I have come to believe that one of the most disheartening consequences of being overweight is that we subconsciously begin to put on a cloak of shame and wear it daily, particularly when out in front of others. The more we engage in the act of gluttony (eating excessively) the more fitted that cloak becomes, and the less our true selves are seen by those around us. It’s as if we’ve allowed an impostor into our life, giving him free reign to swindle us, and cause us to assume a false character or personality. In other words, we’ve let this impostor hide the real us. For that matter, this cloak includes a personal mental covering of the original design God had in mind when He saw fit to breathe our lives into existence. What a shame. No pun intended.
I’ve noticed over my 15 year struggle how many things I’ve stopped doing because I am no longer physically or mentally comfortable in doing so. I’ve been ashamed that I let myself go to the extent I have. In fact, on a bad day when I’ve made a mental agreement with the enemy, I don’t realize it, but I look at myself differently. In some ways, it has been debilitating. For anyone who struggles with this you know what I’m talking about. It’s no longer fun picking out clothes or getting dressed for the day, or swimming (even with your own family), and our comparison to others runs rampant. We dress more to hide ourselves than to reveal. Even the change of seasons can become less fun since wearing shorts is now dreaded and not looked forward to like it use to be.
Just recently I was sitting in church riddled with low self-esteem and comparison. Unfortunately, the enemy had launched several mental assaults on my heart that morning and I made agreements with him, instead of combating him with the truth of God’s word. So I sat, longing to be fit and lovely like the other women in our congregation. And yet I felt inferior, less than, like I didn’t belong. I wanted to go back home throw on my pajamas and crawl into my bed as quickly as I could. Needless to say, that Sunday was not a stellar day with regard to my eating and/or my food choices. And it was my own fault. I know better. I know the Truth!
Before I go further let me qualify the word “overweight” since it is different for everyone. For me, it is refusing to live within the boundaries God has set for me (zero to five eating), thus resulting in excess pounds, which causes me discomfort and a lack of peace. It is also carrying more than God designed my physical body to bear.
On a more encouraging note, the wonderful thing about a cloak is that, according to the Oxford Dictionary, it is “an over-garment, hanging loosely from shoulders”. It “conceals and disguises”. In other words, it can (and should) be removed. When Jesus Christ came to bring us the new covenant he gave us the opportunity to remove the cloak of shame and wear the garment of His grace every single moment of every single day of our lives.
Hebrews 10:16 says, “This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”
This week I realized afresh just how important it is that I let God write his laws in my heart and on my mind. To live apart from this is to live in shame and defeat. It’s to live contrary to his original design of me.
Psalm 34:4 says, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.”
It’s important that in this “in between” place that we continue to look to him, so that those around us see radiance and not shame. We no longer need to wear the cloak of our old man (shame). We are new in Christ and this means the garments we now wear are new and they are free of shame. Hallelujah!
What about you? Do you find yourself wearing a cloak of shame or of radiance? Are you dreading the upcoming change of seasons or are you looking forward to it? Have you put together some truth cards that God can use to “put his law in your heart” and “write them on your mind”? If not, let me encourage you to do so today. You’ll be glad you did.