So maybe my demise started with an unhealthy perspective I attached to an innocent comment made while I was eating an Oreo. But as strange as it may sound, just eating that Oreo was a kind of victory.
For literally my entire life, I was painfully shy. Ask anyone who knew me as a kid or even as a teenager. I would blush beet red if someone so much as looked at me. I was teased mercilessly about that, and for an already withdrawn girl, the teasing just pushed me further into my shell. The problem was that I believed myself to be worthless and unlovable. I looked in the mirror as saw an ugly, fat girl (even though I was underweight). And growing up Mennonite (yep, we’re talking long hair that had never been touched by a pair of shears and homemade dresses) drew additional negative attention, or at least that was my perception. (Here I am as a senior in high school.)
Everyone whispering to their neighbor was talking smack about me; I was convinced of that. To make matters worse, my mind told me repeatedly that people wouldn’t want to talk to me, that I would be a bother to them, that I was stupid.
What that boils down to is a life spent trying to please people. I had to say and do what would make people like me. Life was exhausting. It’s hard work trying to have a conversation when all you can “hear” are your own thoughts telling you, “You can’t say that! What will people think?”
Yet, from all appearances I managed to live a normal life. I got a degree in nursing and landed my first job as a registered nurse at the age of twenty. I moved away from home, rented an apartment, bought a car, but I avoided people as much as possible. Social settings were just down right stressful. Many times I would develop severe tension headaches just from “having fun” with friends. And hunger only made the headache worse, because, of course, what would people think about that fat girl eating?
For 29 years I tried to avoid people in a world filled with people. Or if I had to be around them, I tried desperately to be the person I thought would gain their approval, which meant, of course, NO Oreos!
But one day, I had an incredible revelation that completely changed the course of my life. I realized that God’s word is true. That sounds very simplistic, but what I mean is that I went from knowing God’s word is true to really believing God’s word is true. I realized that I may feel unlovable and worthless, but what God says about me is true regardless of how I feel. And God says I am a masterpiece. A masterpiece! That makes me unique and priceless! He calls me His friend and co-heir with Christ. As those truths took root in my soul, I can’t explain it, but those negative, accusing, deceitful thoughts were silenced.
For the first time in my life, at the age of 29, I looked in the mirror and really saw myself as I was–a petite, not pretty, but certainly not hideous, thin girl. So when my friends offered me an Oreo, I ate it and enjoyed it, an act of freedom in realizing who I really was. While I had other devious beliefs to deal with (more on that another time), settling my true identity, seeing myself as God sees me, took me leaps and bounds toward true health.