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.
Today’s devotion was written by Mary Carver and appears in our devotional Take Heart: 100 Devotions to Seeing God When Life’s Not Okay. This collection of courageous stories from forty-four different authors will help you know you’re not alone. From struggling with weight, anxiety, and depression to suffering through miscarriage or grieving the death of a husband, from experiencing injustice and questioning our purpose to walking through church disappointments, loneliness, and infertility, the Take Heart writers share from the depths of their hearts and experiences. We want you to know beyond a doubt that Jesus is with you and you are — and always have been — loved.
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Mary, thank you for this. It hit home more than I can say. Life experiences have made me feel like I can never be enough no matter how much I try. I am too much of everything and not enough of anything. I know in my heart God made me who I am and He doesn’t make mistakes. My logical brain has a hard time believing it.
When I see a picture of you on a book cover or article, I always smile and think “she is someone I would love to meet”. That beautiful smile makes me want to smile back!
Andree Hidalgo says
This is the perfect devotion to start my day. I’m thin, but have certainly felt as though I couldn’t “FIT IN” to many spaces at numerous times, no matter my physical size! Thank you for reminding me that judgement shouldn’t come from others (especially women–including me!), as they can certainly usurp any confidence, excitement and even love to give to others through doing so. I treasure the idea of accepting all sizes, accents, personality types, educational backgrounds, personal styles…. as who Christ gifted them to be for others and themselves. Sure wish this devotion could be shared to ALL, universally!
Thank you for the vulnerable, honest and very enlightening devo this AM!
Betsy Wisler says
A huge thank you. At 82 I’m still obsessing about my weight even though I’m 65.+ lbs less than age 15. I’m short which makes it worse. I was bullied in school even by some teachers. I’ve been I’ve overweight since age 6 except when I became anorexic in late teens. My parents were both extremely heavy. I try constantly but can’t seem to lose more so feel bad about myself and insecure even though grateful for good health at my age. This helped me to try to see me as God does and that I’m not alone. God bless you❤️
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
Besty remember it only what God says about you that matters. You be remember you are a Daughter of the King of Kings and that King is Jesus. God loves you just for who you are size or shape don’t matter. I will say a prayer for you. You go on YouTube and type the words in it. The Father’s Love Letter. Listen to it. It will tell you all that God thinks of you. How he knew you even before you were born. You take it on board. Not what people think. I was bullied at school called names. It sticks with you. It can affect who you are. My Friend told me to go on to YouTube and listen to the Father’s Love Letter and it helped me so much. Love Dawn xx
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
Thank you for sharing your heart. I am bit like you. I don’t mind Airports. I get excited until they say time to board the flight. I hate flying full stop. But know if I want to go somewhere nice. Sometimes the only why to get there is flying in an Airplane. What I don’t like about flying is that there is nothing above you are below you. If you know what I mean. My husband loves it. As I have learning disability. I like to know I can feel my feet on the ground and see the the ceiling above me and it not to close to me. As if ceiling to close to me I feel trapped. So I will not sit near a window seat if possible. If I have to I will pull the window shutter down so as don’t have to see me way up in clouds in the Airplane. My Husband loves it when it take of the plane. Then looking out the window to says joking good by Airport good bye Northern Ireland. For a few days until we get home again. Then he says when we land at the Airport of the place we are staying. Hello Airport Hello Holidays. I just say nothing all the flight. Then say when getting of the Airplane thank you I can feel the ground again with my feet. We landed in our Holiday destination. Then I am happy. I feel on planes the space too small. You are different Mary. It doesn’t matter what size we are big or small. I am 5 foot 1. 12 stone. Not that small or that big. But I love what my Salvation Army Offer said to me one day. You take this on board too Mary. You are perfect to God and that is all that matters. In God’s eyes you are a Daughter of the King and that king is Jesus. He made us all our shapes and sizes. Even if we find we are too big or not the right size or find places to small. Like me and Airplanes. As I don’t like small spaces. We are all perfect in God’s eyes that is all that matters. Not what people think. We are loved by God for who we are not how we look are what size we are he loves for who we are. I say Amen to that. Keeping you all in prayer Love Dawn Ferguson-Little xx
Maggie Dee says
Oh how I relate to this post! It was 2018 when I flew for the first time, en route to see my Dad before he moved from hospital to nursing home. I, too, selected an aisle seat and quickly realized the seatbelt was *not* going to latch. Sucking and tucking in the entire flight, I flew next to a gentleman who focused on his laptop and spoke not even a “hello” to his seatmates.
Four years later, I am 140 lbs. lighter and should be more comfortable in my skin. One of the issues recently, however, is that I am too loud in our newly-renovated, open-concept office space. I have always felt like too much in one way or another, so these reminders of being fearfully *and wonderfully* made are so valuable!
Blessings to this team today, and thank you for making your audience feel seen and loved.
Ariel Krienke says
Thank you dear sister for that message. I’m overweight as well. I’ve been trying to lose weight my entire life thinking that I haven’t used God’s gift of my body well. But I recently found that God designed my body to not want to give up fat for times of low food. Finally found a program and natural supplements that work for me. God created you this way for a reason. It isn’t your fault necessarily. You are beautiful in your own way. God has a purpose for each of us. Thank you for the reminder.
This article really hit home for me. I was always told I wasn’t right growing up. I am very extroverted, talkative, friendly etc. ,but my parents found me too much.
Now in my adult years people often shy away from me as I am very real…I’ve been through tons of painful things in my life which has made me focus on the truth..not fakeness.
I find all this leaves me alone a lot. Thank the Lord for my hubby!!
Diane Bailey says
In each woman, there is still a little girl wondering, “Am I enough to be loved?”
Yes, we are.
Thank you, sweet Mary, for this reminder.
Brenda M. Russell says
I hope everyone had a safe and fun Holiday weekend.
Thank you for sharing this article with us. It seems like you were talking to me as an audience of “One” and I just didn’t know how to react.
There are a lot of people in this world. I just happen to be in the group of obese females. I have a family and I love the Lord. People still look at me when I pass by with a look of (@&$?). I feel very uncomfortable but once I get to know a person or a group of people, they finally see me as a person.
Jesus meets all of us wherever we are and He is so kind. That’s how I treat others because it’s Christlike and it’s right. I have rheumatoid arthritis but no one asks me about any of my medical challenges or the medicine I take to slow down the disorder. That’s something that I can’t blame on anyone, just life.
Compassion, encouragement and kindness works for me and others who are struggling with something. Society still has a long way to go to learn to embrace those who have brokenness in their lives.
Thank You Lord because Your Love Endures Forever.
Your Sister in Christ
As someone who has always felt TOO – Too Tall, Too Loud, Too Funny, Too Smart, Too Big, Too Emotional, Too Bossy, Too ….. – this posting meant a lot to me.
I have always wanted just to blend in and not be seen as different. But I am different and God made me that way. I am trying to appreciate there is a purpose for all the things I am but sometimes it would be nice to just be tucked away in the crowd and not stand out.
Thank you for speaking to my heart.
I have found that the window seat gives you a bit more room against the bulkhead and you can overflow into the window well with the added bonus that your arms don’t get hit by the drink cart. 🙂
ALSO – you paid for your seat. If the seatbelt doesn’t fit, when boarding ask the Flight Attendant who greets you for a seatbelt extender. They will usually discreetly drop it off at your seat. I have sat through two flights hiding my belt not closing under my coat. It is unsafe and could endanger me as well as other passengers if there is turbulence. There is no shame in asking for what you need.
Beth Williams says
We are made in the image of Almighty God. So when we call ourselves “too big, loud, clumsy, etc.” we are calling God that same thing. I know that in my heart & head yet I still call myself stupid or dumb in arguments. We must realize that God loves us soooo much that He sent His ONLY son to die a horrible death for us. Upon creation of us He said it is Very good!! Remember this: if the world doesn’t like you for what ever reason-God loves, wants & welcomes you immeasurably!