable in the church with what I ate or drank. Yes, a fellow church member had confessed that they’d been making fun of me behind my back when I was 9 months pregnant with Annaliese, and in my opinion, they could have kept that confession private! I have made the commitment to not drink soda for 2012 (why would i want to? have you seen what that stuff will do to a car window?). I’ve told a few people. Well, I was at a baby shower Sunday and poured myself a big ole glass of punch not thinking about the ingredients. I sat down with a few ladies and had taken one drink when they said, you know that has Sprite in it right? And I did, I watched them make the punch, but because I don’t drink Sprite, Coke Zero is my downfall, I totally did not make the connection. So I had to make a decision: keep drinking or keep my commitment. I was very appreciative of the rebuke, I want to keep my commitment.
So I guess that’s my question, why do we preach so hard about some sins and totally ignore others? Why do we preach against the “big” ones, but the little things like over eating, overspending, gossip, slander we ignore? Why have I not been kicked out of the church for my sin? Instead, we laugh that fried chicken is the Baptist bird. Here I have one huge obvious flaw, probably more visible than if I were attracted to girls. What damage have I done to the cause of Christ by very visibly not living according to His principles? Where is my self-control? Where is my love of Christ rather than loving myself?
I think it’s pretty evident by my pant size.
But, and that is a wonderful word, Jesus promises that He makes all things new. He promises that He will give me a way out when temptation comes. He promises that I will get a second chance (and a third and a fourth). He promises that I am free from sin. Sin that He wants to keep me from, to keep me safe.