Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Weight of Invisibility

The first time I saw the musical Chicago was on the big screen. I remember hearing the words to “Mister Cellophane” and just having an all-out ugly cry moment:

"Cause you can look right through me, walk right by me, and never know I’m there”

I felt like I had been singing the exact same words in my head on repeat for several years. Mister Cellophane understood what it felt like to be invisible and those words summed it up perfectly for me.

This year, I wanted to get serious about my health. God had given me the word “transformation” for 2017, and I was quite certain He meant a physical transformation. I knew part of that would mean finding a new doctor. It has been years since I had a real physical. It seems I had been able to bypass them somehow with the doctor I was seeing for the last 2 years. He was nice...sure. But other than referring me out for an injury, he’d often dismiss any questions I had about my overall health. And of course, losing weight was the answer to all my questions anyway.

I can’t speak for every overweight individual, but going to the doctor hasn’t always been on my top things to do. I always think about wanting to lose weight BEFORE I go in…even when that’s the #1 reason I’m going in in the first place. The dreaded moment where the intake nurse starts moving that part of the scale to the right and I say “Nope, you can move it over some more.” I have been pretty much humiliated at times by well-meaning doctors who take out the BMI scale to show me how I’m way off the charts, then lecture me on how many calories I should be taking in to lose weight. Not to be ungrateful, but I’ve been dieting since I was 9 years old, I could probably teach a class on it! I didn’t want a lecture, or to be made to feel like a fool…I wanted someone who would actually see me and know that there’s much more to my weight issues than not knowing how to count calories or read package nutrition labels. So often at this heavier weight, I have felt “seen through” or “seen past” much like Mister Cellophane. A sort of invisible object that is a part of the backdrop of many life scenes, and often overlooked.

Feeling “seen” hasn’t always been a problem.  As a young child, I remember people stopping my parents to tell them something complimentary about me. Sometimes I'd get teased about it, so I never really took it as a positive, but rather unsolicited attention. I actually wanted to stop being noticed. I started feeling uncomfortable hearing teachers say, “There’s just something different about her.” At some point as I got older, it manifested this need to constantly be “on” in my head. And when I wasn’t able to meet my own expectations of myself as a young adult, I began to do whatever I had to do to be prettier or more well liked. More “seen” if you will. But I often found myself still feeling invisible and overlooked.

This sense of not feeling seen hit an all-time low after having my heart broken in my early 20s. Years passed, and I began to build a wall around me. The wall of weight helped me to explain away the invisibility I sometimes felt. When I feel invisible, it is easier to blame the wall that I’m behind. It’s the excuse for every unrequited crush, for every party I’m not invited to, and for every promotion I’m not extended. It’s the reason I’m “so awesome,” yet I’m never awesome enough to be set up with your friend. The crazy thing is the wall that I held as the barrier to being “seen” was self-inflicted. A continual cycle of feeling the weight of invisibility that I myself created.

It took me until June to make the call for an appointment with a new doctor. I had been given her name years ago, but never made it to her office. I had read a lot about her being kind, and wanting to really know her patients, so I decided to give it a try.

I’m so glad I did.

Within minutes of being in this doctor’s office, I could tell it was going to be different. Her intake survey even seemed to be a nice “Hello, Who are you?” We sat and talked for 45-minutes about everything from my medical history to my reasons for being there to my faith. Yes, we spoke about God and my calling and how the Holy Spirit could be my help through this. It was clear that this was a divine appointment and that this doctor was different from any others I’d seen. This doctor actually saw behind the wall, and started to speak to who I could be. It felt like a hug from heaven...God's way of saying, "I see you - it's time."

The thing is, I know in my innermost being that I’m not invisible. I’ve been gently courted by God who has been so gracious in helping me slowly peel away to the root of the issue. He’s such a good Father, letting me know it’s time to face some things, and at the same time, allowing me to learn more about Him, how much He loves me and probably most importantly, how He sees me.

I know that I am loved, cherished, purposed and highly favored. I’m a daughter of the King and the apple of my heavenly Father’s eye. He has seen me all along.  So now it’s time for my soul and body to line up with what my spirit knows. It’s time to break through the false wall of protection I’ve allowed to go up. I’m done believing the lie that I’m not seen by God or that He has forgotten me. Perhaps instead of being invisible, I’ve just been hidden in the field for such a time as this. A transformation has certainly begun to take place. I’m just realizing that the transformation had to first begin in my heart.

Today's Forecast: There’s a pretty big wall in front of me.

Silver Lining: My God’s pretty good at tearing stuff down.

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