By: Alle Roley
I started questioning for the first time why God made me the way He did when I was in sixth grade. I was one of the tallest girls in my class [I haven’t grown an inch since middle school] and I was also what a mild-mannered person might call a lil’ chunky. I didn’t see anything wrong with the way I was until two boys started following me down the hallway every day after lunch and calling me a hippo.
In hindsight, this is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard. But ten-year-old Alle really took it to heart. I had of course noticed that I wasn’t as little as lots of the other girls, but the taunts of those two boys caused me to wonder what I needed to do to change that. Because clearly there was something wrong with me; none of the other girls were getting chased and teased.
Fast-forward to high school and I was still the same chubby little sixth grader, except now more…developed. Know what I’m saying? Boys didn’t pass me in the hallway and call me fat anymore; now they made gross- and frankly sometimes very weird- comments about my body. One day, two boys whose names I couldn’t have even told you walked up to me and reported that one of the items on their summer bucket list was to see me topless. I cried in the bathroom after that.
But to be honest, I did little to try to stop this kind of thing from happening. Can you blame me? I figured people were always going to have something to say about my appearance, and I didn’t enjoy overhearing those immature comments in passing but I preferred it to being told outright that I was fat.
At the time, I had no idea how detrimental my acceptance of this was to my identity. I was slowly but surely letting the flawed opinions of others take precedence over what I knew in my heart was the truth. I didn’t stand up for myself, I didn’t stand firm in my beliefs- I just perfected my “boys will be boys” eye roll and cried in the bathroom a lot.
Fast-forward a little further, and during my first two years of college I lost almost 50 pounds. I worked hard, I completely changed my lifestyle, and I was really proud of myself. Every part of me shrunk, and I thought yes! Now people will have nothing left to say about me.
Well, I don’t know if you’re ever gone through any sort of significant physical change, but if you have, you know this- people notice, and they have a whole lot to say about it. And I want to make sure you know how thankful I am that God blessed me with a healthy body capable of making that kind of transformation. But I hated the attention it was bringing me. I wanted my outer appearance to cease being the first thing people noticed about me and I felt this had the complete opposite effect.
I was at war with myself, and that is no good place to be. I fought the battle of self-acceptance from sixth grade until my sophomore year of college. But then do you know what happened? I realized how absolutely ungrateful I was being.
The Lord blessed me with a beautiful, healthy body and all I cared about were the numbers on the scale. God handcrafted me and gave me every ability I need in order to fulfill my purpose in His kingdom, and all I was concerned with was what other people were- or weren’t- saying about me. Does that not sound like the craziest thing? But we all do it more often than we even realize.
This is what I have learned: don’t ever try to tell God that what He has made isn’t good enough. What place do I have, or do you have, as a human being to doubt the Creator of the world’s ability to create? God doesn’t make mistakes; God doesn’t do accidents.
He writes His story of love and grace and redemption on each one of us. For me thus far it has looked like a struggle to accept, a struggle to trust, a struggle to want to fit in with the standards of the world while knowing I was created for something bigger and much better. For you it may look different. But we were all once blank pages in His book and He is molding us, shaping us and writing our unique narratives day by day. What more could you possibly ask for?
Psalm 139:13-16 says “You formed my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…Your eyes saw my unformed body and all the days of my life were written in Your book before one of them came to be.”
Sometimes we are so concerned with what the world, sixth grade boys, or that super-toned girl with no split ends in our yoga class tell us about ourselves. And we completely overlook the fact that Jesus Christ calls us beautiful and flawless.
Whatever it is about yourself that you just can’t stand, whatever part of you the world tries to twist and corrupt and use for its own crooked purposes, Jesus tells you that that wasn’t a mistake. That’s not a flaw. Because our perfect God doesn’t do flaws and He made you.
That is the truth. And don’t ever forget it.
Photo Cred: Henry Be
I am a 20 year old student at a tiny Christian college in Indiana, but my home is central Illinois. I love Jesus, my puppy, coffee & HGTV in that order. If you ever need to find me, there is a 110% chance I am in the shoe section at Target or taking a nap. My favorite Bible verse is Proverbs 31:25- “she is clothed in strength & dignity; she laughs without fear of the future.”