Don’t do it, Kathi. Do. Not. Do. It, I hiss to myself in my brain.
But I can’t (or don’t know how to) help myself.
I look around the room of this new situation, whether it’s attending a church for the first time, meeting with a work team, or even just entering a Starbucks. I try to take in all the smiling faces, the welcoming greetings, and the openness I am being met with. Everyone is being awesome.
And still, I cannot help myself.
I finish looking at each person in the space and come to the same conclusion almost every single time: I am the biggest girl in the room.
Sorry, the guys don’t count. Guys get to be big. They get a pass. Girls? Not so much.
I’ve often wondered what it would be like for people to not know one of my biggest weaknesses even before we meet. (Don’t we meet most people on Instagram or Zoom before in person these days? And let me tell you, camera angles can only do so much.) I go into every situation knowing other people already have information about me that I would rather keep to myself, thank you very much.
People, who love me most reassure me, “No one is thinking that! You’re awesome!” And as much as they aren’t thinking it (because they don’t see that part of me first anymore), I have evidence that others do see it:
And those are just things that have been said aloud.
I don’t understand why this is an area I have wrestled with all my life. Yes, I know there is heredity. I come from a long line of “sturdy” folk. But why couldn’t my weakness be for kale? (“Just can’t get enough of the stuff! Yum!”) Or hiking too much? Why does my weakness need to be the first thing people see when I walk through the door?
But no, my weakness is of the variety where I shop in “specialty stores” and whenever someone on my friends list signs up to be a distributor of a new weight-loss product, I am put on their “potential client” list. (In other words, one of their “fat friends.”)
I’m the person who was told by another friend when I was having success losing weight, “Don’t lose more than the rest of us!” I get it. It isn’t fun being the biggest girl in the room. We’d much rather someone else play that role.
If you too are one of the ________est women in a room, (fill in the blank), I get it. And friend, I have some good news for you.
One thing I’ve discovered is that while people see my weakness first, weakness isn’t always a bad thing for others to notice. I can’t tell you the number of times someone has said some variation of the following to me, without getting to know me:
“I could tell you wouldn’t judge me.”
“I’m having a hard time, and I thought you would understand.”
“I knew you would get it.”
These are people who don’t know a thing about me. Do I love my husband? Do I put my grocery cart away at the end of a visit to Target? How do I treat my dog? They don’t know, because they don’t know me.
But I’ve been given unearned access into hard places simply because of my BMI.
People are looking to others to find safety in sharing their own pain. My weakness, to some people, is the shortcut to safe.
God can and will do powerful things through those of us who give our weakness over to Him. 2 Corinthians 12:9‑10 (NLT) says:
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
I am not glorifying weakness, but God’s glory shines brightest in weakness.
Do I want to stay stuck? The amount of time, money, and heartbreak I’ve spent on counseling and programs would suggest not. But just because I don’t want to stay in my weakness doesn’t mean God cannot — and will not — use it for His glory.Leave a Comment