What Happens to My Soul-Size When I Obsess to Shrink My Waistline

(This post was originally published Tuesday on www.katiekump.com. The response has been so overwhelming it seemed timely to share with the Dearly Beloved community this week. We’ll resume our Broken Up series next week.)

His incredulity is forever burned on my brain.

Standing in line at Express to buy a gift card for his sister, Stephen’s eyes fixed on the first pair of pants on the rack right beside us.

“That doesn’t say, ‘size 0,’ does it?”

I affirmed the unbelievable.

“What does that even mean? How can you be a size nothing? Are all women’s clothes like this?”

I tried to explain to him that designers figured we women would let the numbers on our tags define us. We’d rather shop for a small number that bears no correlation to our actual size than face the facts about the amount of fabric it takes to wrap up our vast and varied figures.

He could not fathom. I’ll never forget. And the memory surged forth again last night when a friend texted me a comical tweet.

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A size 000?

I laughed and then realized only half the joke was a joke at all. I shuddered as my mind wondered how many women would hear the news and cry to fit into a size 000.

Have we been mislead to chase the waistline that does not exist?

They’ve given these numbers and standardized an arbitrary sizing system. My number has little to do with the actual size and shape of my body and much more to do with…well, I’m not sure what.

It’s surely not a number that reflects anything about my almost-27-years of wear and tear and fluctuation. It very well hides the signs of my Freshman Fifteen, Sophomore Shame, Junior Just-Barely-Not-An-Eating-Disorder. My number sounds like a grade in school or the size of a child’s shoe, not the hips and thighs of a full-grown woman who was made to bear babies and keep healthy and live free.

Still I fear to be enslaved by this number. I fear I’ve bought the lie that my soul is worth more if my waist would just shrink. 

And don’t we have an enemy who would love for us to live there? Don’t we have an adversary who says that what goes in will make us wise and what stays out will keep us worthy?

We could peruse the pants rack and push away from the table before dessert comes out. We could stifle the cravings for chocolate and go run the extra miles after eating the fries. We could step onto the scale hoping to move it less today than we did yesterday, hoping parts of us have vanished, hoping the number drops and we’re worthy of living.

We could. But we don’t have to.

We could chase zeroes to shrink our sizes, but why not chase life to make use of the size we really are?

Life is not about how much space your waist takes up,
but what you’re doing to change the world
in the space you’re in.

We were not made for the futility of trying to stay small; we were made for the joy of growing something beautiful with our lives.
So what must it do to our souls when we beg our bodies to not exist?


I’ll never have a thigh gap, but if my life is given to closing the gap between Jesus in our heads and Jesus in our hearts, does it matter what shape my legs are?

I’ll never be so small they say my size is nonexistent, but I’d rather live a life proclaiming the ever-existing, cross-measured love of Christ to His world anyway.

I’ll never wear a smaller size, but I’ll rejoice for the gift of taking up space on this planet. That every inch of me is planned and pure joy to my Creator, every cell and fiber sustained by His breath for His glory and the good of the world.

Yes, the only size that matters, the only measure by which we know our worth, are the ever-extended arms of Jesus. Stretched out on the cross so they could wrap wide around our bruised and tender hearts.

Let’s not stuff our souls into the circumference of our hips. Let’s not stifle life into the lie that we matter most in just the smallest number. Let’s give our hearts the room to breathe and grow and live liberated.

The size we need is higher than the heavens are above the earth, and as far as the east is from the west. Jesus floods all this into our hearts. And our waistlines? They grow hazy, forgettable, insignificant as His love outgrows our souls, changes the world.

So try on size “fearfully, wonderfully made.” Slip into clothes marked for the righteous, the ones that say, “paid in full.”

Jesus is the Savior who fits all, filling up our worth, and loving us lovely.

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;
my soul shall exult in my God,
for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Isaiah 61:10

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