Last Saturday I set out on an adventure. It was a big one for me. You see I’ve learned that chubby girls don’t do certain things. They don’t go horseback riding, they don’t go surfing, and they certainly don’t go Paddle boarding. I have to admit, given another body and a better sense of balance I would totally be a surfer girl. In my mind, I’m a surfer girl but that’s as far as it goes. I love the ocean. I love the water. I could sit for hours and watch surfers enjoying the water. I’ve also begun watching paddle boarders and thought that perhaps that could be my sport. But then I remember this clumsy, chubby body of mine and disregard the thought.
Last week I went to a Catalyst Conference. It’s a conference for young leaders. I’m not young, but I am a leader and this conference felt like it was just for me. The theme of the conference was KNOWN. Every speaker talked about being known by God and what our identity is in God. All the speakers in different ways explained that God has already told me who I am. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am God’s masterpiece. I am the apple of His eye. I am made in His image. In His eyes I am perfect and complete. We all struggle what the world tells us we are, or those terrible voices in our own head that tell us we don’t measure up or that we are not good enough. Why would I listen to those voices, or to what other people think when I already know who God says I am? It really hit home with me. I have spent my entire life feeling “less than.” I have felt dumb, unworthy, ugly, fat, and like a failure. But God calls that a lie. He reminded me this last week who I am, and for the first time in my life, I am trying to believe him.
Back to paddle boarding. My friend Alyssa who is beautiful, thin, young and so sweet invited me to come paddle boarding and she would teach me. Normally I would bow out saying it was too expensive, I didn’t have a board, etc. She removed all my excuses and I said yes. I went out to the marina feeling so insecure. I was fearing being ridiculed and embarrassed. But I remembered that conference and who God says I am and I went. I got on the board on my hands and knees. The instructor was yelling instructions to me. Now when I say yelling, the poor thing had to yell because I was in an all out panic. I didn’t know my right from my left, I couldn’t balance and adrenaline was coursing through my veins. She firmly and steadily yelled commands at me and through my fear I found my way to my feet. Other paddlers would paddle by me and say, “relax and enjoy it.” I said, “maybe next time.” It was all I could do to stay on my feet and yes I did fall, but I got up again. I paddled around that marina and it was AMAZING! I felt like I had run a marathon. I was on top of the world. I had conquered my fear. I had faced my accuser- which was my own head, and I didn’t back down. I did what I was too afraid to do and I proved myself wrong. I’m not a loser. I don’t have a terrible sense of balance. Chubby girls can do things. I cannot tell you how grateful I am that Alyssa extended that invitation and had such patience with me.
I learned a huge lesson that day. With my feelings of inadequacy, and failure and chubbiness, I have lived a good portion of my life “on the bench.” I learned I don’t have to live that way. I can go out and experience life and have fun! I can live in the realization of who God says I am. I can live up to who God has told me I am. That is exactly what I plan to do. I also plan on getting back on that paddle board ASAP!