Written by Rachel Snyder
I’ve struggled with my weight for many years. Like, all of them. My whole adult life has been spent between 220 and 250 pounds. A size 16/18 (sometimes closer to an 18, a 16 when I was feeling pretty svelte). I was about to start that whole love-the-skin-you’re-in-who-cares-if-I’m-fat thing. Finally.
And then I lost weight. Just this year, I’ve lost almost 60 pounds. I’ve gone from pushing an 18 to sometimes an 8. Whaaaaaat?! That’s insane! I’ve never been an 8/10 in my LIFE. I think maybe I wore a 10 in 5th grade. That seems to be the last time I remember that number. Excitement! Adventure! Go forth and be healthy! Woohoo!
But what no one tells you is what a mental battle this is. I have to realign my thinking. I have to understand that when I walk into a room now, no one sees size 16 Rachel. I still see her in my head—I still <i>am</i> her in my head—because that’s who I’ve been all these years. I have years of memories and family photos to back up the existence of that Rachel. She’s all the world has known! She’s all I have known!
That is no longer reality. When I walk into a room now, I’m size 10 Rachel. People see the actual me with their eyeballs, regardless of how I feel about myself, and they see me as I am, not as I once was. It’s probably an adjustment for everyone around me, too, but nothing like that battle waging in my head.
I can’t help but compare it to life before and after Jesus.
Even after we commit ourselves to God, we still feel the burden of our sin from before we were in Christ. We feel the embarrassment, the weight of all that we’ve done. But we are not that person anymore. I sometimes apologize to my husband for things that happened before we met, but he doesn’t count those against me—I was a different person, not living a Christ-like life. He holds no grudge, and he loves me for who I am now, not who I was.
At what point do we learn to love ourselves? Jesus looks at us with love, knowing all we’ve done, and he sees the bright, shiny, clean, purified version of us, even when we only see the old, dingy, beat-up, weighed-down version of ourselves.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)
The verses preceding these are all about accepting God’s mercy. Even in the first century, people had a hard time wrapping their minds around the concept. And that’s just it: even if our hearts understand it, our minds sometimes want to argue. Our finite brains want to see the logic in all of it. We have to spend our days convincing our minds to give up the fight and go with the flow of grace.
There’s some Eastern saying I once heard: “The winds of grace are always blowing; all you have to do is raise your sails.” Every time I think of it, I wonder why I don’t raise my sails. God is offering constant, unwavering grace. If I just allowed him to fill my sails with it, where could I go? How far would that good, pleasing, and perfect will take me? Away from the previous version of myself, into the world to share His love, further than I ever dreamed I could go?
You are no longer who you were. I am no longer who I was. It’s time to put our minds in their place: under the authority of God, who loves you, who is for you, who sees you for the new creation you are and not the previous versions of yourself.