Thursday, March 24, 2011

Designer Labels

" Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."~Colossions 3:12

A good friend of mine, lost his wife earlier this month. It was sudden and tragic and literally knocked the breath out of me. It isn't exactly clear what happened but her weight was definitely a factor. She left this world far too soon. She also left a husband, children and grandchildren reeling in pain, sorrow and grief.

Her passing made me very aware of my own weight issues and how desperately I want to get out of this cycle. I do NOT want my friends and family to have to deal with the agony my poor friend's family is experiencing. And so began my quest for really get to the bottom of my weight issues and to start living the life I want to live. For the first three weeks I did really well. I was focused and committed and worked hard. I tracked calories, drank water, and exercised until I didn't think I had another drop of sweat in me!

On Monday, Tam and I  met at the gym to workout. As we huffed and puffed our way up and down the arch trainer, I vented to my  dearest friend. I was stuck in a rut. I was frustrated and having a pity party. It certainly wasn't my first pity party and I'm sure it wasn't my last. What!?  you weren't invited?! Maybe next time.......anyway, we're moving on! I complained to Tam about this going wrong and that going wrong. I whined and fussed and then whined some more. There was no major life event happening. I just felt unsupported, frustrated and honestly, I felt like giving up!

Being the great friend she is, Tam told me like it is. It was a pretty stern talking to actually. It was hard for me to hear and I'm sure pretty hard for her to say. The basic gist of it all was "MAKE A DECISION". Tam made me very aware that this is not anyone else's responsibility, choice, control, or decision. It is all mine. And then I came to the painful awareness that I do not know how to be anything but....."the fat girl". I have been overweight for so long that my entire identity has become "the fat girl".

I'm not exactly sure when I became aware of the this label, but its been around quite a long time. Even when I'd lost 150 lbs and was in the best shape of my life, I still saw myself as "the fat girl". The fact that I was "normal" never really registered in my brain. Its so difficult to admit that, but its true. I would walk past a mirror at be surprised to see the person staring back at me. Physically I'd done it, emotionally, psychologically, I never made it there.  Eventually, "the fat girl" is label I accepted and adopted as my own. It limits me. It confines me. It restrains me. I allow it to. There are certain things I can't do, certain things I won't even try, certain places I don't like to go.

Like me, Tam has a label. She's "the perfect girl"...Somehow, somewhere, someway, she decided that she needed to be the "perfect girl".  Eventually, Tam accepted and adopted perfect as her label. It limits her. It confines her. It restrains her. Imagine how hard it must be to make a mistake if everyone thinks your perfect. Imagine how hard it must be to make a mistake if YOU think you have to BE perfect. Ugh.

We live in a society where labels are important. Its starts early in life....The Straight A Student, The Jock, The Loser.  Everywhere you go there are labels......Coach handbags, Manolo Blahnik shoes, BMW cars. They are symbols of status, wealth and power. They are indications of success. Right?

Wrong. I am more than the fat girl. Tam is more than the perfect girl. We are God's chosen girls, holy and dearly loved. We are women who work hard every day to provide and care for our families. We stay up late loading the dishwasher and folding laundry. We get up early to sweat at the gym and finish our bible study lesson. We are girlfriends who are committed to supporting our friends through difficult times in our lives. We are women who are creative and sensitive and strong and ambitious. We are so much more than the labels we place on ourselves.

I've decided to break free of my "fat girl" label. I don't know how to live as the "fit girl" but I'm gonna find out!!!!!! What label have you put on yourself? Are you willing to live with that label or do YOU have a decision to make?

Dear God~Forgive me for the labels I have placed on myself. By doing so, I put limits on what you are capable of doing with and through me. Help me to trust you, follow you and obey you, so that I am set free from the labels, lies and confusion. May I always see the God given potential in myself and in others that you see in each of us. In Jesus' name, Amen



  1. Michelle, you are definately a writer in disguise! You are so right about the labels that we put on ourselves or indeed are given through out our lives. It is a very hard and dramatic resolve to get through at times, but with God's help I feel we can get through anything.

  2. you are so right about that my friend Robin...with God's help, we can get through anything!

  3. When Heather first moved to Chicago, I gave her a bible. Inside I wrote, "Never let others define success for you." Labels, images and masks, we all wear and endure them. The true "me" is the one God knows and love. I pray every day to be that person more and more.
    Wonderful blog, love you, Pep.