THOUGHTS: 1. the products of mental activity 2. The act or the process of thinking; cogitation. A product of thinking, such as an idea. The faculty of thinking or reasoning. 3. a consideration or reflection
QUEEN: 1. a woman, or something personified as a woman, that is foremost or preeminent in any respect; the best of her kind 2. a female sovereign...descended from or related to a king or line of kings 3. noting or having the rank of a king or queen
I am plus-size. Not "politically-correct-she-can-still-pass" plus-size. Like, legitimately plus-size.
My dress size has been a "teen" since I was a teen.
Some would say curvy, and I'd agree with them (thanks mom!). Others would say fat. And that's okay, too. It's not a swear word, people (but you can feel free to insert size-related euphemism here).
Because of this, the assumption most of my life has been:
1. I am overweight because 75% of my check goes to McDonald's and BK, and I am lazy and unhealthy
2. Because my body does not match the narrow definition of beauty, I must have a deep desire to be thinner and therefor have a dissatisfaction with my body as it is now
3. I can have success in other areas of my life, but as long as I am this size I am failing somehow. I must be unhappy deep down inside.
4. I must lose weight in order to be attractive enough to find love
These narratives are *so* far from the truth and it is exhausting to feel like I have to wake up every day and justify my existence in this body. I am tired of feeling like I have to apologize for how much space I take up. I am tired of people being offended by my audacity to be and feel beauty despite my body, or even more, because of my body.
I mean at this rate, if superwoman was thickums even she'd be undesirable and un-marryable!
So NO...I don't work out every day. YES cookies are my Achilles Heel. YES, I am so much of a foodie that I start thanking God for taste-buds when the flavor is just that good (hallelujah). YES I love cooking, and (gasp) I like eating!
NO, I don't eat whenever I'm feeling emotional. NO, I don't drink soda...I don't even drink juice that has not been diluted. NO, I don't eat fast food. Why YES, I have impeccable blood pressure and cholesterol (I mean really, it's quite amazing). INDEED, I detox my body with super clean eating every few months just to stay on track. YES, I love to dance and play tennis even though my tri-sport varsity days are over. And I have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and the hormonal imbalance has a direct impact on my weight, as it does for a majority of women with the condition.
If I was a size 6 and said all these things, no one would care. But because I'm plus-size, people feel the need to assume that I hate my body, that I have no understanding or desire to make healthy choices, and that there is no way I could be happy with the way that I look.
But here is the thing: I have realized that I am perfectly fine with my body AS IT IS, and that is okay! It is okay to not feel like the need to drastically modify my body. I spent most of my life grappling with this overwhelming pressure that told me I had to want to change the way that I looked. By default, being fat meant being unworthy (unworthy of happiness, unworthy of affection, unworthy of unconditional love and acceptance, unworthy of success, unworthy of self-appreciation, ETC). The only way to be worthy was to be thinner and as flawlessly packaged as possible. As much as I love to have that "nails/hair/clothes errthang did" feeling, I started to feel like I was a slave to it; as if I HAD to be on to compensate for my size. Because I began to internalize people's projections, I started to picture a photoshopped version of myself as the only version that would be deserving of the kinds of things I had dreamed of. I can't tell you how many times I heard "you would be so pretty if..." or "you'd have such a nice shape is you lost some weight". I am so tired of unsolicited diet advice, backwards compliments, and sideways comments (Note: Anytime you start a statement with "you're pretty for a _________", YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG!).
Finally, I realize at 25 that I was trying to subscribe to OTHER PEOPLE'S STANDARDS OF BEAUTY AND OTHER PEOPLE'S DISCOMFORT WITH MY BODY. I tried to take on that burden for myself. I felt I had to. But you know what? I don't have to, and I won't. That's not really my truth.
Stop mixing up health with the incarcerating confines of media-perpetrated beauty standards. Don't police my body under the guise of you "just want me to be healthy" when in reality, my physician isn't complaining and I'm not that unhealthy. I'm just not skinny and that makes so many people uncomfortable. The fact that I am okay with that makes them even more uncomfortable.
Welp. I'm not here to make people comfortable! I'm busy trying to love myself.
Let's be honest here. Are there days where all my flaws mock me in the mirror? Are there moments where I wish some areas were smaller and other areas bigger? If I said no, I'd be lying. Of course there are those days, because I am human! I'm allowed to have those feelings every so often without defining my existence by them.
And are there healthier choices I could make? ABSOLUTELY! And I am working on that. I want to be the BEST version of myself so that I can give God my best. I want to be my best for my future children. I could totally work out more, drink more water, eat more clean. BUT my motivation is not so that I can have the type of physical attributes that society deems acceptable. It is not to get thinner. It is not so that my future husband can find me attractive. My motivation is me! I cannot tell you how liberating that is.
I have done away with the notion that everything I do has to be in terms of meeting people's ideals.
"Hit the gym ladies! No man wants a butterball"
"Take care of that hair, fix those nails, clear up that skin...no man wants to marry a mess!"
"Are you sure you want to eat that? You should be your prettiest on your wedding day, not your heaviest"
"You should learn to take care of the home and finances. That'll make a good wife."
I am all about presenting yourself in excellence, especially if you want excellence from a mate! There is nothing wrong with that and any body who knows me well knows this is true. I am also all for constant growth. However, I have developed this crazy notion of pursuing greatness because I deserve to be great and God called me to be great...not solely because greatness is what a good man wants. We tell women to be well rounded because It benefits a man as opposed to encouraging it because a well rounded woman is an awesome thing to be! I don't think we can ever reach our full potential while our self-perception is so greatly dependent upon the acceptance of males. Male-approval can not be the hinge on which our lives swing. That significance belongs to Jesus alone. The only validation worth having is the one from God. And He ALREADY declared that you are magnificently made, you are all-together lovely, you are miraculously forgiven, and you are worth dying for.
Feeling summertime fine back when I was 21
So yes, I can be great at a size 16. I don't have to wait until I change _______ to be deserving of love.
How about instead of trying to conform, we focus on transforming? And what if we bettered ourselves for ourselves instead of appeasing others? What if we loved ourselves as we are and didn't apologize for our imperfections?
No more hoping my personality, clothing, or pretty face will compensate for my waistline. No more weight-loss resolutions founded in superficiality. No more giving people power they have no right to have. This is MY body. It's the only one I've got. Jesus lives here. It shouldn't be so revolutionary for me to love myself as I am. It shouldn't be a radical idea for me to think that the person God plans for me to spend forever with will find me stunning, even without losing 60 lbs. Even with stretchmarks. Even with flaws.
Hey, I already do. I will not be apologizing for acknowledging my wonder any time soon.
From my 25th Birthday Party on 7.18.15
Love, Compassion, Royalty
P.S. Check out This Previous Post which was a response God gave me after a prayer a couple years ago.
1/4 of a century.
Half-way to 50.
Two and a half decades old.
To those in the first decade or two of life, it seems a lot like the last few days before the expiration date on the milk carton of youth. It seems dangerously close to that moment in growing up where removing the "young" before "adult" is necessary. It can feel like the shiny wrapping of your 20's has begun to fade and unravel, almost without warning. It can feel like a very relevant realization that you aren't 17 anymore, and your dreams will never wake from their slumber unless you relentlessly pursue their awakening. The luxury of living as though wishing was enough expired along with my 21 year old driver's license. This is not a dress rehearsal. Real life is happening NOW.
25 is more close to 30 than I've ever been. It makes me ponder how alarmingly fast adulthood snuck into my space-time continuum, and how overrated full time adulting can feel. It is safe to say that this is NOT what I expected of my mid twenties. Truly, I miss the days before Sallie Mae started calling me like a jealous boyfriend, before National Grid filled my mailbox like a nostalgic lover, before the days seemed so long and the years felt so short.Most days, I feel like I am so bad at being grown up. I may still have mental bruises from beating myself up so much. Actually, I feel like I should still be finishing phrases like "when I grow up"... yet I simultaneously feel like I am past due for a successful business and changed last name. I want a bowl of captain crunch and a healthy 401K at the same time. A ring pop and a diamond ring. Is that too much to ask?
Yet and still, many on the far end of 25 see this age as the prime-time. If life is a feature length film, we are still in the preview years. Still too wet behind the ears to know much of anything. And as whimsically awkward as this season is, I would have to agree with them. In all the knowledge and wisdom I've acquired, the truth remains that I'm a young thang and I don't know much, all things considered. Lord willing, there is still so much life to live, so much of myself to learn, so much of my vision to actualize, so much more to do for the Kingdom. And it's all too exciting. I'm anxious and hopeful at the same time. It's like the feeling I get when I'm on a roller coaster that is creeping up the incline, right before the drop. It's the butterflies...a concoction of apprehension and anticipation swirling in my stomach right before that moment of adrenaline and exhilaration. There is so much to discover.
25 is magnificent because I know I wasn't supposed to make it here. There are so many moments, so many circumstances, so many monsters that tried to consume me, whole. So many things that tried to leave holes, and chew me bone and soul. I bled, I cracked, but I did not break. And I feel like reaching 25 with hope still stirring and joy still sprouting is a marvelous victory. I feel like I cheated death. Like every time optimism still kisses my thoughts, like every day I wake up smiling, like every time I choose to trust God's promise, I am sticking it to Satan. I owe it to Christ to live fully, to live with fire and fervor and heart. To live with gratitude. To give honor to His grace by chasing Him. To live on purpose, everyday.
The thing is there are still many things I thought I'd be better at by now and I am not any more perfect than I was at 24, or 23, or 22. But I am being perfected. And I am getting better at embracing that process. In the interim, my skin feels better on me. My gifts feel better in me. My love looks more and more like me, and I'm giving it more and more like Jesus.
Over the next few weeks, I'm going to share some revelations reaching 25 has afforded me. Let's be real. I'm still figuring this job thing out, I have *real* debt, I talk too much, I still don't have a legit laundry schedule, I need to improve my time management, and I forget to eat at least one day a week. CLEARLY, I have not "arrived" and do not plan on pretending as if I have. Ya'll, I'm still just trying to get there. But I'm learning to accept my bumpy, winding, windy, wonderful road. It's rough terrain but my oh my, what a breathtaking view. I hope you stick with me for the ride.
Expect mistakes. Expect miracles. Expect the beauty of where they collide....and so the journey begins.
HELLO READERS! This is my first post in a VERY long time! I have missed you. And God would not stop the gentle tug on my heart to return to this blog. It feels as though a lifetime has happened since then. Over time with the leading of the Lord, I will slowly unhash lessons I have learned along the way. This post is about...
(and boy have I had my share of this recently).
Matthew 18:21-22 (NKJV)Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
Isaiah 43:25 (NKJV)"I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins. Whoa. Heavy right? This is an area many of us struggle with. The following is a revelation God gave me while reading the book of Genesis. Many people know the story, but if you don't it's cool. The following is a short and shallow synopsis, so make sure to read the book of Genesis for full context. See, Jacob was a very blessed man who had a habit of trickery. His name even means "Supplanter". Eventually, God molds him into a devoted man of honor, but he does some dishonorable things along the way. One of those things was fool his twin brother Esau out of his birthright and blessing (this wasn't 2015 y'all...once that thing was given and declared, it could not be undone). Blessings and birthrights were no minor thing. This completely impacts the entire course of Esau's life. Esau was MAD y'all. And heartbroken. He threatened to KILL his brother! The fear of Esau's vengeance haunted Jacob his entire life! After many years, it is time for Jacob to return home. Jacob was riddled with immense anxiety. We pick up at the point of the story where the two brothers meet for the very first time, face to face.
Jacob says to Esau
"Please accept my present...for I have seen your face, and it is like seeing the face of God"
His forgiveness in the face of life altering offense, his humble graciousness to the blood who betrayed him, his genuine outpouring of love to the wrongful party...it was more than just saying "it's okay, brother". It was an act of authenticforgivenesswhere he thoroughly forfeited his right to be angry, where love replaced every residue of resentment ...and it changed Jacob's life. It was bigger than Esau, it was an opportunity for Jacob to experience the love of God through someone else.
This is after Jacob is overtaken by the throes of fear. He prepares for war, attempts to ward off conflict with gifts...pleads with God for mercy before facing the brother he wronged.
Then something miraculous and beautiful happens.The angry and rageful countenance of Esau that Jacob remembers utterly dissipates when the image of his brother's tear streaked face replaces it, and Jacob is engulfed in a heartfelt embrace.
Micah 7:18 (NIV)Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.
Suddenly, the gift Jacob prepared is no longer a gimmick to keep an old familial foe at bay. Suddenly, the gift is an offering of gratitude, for the things that Jacob received that day are incomparable in value.
He gained his brother back.
He obtained mercy from his brother.
But he also obtained grace from God.
He implores Esau to please receive his humble offering. He is undone by Esau's acceptance. He compares the face of his twin brother to the face of God. Wow.
I've heard and read this story plenty of times. And It has always been about Jacob.
Today, it was about Esau.
The immense level of hurt caused is part of what made this moment mean so much.
It's so difficult to grasp the truth of a God who genuinely forgives the wretchedness sin has made of us. Especially when it's something so rare amidst our everyday relationships. But maybe God allows His disciples to endure offense so the offender can experience true forgiveness. Maybe, If they encounter a blotting out of transgression from an imperfect human they can see, they will know the true source is a perfect, merciful God they can't see.
Matthew 6:14 (JUB)For if ye set men free their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also set you free
So yes, Jacob saw God's forgiving heart towards him through the radically changed heart of his brother.
Chew on that for a moment. Maybe God is beseeching us to forgive not only to free us, but so that someone else can see the face of God.
Daniel 9:9 (NIV)The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him
Colossians 3:13 (NIV) Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
~Love, Compassion, Royalty~
P.S. Are there any situations where you've had to forgive a deeply painful offense? Have you ever needed forgiveness from a major offense? Feel free to share your experiences or revelations with forgiveness with me!
In case you missed it, this is the 2nd half of a two-part post responding to THIS ARTICLE.
Take a moment to read the article and the first half of the post PART 1...
All caught up? Okay, great!
This article and the last post are basically about responding to trivial romantic pursuits as Christian women...and how to identify the Godly ones.
As evident in the last post, clearly, I've experienced involvements that lacked genuine pursuit, intention, or integrity. One of the ways this article blessed me was helping me to realize what the presence of pursuit, intention, and integrity looks like once some one gets to likin' lil ol' me.
The gentleman pursuing me meets most...okay, probably all of the criteria highlighted in the article (at this point):
HE LOVES JESUS, is full of the Holy Spirit, and honoring God is his focus
He prays consistently
He serves God; in everyday life and in his church, faithfully
He's accountable to his leadership
"Did he declare his intent decisively, treating you in a way that values your time and attention above his?" YES
"Is he leading in the relationship? Is he checking on you, checking in with you? Is he setting goals, setting boundaries, and continuing to express that intent?" YES
Is he a man who "wants to gain your trust through appropriate, Godward affirmation and honesty, not empty romantic blather."? Is he a man who "wants to be accountable to his circle and to yours, and one who puts your well-being and comfort above his own."? YES & YES
Is he a man who "in its place, knows how to show a sweet emotional attachment? It’s a risk for him to put himself out there, but one he should be willing to take." YES
Yes, thus far he has been consistent. Yet I have come to realize my walls are much higher than I knew, and it took someone genuinely trying to scale them for me to realize it. I realize the damage from trivial pursuits, selfish manipulation, abuse, and emotional mishandling in the past is deeper than I knew. I am used to flowery words enthusiastically declared with no follow through. I'm used to being told what I wanted to hear so men could get what they wanted. Now, the delicate balance between shielding my heart in wisdom and functioning in fear is a hard thing to manage. I think I clumsily walk the line.
I seek God's direction and approval with earnest, and I think reading this article, along with being prayerful, helped me to realize that maybe I can loosen the clamp on my heart a tad. Safety is in Christ, not an overly calloused heart.Vulnerability cannot be avoided if authenticity is the goal, and something substantial is the desired outcome. I must trust that it isn't all about me having control, but learning to submit to the Holy One who does. And trusting that if I ensure that my heart is truly hidden in Christ, he will go through Him to get it. After all, it's not only my heart on the line, but his heart, too...every time he extends himself to protect mine. I have to respect that he's putting himself out there.
Ideally, the next person I'm with will be the last. However, if by some chance that happens to not be the case, I can trust that this will be a purposeful and edifying exchange because we're both sincerely submitted to the same God, and have identical intentions. And we are committed to cultivating a friendship, not rushing to an altar. So, while I am still going to exercise patience, maturity, and wisdom...accepting the peace of Christ in the midst of this means being anxious for nothing.
"Perfection is not an option, and men are infamous for their lack of communication. However, is he trying? Because a man who will try is a man I can marry. A man who is paralyzed by the fear of failure or throws up his hands at the first sign of difficulty? He should probably keep it moving. "
I pray you are blessed and learn to guard your heart from foolishness, while keeping it open enough for God's blessing to find you.
Love, Compassion, Royalty
What are your thoughts? Respond in the comments below!
And BOY did it bless me. Take a moment to read it (it's worth your time) and then come back and read this post...
This article is basically about responding to trivial romantic pursuits as Christian women...and how to identify the Godly ones.
It's relevant whether you are a young woman or a young man, whether you are single like a dollar bill, or dating, or "friend-zoned", or not so sure what you are. I found myself wishing I read this article months, even years ago. It reiterated things I learned through the teaching of the Holy Ghost, through wise mentors, and not surprisingly, things I learned the hard way. It also gave me a new perspective on other things. Most importantly, it was the type of confirmation that God knew I needed for the my current season.
Do you even like me?: Futile Attraction Vs. Intentional Pursuit
Many times I have found myself haphazardly pursued (if we can even call it that) and I became pendulum-like in the process; constantly swinging on the hinges of uncertainty in the grey area of the unknown. Sometimes I didn't know if the young man liked me. Sometimes, his actions implied he did, but his words did not explicitly say so. In other cases, his words stated he did...but his actions did not. I was left without boundaries and with my emotions uncovered by the lad I was involved with. I was tired of guessing. I was tired of the anxiety doubt brought. I didn't realize how much these interactions fed my phobia of vulnerability, and added to my growing list of men who did not protect me. Not to mention, being that unsure can lure distraction into your thoughts by pushing you to focus more on a guessing game than seeking God's face.
I realized that true pursuit is never half-done. And that the first act a man does to cover you is to trump his own fear of rejection by placing your emotional well being above his...and providing a safe space for your heart by giving you absolutely no room for doubt about his intentions. Just as Christ purposefully pursued us. We can confidently proclaim His love for us because His actions towards us boldly expressed it and He constantly affirms it.
"Christ didn’t pursue his Bride detachedly, opting for non-committal ease. He gave all to ransom her, humbling himself in boundless devotion. And as young (but getting older) women who are the recipients of this kind of love from the Son of God, we should be looking for men who, having received that same kind of love, are ready to give it. Anything less is futile. "
Naively, I thought knowing whether or not he was attracted to me made the difference.
See, people can be attracted to you or to things about you AND NOT WANT TO PURSUE YOU (or be mature enough to do so). Thus, it didn't really matter if he thought he kinda liked me. If he wasn't going to pursue me for real, I could not hold my breath. Period. Our generation gets too comfortable in the ambiguous and in-between.
The commitment to un-commitment is too high an emotional investment and far too commonplace.
Also, I learned that it's okay to ask (again, if I don't know the parameter of our involvement, how can I feel safe emotionally?). It is also okay (in fact, in your best interest) to pull away if he is not clear about what he wants.
"...This is counterintuitive for a lot of us. I hate to think of asking a guy a question that’s going to fluster him. That doesn’t mean I won’t do it, though. Our time as women should be spent investing full-heartedly in every relationship in our lives; this becomes a lot easier when relationships are clearly defined. There is no gray haze of potential necessary: all of your single male friends have the potential to become something more, but until that potential is expressed, give them all equal dosages of your time."
I was guilty of giving out my time to men who asked for it, but didn't honor it. I never wanted to put more energy into our interactions than he did because I didn't know if the nature of his motives were platonic or romantic. I was incarcerated by the vagueness of it all, trapped by confusion. I would spend agonizing hours wondering and analyzing...all energy that could have been preserved by asking a simple question. To be clear, a man saying a friendly "hello" doesn't incite this type of conversation. But if he is asking for a certain amount of my time, through conversation or other wise, it is my right to know whether or not my time should be invested. No matter how intimidating the process of finding that out is. My time, attention, and especially heart, are of high value. They should be of high value to him because they are of High value to God. We have to make decisions based on that fact.
Most importantly, make sure you are committed and submitted to Christ. Be led by the spirit and not by your emotions...feelings are fickle. I'm not imploring you to become hard-hearted, but I am encouraging us young women to seek Godly character in suitors and cultivate biblical standards for any one interested in taking up space in our lives and in our hearts. If he is serious about you...you wouldn't have to wonder. So please don't lower your expectations; respect mature men enough to allow them to rise to the occasion. The immature may walk away, but the real men will thank you for it. Invite them to appreciate you, not take advantage of your availability. I'm also encouraging young men to become like our Savior and take the lead, to walk in integrity, and fulfill their God-given position. Your worth is priceless. And the right person will cherish that.
At my church, New Life COOLJC, this is the "Year of Pleasing the Lord". And I'm pretty sure these unhealthy patterns are not pleasing or edifying. So, let's leave that in 2013. The best way to gain an understanding of pursuit, is to pursue the heart of God.
I pray you are blessed and learn to guard your heart from foolishness, while keeping it open enough for God's blessing to find you.
Love, Compassion, Royalty
What are your thoughts? Respond in the comments below! and click the link forPART 2!
HELLO LOVES I was in prayer at bible study, and prayed utter submission. I told God I wanted Him to utterly take over me, and do exactly what He wanted with me, in me, and through. I then envisioned what it would be like to be completely malleable to God. I saw myself as this shapeless matter, then as this formless mound of clay. And this is what came out during prayer, and it is the sincerest desire and declaration of my heart.
I am formless except for Your hand I am shapeless except for Your fingers I am empty mass except for Your spirit I float lest You anchor me Here, am I, am clay Am shapeless, formless matter am indistinguishable and indiscernible except for Your breath and warmth of Your palms I drown lest You lift me I decay lest You preserve me I am colorless but just the right shade of transparent for Light to shine through I am flavorless vague and in distinctive Contemplating how nothing can chemically cook into sodium chloride I am scratch I am start with me and end in You begin with nothing and end in Everything complete: I am the antonym and You are the answer I am anonymous lest You name me An archaeological dig of sorts An expedition only begetting dirt Undiscovered lest You excavate and give meaning to my dust An Adam Atom I am both dead air and dead weight Both Weightless and heavy Both sinking and rising Most nothing Lest You undo and redo me Mold and renew me Make me Something Here, am I, am clay I hear You are Master Creator Cultivating beauty out of vastness Thou despisest pride And there is nothing more humble than a clean slate Except an empty one I Am shapeless, formless matter am indistinguishable and indiscernible except for Your breath and warmth of Your palms I am zero You are infinity and becoming Yours is the catalyst of my existence I become, in You I am insignificant matter an insignificant matter until I mattered to You I am the darkness on the face of the deep and you are are the whisper hear When I say I give you absolutely nothing here I am laying all I am at your feet I am nothing, now But I will be evidence of He who makes something out of Nothing Here, am I, am clay love, compassion, royalty Queen