Cheryl stood looking at her reflection in the mirror hanging on the closet door. She felt tears roll down her cheeks; she hated full length mirrors. She put her fist in her mouth to keep from crying out loud where her mother, Lorraine, could hear her. She didn’t need or want another lecture, rather more like a continuing harangue, about her weight and her fat, rotund body. It wasn’t as if she wasn’t trying to lose weight. There was a medical condition that made her effort to lose weight difficult and very slow for her.
“Dinner is ready!”, Lorraine called angrily from the kitchen.
With a deep sigh, Cheryl used a tissue to dry her tears as she left her bedroom and walked slowly into the dining room. She looked over at her sister, Renay, standing in the kitchen door. Anybody looking at her and Renay wouldn’t recognize them as sisters. Renay was five feet eight inches tall to her five feet three inches of height. Renay was model thin compared to her over two hundred pounds in weight.
“I imagine you can do without eating dinner,” Renay commented to her with a smirk on her face.
“You could do with a few good meals yourself, Renay,” Grandma Celia said to Renay as she entered the dining room from the living room.
“Renay was just saying…….,” Lorraine started to defend Renay’s comments to Cheryl.
“Neither of you two need to comment! Your mean comments do nothing to help with her medical condition that causes her weight problem! Love and understanding is needed to help her!”, Grandma Celia announced sternly with a shake of her finger at them both.
Cheryl looked at the high calorie foods on the dining table, all of which were forbidden on her diet program. Without a word of comment, Cheryl ran back to her room. She wondered why she had been cursed with such a horrible medical condition and a family that had no understanding or even wish to understand her medical condition. She threw herself across her bed in tears.
After several long minutes, she got up to dry her tears. She looked at the clock; she had a class at her spiritual center to attend. She had stopped attending her mother’s church several years ago. This was another of her mother’s reasons to be angry at her. She loved attending services at her spiritual center. She felt comfortable with the people who attended the center. They never made her feel as if she was ugly and less than human with her weight problem. After washing her face, she got her purse, study book, car keys and left out to attend her class.
Cheryl sat in the class, listening to the minister talk about self-love. The term always puzzled her because she had been taught that loving yourself was selfish and self-centered. In addition, she had been told time and time again that there was no way that anyone would love her being as overweight as she was. Now her minister was talking about being a child of God and being a part of God. How was that possible? God made perfect people with deep unshakeable faith, not an overweight person with a medical condition that was simply trying to understand faith and God. If her family didn’t love her, how could God love her? How could she love herself? Now, he was speaking about healing through self-love. What was he talking about; she was so confused!
After class, she sat and watched as the members of the class all left the fellowship hall. “Reverend, may I speak with you, please?’, Cheryl inquired of him.
“Of course. How can I help you?”, he inquired.
“Can you explain about self-love to me. I’m so confused. I’ve always been told that loving yourself was selfish and self-centered. I’m so overweight that I’m ugly and unlovable and that God doesn’t love ugly. How can I be a part of God if I’m ugly and my faith is shaky?”, she said to him in a rush of words with tears in her voice.
“Everything that there is in this world comes from God, therefore, you come from God. You’re an expression of God in the physical. You’re here to learn about God and to build your faith. God is love and therefore, you are also love as a part of what God is. You are here to learn unconditional love and that begins with accepting yourself for who you are as a divine expression of God no matter the outer appearance. Your weight doesn’t stop God from loving you. You must look beyond your physical appearance to what is in your heart. You can’t truly love another person fully or accept another person for whom they are unless you are comfortable with who you are,” the minister explained to her.
“God can love me just as I am?!”, she asked in surprise.
“Of course He does. You are a part of God. We’re all a part of God with all our problems. We’re here to learn to grow in faith and become more of our God self,” the Reverend expressed to her.
“Do you think I can be healed of my weight and medical condition?” Cheryl asked expectantly.
“You have the power within you to change your conditions and circumstances. God gave you that power and you just have to recognize it and use it. It begins with learning to love yourself and not judging yourself by the views and words of others. Recognition of your oneness with God is the first step to learning to love yourself,” he told her with a smile.
“Thank you, Reverend. I think I need to begin to learn more of how to access the God within me,” Cheryl said to him with a smile.
As she left the spiritual center for home, she felt hope in her heart. Despite what her mother and sister said to her, it was possible for others to love her. However, she had to learn to love herself despite her weight and medical condition. Reverend had told her that she had the power within her to not only love herself, but to change her life for the better. One of the affirmations at the center said that God was good all the time and she was truly starting to believe that. She had a long way to go to change her outlook on her life, but she was willing to take the first step of self-love.