Doctors have poked, scoped, and tested me for years. Over and over again they’ve thrown their hands up and pronounced me healthy, leaving me a little disappointed that there’s no cure. But there’s a cure for that disappointment.
Being thin always bothered me a little bit but I didn’t begin to hate myself until I realized how bothered everyone else was by it – way back in 2000. My label deftly used Photoshop to add pounds to my face in publicity pictures promoting my first record because the marketing guy said Christian music buyers care as much about the looks of a singer as they do their sound. And, he said, I was simply too skinny to be successful.
My experiences on the road over the last ten years have only confirmed his claim that Christians are every bit as shallow (and mean) as the general population. I can’t count how many Christians – always women – have sought me out after concerts or speaking engagements to say something like “You need to eat more” or “You sure are skinny.” As if 1)I’m completely unaware of this fact and 2)saying this to me is any less hurtful and inappropriate than me saying to them “You need to stop eating so much” or “You sure are fat.” While there is an unwritten social contract prohibiting making fun of or even discussing the weight of a fat person, the same protection is not given to the skinny population.
Our society – Christian and not – says the worst thing a woman can be is fat and the worst thing a man can be is thin.
So every year tens of thousands of Americans resolve to lose weight. And for the last several years I’ve resolved to gain it. Opposite resolutions perhaps made for the same reason: Because we hate ourselves and how we’re treated by others.
I know appearance isn’t as important as health. I know my wife loves me. I know God made and approved my design and calls it good.
I know this but…
But I suppose I really believe heavier is healthier. No man my size is scoring touchdowns or posing on the cover of Men’s Health.
But I suppose I really believe my wife will love me more if my clothes fit better because no man my size is a heart throb.
But I suppose I really don’t believe God’s approval is enough if I can’t have yours too.
This year I refuse to make the same old resolution. Because doing so is choosing to believe what I know is not true.
I resolve instead to eat a nutritionally balanced diet and exercise regularly. To take care of the body God has given me without neglecting to care for my mind, spirit and for others. And, by God’s grace, to love myself as God does and to respond graciously when others don’t.