I was eighteen when I bought my first car. Paid for it with my own hard-earned cash. My life just getting started. The world was at my fingertips. What might I accomplish? There was nothing stopping me from the potential everyone said I had. Nothing that was keeping me from going after the dreams that burned so brightly within me. Nothing except my weight.
I can still remember the thoughts that went through my head. Pictures were no fun, mirrors the enemy. Both spoke poisonous thoughts in my mind, that spread like a slow-growing disease. I listened to these thoughts. They were so easy to hear. The physical, outward weight was enough to make things hard, but the weight I felt inside grew with each passing day. Nothing satisfied. Nothing, except food. Food was the drug that made it all fade away. It hushed the berating tones of my own self-conscious who accused me of not living up to everyone’s expectations. It made me forget, if just for a moment, that I might be more accepted if I wasn’t so big. If I wasn’t overweight, maybe I’d feel more loved. By others. By myself. But no matter how many times I tried to lose the weight the words I told myself just never let me go: You’re fat.
I carried those words around for years. Wondering who else thought them. Wondering who else was saying them under their breath, or to a friend once my back was turned. Those words were the filter of most of my interactions with people. I was never really able to be myself, because in my mind the question kept bouncing around like a little fly needing attention: “Do they think I’m fat?”
It wasn’t until much later in life, that I realized I was living under a lie. No, the lie was not “You’re Fat!”–that was actually true. The lie that I’d been believing for years was that, “I’m fat, and therefore I’m not whole.” I’m missing something. There’s something wrong with me. I’m not a true person.–Those are lies.
Realizing that I was living under lies was half the battle but it took me another few years to find out how to overcome them…
As I think back on it now, I’m shocked at how my thoughts had such a strong effect on my actions. I believed I was fat, therefore, I would overeat, not exercise, or at least cut corners if I did.
My perception of myself became my reality, and I plunged down a destructive spiral that I felt powerless to stop.
Until I realized. I was not fat. I was merely stuck in a fat person’s body. Anna, the real Anna was not this overweight, depressed girl who didn’t see a way out. She was joyful, full of life, full of love, an encourager, energetic! But stuck. How was I going to push through? How was I going to become on the outside, what I knew I was on the inside?
The answer: TRUTH.
For too long, I lived in this lie: “You’re fat, therefore you’re not whole. No one likes you. No one wants to be around you.” I thought it was true, so it became true. But once I started changing my thinking, other things started to change as well.
I realized I was living a lie, so to overcome that lie, I had to find truth. And where better to find truth, than the Truth itself?
I dove into the scriptures, finding truths that directly countered the lies I believed about myself.
I’m fat, I’m ugly—> “The King is enthralled with my beauty, honor Him for He is your Lord!”–Psalm 45:11
No one likes me, no one wants to be around me—> “I have chosen you to be my special treasure.”–Deuteronomy 7:6
Any time the lie would hit, I would have a truth ready to do battle. It was hard at first. Sometimes it felt like I would take one step forward, and two steps back. But I trudged forward, knowing I had to change my thinking. Pretty soon, believing truth became like second nature to me. I walked in the confidence of His truth, and soon the lies slowly fell away, and with them, the weight. I slowly became on the outside what I knew I was on the inside. His truth changed me from the inside out! Now, I continue to walk in truth, doing battle against the lies that come my way.
What about you? Do you believe the truth about yourself, or are you spiraling down a deadly cycle you feel powerless to stop? Maybe you don’t even struggle with weight, like I did, but you face an equally difficult lie, an insecurity that holds you back. Do you want to be free? The truth will set you free.