I have battled with my weight most of my life, to different degrees. And most of my life I have received messages that because of my appearance I did not measure up, I was less than.
In high school I was told, “you have such a pretty face, if only you weren’t fat.” In college I watched as my girlfriends always got asked to dance when we went out, and I sat alone at the table.
My first real job out of college a colleague and friend told me how she and our boss (a woman) had been talking about me, discussing how I was so smart and hardworking, it was a shame I was overweight because this would hold me back in my career. Years later, a male boss told me I didn’t have “the right look” to be the face of the company in the media, even though I wrote all of our press releases and marketing materials (a male boss who was 50 pounds overweight, I might add).
At my healthiest I was a size 12, having lost 60 pounds after giving birth to my twins. I was running 3-4 days a week, even participating in 5k’s and 10k’s. It was hard to keep up this workout schedule with three very young children and a full-time job with a commute, but I did my best. I felt strong and beautiful. In 2007 I started a new job. I was making good money, doing interesting work, well-respected, and getting to travel the world. I felt really good about myself. About 5 months into this job I went on a business trip to Thailand. I was sitting in the hotel lobby with a male colleague talking…I don’t even remember what the topic of conversation was but at some point it turned to health and fitness and he asked me if I had ever thought about exercising. Before I could answer, he said “you know if you worked out you could lose some weight.”
This colleague had looked at me and decided that I must not take care of myself. Because I did not fit his ideal of health or beauty he assumed I did not exercise. Even though I was the fittest I’d ever been in my adult life. Even though I had just run my first 10k the month before.
In that moment I felt defeated. Like a failure. Because despite all the good things I was doing for myself, to take care of my body, I did not meet his standard of health. I didn’t measure up to what my colleague or much of the world around me declared as fit and beautiful.
And I felt inferior.
Nothing had changed. I still had that job. I still had my health and strength. I still looked the same on the outside. But on the inside I felt unworthy. I felt unloved.
Because I was measuring myself and my worth against worldly standards, it was easy to believe what the world told me. I let one off-hand remark, one opinion from someone I barely even knew, tear me down.
And it’s not just about my appearance. Throughout my adult-life I have at times felt like a bad mom, bad friend, and bad daughter. I have judged my marriage against worldly standards and found it lacking. I have doubted my skill and ability in my career based on another’s harsh words.
I have craved praise and compliments and confused approval for love.
But here’s the truth that the world doesn’t tell us: we’ve already been chosen.
Each of us has been hand-picked with love. And it is a love so deep and so fierce that wars have been waged, enemies cut-down, and evil defeated — for me, and for you.
There is a great King who has claimed each of us as His daughter. And now He’s just waiting for us to claim our inheritance and live like the heirs that we are.
Romans 8:15-17 (TPT) says:
15 And you did not receive the “spirit of religious duty,” leading you back into the fear of never being good enough. But you have received the “Spirit of full acceptance,” enfolding you into the family of God. And you will never feel orphaned, for as he rises up within us, our spirits join him in saying the words of tender affection, “Beloved Father!”16 For the Holy Spirit makes God’s fatherhood real to us as he whispers into our innermost being, “You are God’s beloved child!”
17 And since we are his true children, we qualify to share all his treasures, for indeed, we are heirs of God himself. And since we are joined to Christ, we also inherit all that he is and all that he has. We will experience being co-glorified with him provided that we accept his sufferings as our own.
We are God’s beloved children, His daughters. And that means we are not supposed to live in the fear of never being good enough. It means that we will never be orphaned or alone. It means that we, being joined to Christ, will inherit all that He is and all that He has.
And in case you’re wondering what that inheritance is, it’s heaven. Eternal life. And He’s reserved a spot for us at His table. The places are set and our name cards placed with loving care in anticipation of our arrival (1 Peter 1:4).
So what does God want in return? I mean He must only reserve a spot for those who can be good and live up to His standards, right?
Jesus put it very succinctly in Matthew 22:37-40: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Are we supposed to keep the commandments and follow God’s teaching? Absolutely. But God knows we will fall short and make mistakes trying keep his commandments. Yet unlike the world He does not condemn us when we fail (Romans 8:1).
He wants us to love Him. He created us, He claimed us, He protects us, He has reserved a spot in heaven for us, and what He wants in return is that we love Him.
This is why the Truth is so hard to believe. How can we believe that we are so important, so loved? How can we walk around declaring we are a princess, a daughter of a King?
The world tells us we are not good enough. The world records and catalogs every mistake and shortcoming. It tells us we have to try harder, do more, be more, and then, maybe we’ll be accepted.
God says: beloved daughter, you are my child and I love you. I have a spot ready and waiting for you in my castle. You need not fear never being good enough. All that I have is yours and all I ask is that you love me and desire to be by my side.
You are a daughter of the King.