"You're too fat and too ugly to be a cheerleader, and you'll never get a boyfriend!" said Becky Tate, the head cheerleader and most popular girl in school. With that Missy's dreams were dashed. She went home, crying, and told her mother what had happened.
Her mom held her and comforted her saying, "Missy, you are not fat and you are not ugly! I'm so sorry that you have to go through this, but sometimes kids can be cruel today and nice tomorrow. You can try out for cheerleading next year. And as for a boyfriend, when the time is right, you'll have one."
Missy didn't really hear any of it except, "try out next year". She made up her mind. She'd show them. She would lose all the weight she needed to become accepted. Then they'd have to take her. She'd be a cheerleader and get a boyfriend. She'd be popular.
And so it began. The dieting and exercising had worked initially, but then it became an obsession. She still heard a voice in her head, taunting her, but it was no longer the voice of Becky Tate. Now it was a dark, evil voice. You're still too fat, no one likes you, you're not worthy to be a cheerleader, and how can you expect to get a boyfriend when you're so repulsive?
It was no use. No matter how disciplined she was, she couldn't achieve her goal. She couldn't make the voice go away. In fact, it just got louder. Her parents said she was too thin. The scale showed that she lost weight. But when she looked in the mirror, all she saw was fat. Just a little more weight, she thought. Just a little more weight and I'll be ok. I'll be thin enough. I'll be accepted.
Her parents didn't know what to do. They tried forcing her to eat. They took her to a doctor who had her hospitalized. They cried and pleaded with her to no avail. No matter what they did, they couldn't get her to see what they did. They couldn't get her to see how dangerously thin she was. "Lord," they prayed, "please help our daughter. Open her eyes Lord, and expose the deception she believes. We can't help her Lord, but You can. We love her, but know that You love her more. Please Jesus help our Missy."
One day, as she was looking in the mirror, the voice shouting at her, she heard a whisper. It was faint, but it was there. What was it saying? She closed her eyes and tried to shut out the loud voice and focus on the whisper. There it was again a small, still voice speaking to her. Beloved, do you not know that I created you in my image? Why do you destroy my creation? You are my workmanship, beautiful and unique, just the way I want you. I have a specific purpose just for you. I love you the way you are. Beloved, you are the apple of my eye.
Her eyes flew open and she looked again at the image in the mirror. With clarity she saw what really was. She saw the emaciated body, the lifeless hair and eyes. Oh Lord, she thought, what have I done? She realized in her determination to 'show them', she was killing herself. And for what, to be a cheerleader? To fit in with people who didn't like her for who she was?
In that instance she knew she had a problem that was too big for her to fix on her own. She realized that what she sought to control was now controlling her. And she understood the stakes were very high. It was no longer about being a cheerleader and being popular, or having a boyfriend. It was about living or dying. And she knew that it was now time for her to choose.
She looked in the mirror again and made her choice. She turned and went to find her parents. Finding them, she said with tears in her eyes, "Mom, Dad, I know that I'm sick. I don't want to die. Will you help me?"
With relief and gratefulness they hugged her and assured her they'd get her the help she needed, and together they all cried. Her parents looked at each other, then up toward heaven and silently thanked the Lord for showing her that she'd been deceived.
2008 Tracy Keck
Lauryn Abbott is a wife and mother, with a passion for writing and a zest for life. Her writing has always been a private passion, but recently the Lord has been urging her to make it public. More of her writing can be found on her Seed Thoughts blog at: