See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
1 John 3:1 (NIV)
I love traveling. I love airports too. Flying, though? I hate flying. See, I’m overweight. And while that fact is always present in my thoughts, never am I more aware of my extra pounds than when I fly. I hate flying because I take up too much space.
If I have the choice, I always choose an aisle seat. I hold my breath and suck in my gut and pray that the seatbelt will latch. And then I spend the next few hours squeezing my legs together and digging my elbows into my sides as I try to avoid taking up any extra space — in the aisle, in the seats, in the air.
My scrunched-up and sucked-in body language, along with my apologetic glances and occasional “sorrys” after the inevitable bumps and elbow rubs, is one big apology.
I’m sorry for taking up too much space.
I’m sorry for being too big.
I’m sorry for being in the way.
I’m sorry I’m kind of sweaty from speed-walking to the gate.
I’m sorry I reached over you to turn on my fan.
I’m sorry my leg bumped your leg.
I’m sorry I’m in the way.
I’m sorry you have to sit by me.
Maybe you fit just fine in an airplane seat. Maybe it’s something else that makes you hunch your shoulders and stare at the ground with red cheeks, apologizing for part of who you are, for just being yourself.
Are you clumsy? Perpetually late? Awkward? Too talkative? Too loud? Too quiet? Too sarcastic? Too much? Too real? Too you?
No you aren’t. You are wonderful. You are loved. And when God looks at His creation (that’s you! and me!), He says, “It is very good.” Regardless of how anyone else sees us, we are God’s workmanship and masterpiece — and He lavishes His love on us.
If you’re tempted to apologize for who you are or how you are, please don’t. Remember that you have a right to be here, to take up space — in a conversation, on the airplane, in the grocery store aisle, at the moms group, in the world. And no matter how much space you take up or how you take up that space, you are welcome and wanted and loved.
Thank You, Lord, for being a safe place where I am called good, where I take up just the right amount of space, where I am seen and loved and welcome to be who I am, how I am, just as I am. Even saying that calms my heart and lets me breathe deeper. Give me the strength to truly recognize that no matter how anyone else sees me, I am God’s workmanship and masterpiece, and I am loved. Amen.
Written by Mary Carver, as published in Take Heart: 100 Devotions to Seeing God When Life’s Not Okay
Our devotional, Take Heart: 100 Devotions to Seeing God When Life’s Not Okay, is full of stories like this. Women sharing from the depth of their experience, pain, and eventual hope as they struggled through times when life was not okay.
We know that for many of us life isn’t okay right now. Everything is different, and the unknowns abound, which is why we see each story in this book as an offering of hope, from one heart to another.
That is real, genuine, and beautiful. For many years of my life I shared your weight struggle. I believed that if I lost weight all of those feelings you described would go away, and life would be perfect. Nope. . . didn’t happen. Thank you for capturing in words the mental struggle, and giving us a path to new perspective.
Mary Carver says
Kim, thank you for sharing a bit of your story with us here. I’m grateful God could use this post to encourage you and remind you how much He loves you.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
When my husband and I got married, he said to me, “Do you know how many times you say ‘Sorry’?” I’m not saying that love means never having to say you’re sorry, but if we are perpetually apologizing for how we are, what we do and say, how we react then something is out of whack. God loves a humble and contrite heart, but when we continually put ourselves down, it’s not God-honoring. In fact, it’s pride in saying that God’s handiwork is not “good.” I wouldn’t tell God He did a lousy job with the mountains and oceans He created, so why should I tell Him He did a lousy job making me? Amen, Mary! We are fearfully and wonderfully made! May we keep our nose in the Bible so that we are constantly reminded of this truth.
Mary Carver says
Bev, you’re exactly right. Let’s not apologize for the way God made us or criticize His wonderful creation!
This hits home. I have a condition called Neurofibromatosis. It causes fibromas, or lumps/bumps, to grow all over my body. It’s progressing to the point where I’m giving up things I love, because of others seeing and commenting. I want to be confident enough that I don’t let their stares and words hurt, but I am not. I want to be confident in my own skin, but I’m not. I want to be not sorry.
Mary Carver says
Hi there, Tracy. I’m so sorry you’re suffering from that condition and its side effects on your confidence. I’m praying God reminds you of your value and worth and just how much He loves you just the way you are today.
Thank you Mary! I have heard many voice these exact concerns and you have shared it well and have encouraged deeply. I will be saving this for a future passing on to those that need a little pick-me-up. Sometimes others say it better than I can and this is that sometime. God bless your ministry through words and deeds, through experiences and life. Keep trusting our Gracious God as He leads and guides you along life’s journey.
Mary Carver says
Lydia, thank you for your kind response. I’m so grateful God used my words to encourage you!
Becky Keife says
Mary, this devotion is like a hug from God. Yes, in many ways, in many moments I felt too [fill in the blank.] Too anxious, too needy, too driven, too awkward, too exhausted, too much. But we are never too much for God. Thank you, friend, for vulnerably sharing your heart so that others can know they’re not alone and together we can shake off the lies and cling to what’s true.
Mary Carver says
“We are never too much for God.” Let’s put that on a tshirt and wear it! That’s so good, and I’m so grateful for that truth!
I relate to this so well. I’ve had the same struggle with weight, and all that goes with it, since I was a child. All the feelings, hurt,etc. Thanks for being so honest and open about this topic.
Peace and Blessings to you!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Like you, I hated flying because I was overweight. I lost half of my body weight, and although I did feel an accomplishment and pride in how I looked, the feelings and shame from so many years of those thoughts is still driving me. Peace and blessings!
This was just what I needed to read today. I am the quiet, socially awkward one who feels I never fit in. But thank God He loves me and us all just the way we are! Loved reading this.
Adrienne Anyanwu says
Mary, I’m Glad you share space with all of us in the world!
I’m glad you are uniquely designed by God in Shape, fashion, form, and style.
I.m glad you are a part of my world, my faith, and my sisterhood in Christ!
I’m glad you bravely and eloquently put into words how tiring, overwhelming of an experience it is to try to effortlessly rush to the airports and navigate through the terminal with purse and carry on luggage to the gates and bulky over packed luggage bags.
I’m glad you realize you’ve mastered how to use the overhead panel I always fumbled with that.
I’m glad you have such high regard for personal space when the airlines pack passengers on the flight like sardines in a can on overpriced flights (and feed us the sample sized bag of peanuts and ever- shrinking miniature cans of soda)
I’m glad you put into words what I have always felt about the seats on a flight (they would have seats on the ceiling if it were aerodynamically possible (I bet someone is designing that as we speak; Probably the Army corps of Engineers as if they don’t have enough to handle right now.)
I’m glad you are a Waymaker for Christ.
I would love to sit beside you in my church someday, YOU WILL ALWAYS BE WELCOMED THERE WITH OPEN ARMS (I’m serious, our greeters welcome you literally with outstretched arms and a huge hug!)
I am so glad that you are brave and caring to share and put into words what so many of us have often felt.
Thank you, Jesus for helping us see the beauty in others even when we fail to see the beauty in ourselves!
Mary, YOU ARE LOVED AND CHERISHED!
Brenda M Russell says
This sounds a lot like me. I don’t want anyone else to go about their day feeling this way. It puts a sad and sick feeling in one’s stomach. You don’t breathe so well and you think you are causing others to be uncomfortable but really it’s not true. Only you are uncomfortable because someone in the past said something or acted in an ugly behavior toward you. It could have happened during your childhood, in high school or in college. It maybe happening right now, in your grownup times.
Please don’t go to bed tonight without knowing that we are God’s children, His workmanship for good things.
Change your opinions of others and your opinions of yourself. Be brave, start over with a new way to look at yourself and a new way to look at others. God is the Creator, we are the created. Allow God to complete within us His desired purpose and plans for our lives.
Mary thank you for writing this devotional I always feel like I’m too much too big too opinionated too conversational just too much. And I compare myself with other people who don’t respond like I do so this devotional is confirmation that God purposely made me for who I am as scripture tells me so.
Beth Williams says
I’ve often felt the opposite-“not enough”. Not smart, good looking, capable, etc. It has taken many years to over come those thoughts. Still every now & then they come back. Like you & Bev pointed out we are plenty enough. God made us fearfully & wonderfully in His image. If we say anything about ourselves we are saying the same thing is true of God. Lately God has been showing me that I am more than enough for Him to accomplish His works through me. He has given me a part time job in ICU Step down at a large hospital. I deal with RNs, CNAs, patients, families & doctors helping them accomplish their goals of getting patient well again. Never did I ever see myself in that kind of role. God sure did. He knew I was suited for that type of work. Let’s celebrate the wonderful us that God created us to be. Quit apologizing for any flaws we may have.
Wemi Omotosho says
Thank you for this post. This year I started to embrace all of me, even the parts I consider awkward or not enough as “fearfully and wonderfully made”. So I especially love this – “when God looks at His creation (that’s you! and me!), He says, “It is very good.” I need to remind myself of this everyday.
Ruth Ann Lingwall says
I see this, too, in how I feel about entering a conversation. Thank you for sharing this idea in your post! I feel we all have some of these feelings to overcome. I pray we all can overcome this through Christ’s grace and atonement!
Nina Marie Iglecias says
I can’t wait to get my order and the changes I hope to receive along the way.