How can God redeem and save my life if he’s not even able to help me maintain a healthy weight?
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I’ve been told that my weight is a poor reflection of the stewardship God demands of me in all things, because, after all, we are “to offer our bodies as living sacrifices” (Romans 12:1).
And, yes, I do believe people in the church feel more freedom to address these issues because we have a command, as Christians, to “love one another to good works” (Hebrews -25) and to bring forward any sin we may see.
This problem only seems to be magnified by another byproduct of conservative Christian culture: the pressure to be married.
As a single woman, I have often felt like an outlier in the church.
I once had a close friend confide in me that a boy I liked told her he could never date me, despite being “attracted to my personality,” because of my weight, because he was embarrassed by me.
It was my worst nightmare come true — that my personality does not offer enough redemption for my looks.
The natural assumption is that I want to be married, so to still be single at 27 makes me the object of pity, scrutiny, or, at worse, apathy.
While I do dream of marriage, I feel helpless in pursuing it when I’ve only experienced rejection from men in the church.
The fat explains the single, and both of these make me less of a Christian — or at least that’s the way it feels when a pastor tries to convince me of the spiritual and relational merits of losing weight.
And, unfortunately, unrealistic body expectations are just one way that we diminish and derail the value of women in the church. Only by ignoring the shame and embarrassment I feel in writing a post like this can we begin a healthy discussion, acknowledging the detrimental effects of our preoccupation with physical beauty.
It feels like things should be different in the church.