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.
Thank You!!!! Is this ever me! I am forever thinking, if I ever do shed this weight I will remove the cloak, but not until! You described me in every word you shared. I want to change, and yet I like the comfort. I am not really a person of change. I am a big introvert because of how I look. I began believing all these lies years ago when I was a member of a legalistic church, these engraved thoughts (lies) are not easy to let go of and alloww God to take over. But as of Jan. 5th (joining HW) I can look back and see progress and change of mind. I meditate on my identity in Christ now, not what I was told as a child or a new convert into legalism. That word makes me cringe, actually. I am sorry this is so long (yet much more to say) but there’s not words to say how thankful I am for TW/HW Bible Study!!!! I am thankful that God has led me all the way and He will complete the work He has begun in me….. I love Cathy Maher and all these Godly supporters who challenge us and encourage us. YOUR BLOG HAS GIVEN ME THE DETERMINATION NOT TO GIVE UP! There is Light (His) at the end of this dark tunnel :)))) God Bless!!!!!
This article really hit home for me. Thank you. xo
Hi, Cathie. Wow…great article. You have hit it square on the head. This is shame that Jesus even died for! We don’t need to wear it! Thank you for sharing this so powerfully. Let’s cast it off in favor of his robe of righteousness! Thank you.
Beautiful! Thank you Cathie! Such good thoughts here.
I’m copying the scripture you used into my truth cards and these sentences…”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.”
Wow Cathie!! I feel like God was sitting on your shoulder telling you what to write!! I was weeping as I read the words God had for me. Praise God for Sisters that He can use to reach out and touch our hearts!! Thank you and God Bless you!!
Cathie, You certainly did a great job writing this blog, except, I do not remember giving you all this information about me. Lol
Your words fit me perfectly! 🙁 I never realized that the food was not the problem either. I always tried to “fix” the food issue. I am a fixer. 🙁 It is a wonderful experience now, to be a part of HW TW and keep discovering God’s ways of becoming what He created me to be. Getting the past behind me and not looking back…I did not realize that the person I became (growing up) and did not like, could actually be changed totally. I thought I got this and that from my parents and I wish I was different….The whole problem (besides being a sinner) is wrong thinking. Little did I know the very things I could not accept about my parents, I brought into my children’s lives and I am seeing that very thing come from them, into their children (my grandchildren). It breaks my heart and does not give me a healthy feeling. I could go on and on, but.. need to stop here 🙂 Thank you, Cathie, for pulling all of this out of me. I needed this article and I will keep a copy close by.
I don’t know how y’all choose the picture to go with your blog, but this one gives me the creeps. It looks evil and is a trigger for me. It takes me back to my childhood when I was subjected to satanic ritualistic abuse. My gut reaction was a flashback to that time. Just wanted to let you know.
Thanks for sharing your heart with us. I’m glad I am not the only one who struggles with shame that smothers and attempts to snuff out the life of Christ in me. I am still not so sure that TW is right for me, but I love the hope and focus of it. Jesus!
This is me! I am so relieved that others feel the same. I have convinced myself that I love winter for years. I just realized that the reason I have convinced myself of this is just what you said. I dont like wearing shorts because of what my legs look like. I dont like wearing a swimsuit because of the way I feel in it. We dont want others to see. What we eat in private, shows up in public..thank you for the revelation..
What a wonderful message as we look to Holy Week and the great Easter Celebration. Thank you. Jesus took away our shame at the cross and leads us to new life through His resurrection!
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for this wonderful post. I was out in public yesterday in shorts and kept comparing myself all day long to every other woman I passed, wishing I had done a better job this winter with my eating. SHAME was written all over me! Your message hit home–let God write HIS laws on my heart!!