Monday, June 29, 2015

God Hates Fat People (Part One)

I am fat. modern nomenclature tells me that actually I am a fat person. Or a person who is fat.

End result is the same.

I've struggled with my size almost all of my memory; I was as tall as my teachers by the 4th grade, average adult size as well. But the fat label had been with me for years by then, though it would be another 6 or so years before I was technically overweight. Another 10 years before I was obese.

Around 15 or so food became my god. I spent a lot of time thinking about it, how to get it, how to have it so others wouldn't find out. I sought food when I was happy, sad, mad, bored. Food was my comfort and my resting place.

Oh, and I am a Christian.

I was a Christian at 15 too, though I wasn't striving to emulate Christ. I was mostly just afraid of going to Hell.

The next 20 years were a series of triumphs, failures, victories, bad decisions, joys and heart breaks.

Food served me well then. It was my constant. It made me large enough that I felt somewhat protected when I was in danger. Bold enough that I could work hard. Food brought me joy when little else did.

Then, I met Jesus again face-to-face in the parking lot of a Winn Dixie. He and I had had chased one another for the past two years, me seeking Him when there was a fear or a need, Him genuine in His pursuit. That day I gave it up. I told Him no matter the cost I wanted to be His.

So I went to my Savior, my parents, my child, and my then-sort-of-boyfriend (now husband) broken and humbled.

That occurred a little over 4 years ago. The Lord has restored so much in me. So much so there are moments I feel dumb-struck.

Then there are moments went I catch sight of something. Something that does not reconcile at all with the reclaimed woman God has made.

It is almost always when I am alone. Usually I am angry or afraid.

And there with the Savior next to me I seek my comfort in food. Entire large pizzas consumed in the front seat of my car with the windows down and AC on full blast so the smell won't linger. It is when I am sitting in the parking lot of one drive-through with a burger in one hand and when it is finished I go through another drive through next door. Sometimes it is late at night with an entire box of vanilla wafers dunked three at a time in cold white milk.

But frequently, I recognize it before I am a dozen bites in to my favorite comfort food. I recognize what I am about to do and plow ahead anyway.

As a Christian I have shared this struggle before, that gluttony and making food my idol is a daily battle. I laid it at Jesus' feet and picked up over a dozen times in the last two years alone. I don't recall it ever being taken seriously. It has been dismissed ("I had two pieces of egg custard last night, that doesn't make me a sinner.'') It has been made into a joke, frequently by me.

Usually it is just ignored.

Not one of my Christian brothers or sisters or teachers or pastors has ever pulled me aside to talk to me about it.

No one has posted any of the following comments under pictures of my morbidly obese self on facebook

           "You make me ashamed to be an American."

My husband and daughter also struggle with their weight. No one has ever accused me of ruining my daughter's life because she caught her mom eating an entire vat of cheese balls.

Even when I found my way back to the Lord and subsequently to His church, I was never confronted with these labels either ADULTERER. FORNICATOR. LIAR. GOSSIP.

Even though I struggled mightily with most of them while being a member in good standing.

So the last three nights I have lain awake wondering why no Christian I know has confronted me about my obvious willful and habitual sins. We so frequently taut the phrase "Tell the truth in love. Hate the sin. Love the sinner." Yet, no one has picketed Wendy's holding a sign that reads, "God hates fat people."

And then I asked someone. Her response, "The Holy Spirit's job is to convict you."

And that's true for much of our private church sins: pornography, gossip, gambling addiction, alcohol addiction....there is no one holding a banner there either.

I am so fortunate that I have never been met with a sign that reads, "God hates fat people." or its cousin "God hates the sin of gluttony."

No  one I know would deem this an acceptable or Christ-like thing to do.  No one I've seen in Facebook or Instagram or in the news.

We are a unified front of prayer and love for those of us struggling, even those of us trapped in obvious Bible-defined sin. We love thy neighbor and turn thy cheek.

Unless we substitute fat for gay. Most Christians don't have a lot of grace for gay people.

Thanking God I'm fat.