Love Yourself

It was dark that night. The weather looked promising, even with the few dark rain clouds in the sky. Kayla Boone looked out her bedroom window. It was prom night and she was nervously waiting her guy-friend Chad Bolton to come and pick her up. She looked at her watch and sighed—it was 7:00 and still no Chad.

‘Where is he?’ Kayla wondered.

She ran her hands down her silk, blue prom dress. Her mother had taken her shopping for it months ago. She remembered how she had ached for prom night so she could finally wear the dress of her dreams. And now, she wasn’t so sure she would actually get the chance.

She waited and waited for Chad to come. She looked at her watch again. “Only seven fifteen?!” she said impatiently.

“At this rate I’ll never go to the prom.’ Kayla walked over to a leather chair by the window at sat down.

What was taking Chad so long? Did he forget? Kayla could only imagine what was taking Chad so long. He was usually the last to arrive at a party and always the last to leave. He was an attractive teenaged boy with unattractive manners, but he was Kayla’s friend. What could she do?

Ring! Ring! Ring! Kayla could only dream about who was calling her. “It’s probably Chad.” She was right. She hung up the phone and sat back down in her chair in anger.

“I’ll be right there!” he had said.

Yeah right! Kayla thought about just going without him, she could drive and Chad wouldn’t care, he was, “to busy watching the MMA fights on the sports channel. Wait, will ya?”

She wanted to burst out and tell him to hurry up, she didn’t have all night! But she couldn’t, it would be rude and her mother would not approve. Kayla waited, but not willingly.

“He won’t come.” Kayla concluded.

UNEXPECTED VISITORS
Ding-dong, ding-dong, rang the screeching doorbell. Kayla’s heart jumped. She stood up and made for the door, but stopped and thought, “I didn’t hear a car drive up. Mother said not to answer the door when she’s out.”

Ding-dong, ding-dong, the doorbell rang again. Kayla couldn’t resist the temptation to see who was at the door. She slowly and cautiously walked towards the door and looked out the peep-hole.

“Nothing,” she said. “It’s too dark.”

She debated on what she should do. Should she obey her mother, or give into the temptation that was gripping at her? To her own guilt she gave in and opened the door. Before she could close the door, she was body slammed to the ground. There was a great thud and the rustling of Kayla’s dress. She started to scream, but a hand covered her mouth. She started to hit, but a hand grabbed her arm. The attacker was strong—too strong for the extremely fit Kayla, and way too heavy for her to lift. Kayla tried her hardest to wiggle her way out from under the body, but it was no use. How was she going to get up? This couldn’t be happening now, not before the prom! She was worried about her dress wrinkling and the thought of Chad ran though her mind: ‘If Chad had been here already I wouldn’t be on the floor about to suffocate!’

She was about to give a right jab to the attacker’s jaw when the attacker spoke, “Kayla stop!”

At first Kayla didn’t know what to do or what to say. “I—I, um, I am sorry?!”

“Kayla, it’s me Elizabeth!” the supposed attacker screamed, “stop hitting me!”

Kayla gave a loud giggle and smiled sheepishly, “Well, then get off of me!” The girl got off of her smothered friend and stood awkwardly, embarrassed at her sudden and forceful entrance.

“I am so sorry Kayla!” Kayla smiled at her friend. How often do you get body slammed by your best friend, she had to giggle at the thought. Kayla took in a deep breath and released it. She felt light headed, but regained her composer. She looked her friend straight in the eyes with a glittery look in her kind, green eyes.

“It’s okay Elizabeth! All is forgiven.”

ELIZABETH
Elizabeth Warren was a large girl. She had had weight problems all of her life, she was never considered fat. But with the cruel divorce of her parents and her mother’s constant insults, the insecure girl began to find comfort in food.

Kayla stood up and smoothed out her dress. “What are you doing here?”

Elizabeth looked down at the floor, embarrassed. At first she couldn’t say anything. Her great big blue eyes began to swell with tears. She looked up at Kayla and bit her lip.

“What’s wrong, Lizzy?” Kayla often called the girl Lizzy for short. Kayla walked closer to Elizabeth and laid a gentle hand on the girl—her only guess was that Elizabeth and her mother had gotten into some fight.

“Kayla, I am a beach whale!” Elizabeth said jiggling her belly fat.

For a while Kayla knew the girl had been struggling with her weight. She hadn’t said anything about it because Elizabeth was getting enough of it from her mother. But Kayla didn’t think the weight gain was anything to be worried about. Kayla guessed that Elizabeth had gained about 20lbs, but nothing significant.

“Lizzy, you aren’t fat.” Kayla stated as she had often done before.

“Yes I am, Kayla.” Elizabeth sat down of the leather chair by the window and sobbed. “I am so FAT.”

Kayla rolled her eyes. She had drawn a blank. She had to think of something to encourage her friend—but how? Elizabeth was too hard on herself, she wasn’t any better than her mother when it came to giving herself encouragement.

“Look Lizzy. You are too critical about yourself. Golly! You’re a beautiful girl, but you don’t even see it.” Kayla felt sorry for her friend, she could only imagine how hard it must be to deal with the constant teasing, insulting and pranks placed on Elizabeth. Kayla had positioned herself as Elizabeth’s protector, she wasn’t about to let her friend be abused and mistreated.

“Kayla, you—you are a good friend,” Elizabeth stopped to clear her throat, “Too good. But nothing you say can make me escape the fact that I am overweight.”

“No you’re not! Come on, Lizzy, everyone had a unique body. Some are smaller, larger, taller and shorter than others. You just happen to be a little larger than others. But that’s not a bad thing Lizzy. It’s not a bad thing.”

Elizabeth smiled a doubtful smile and wiped the tears from her eyes. Her round, rosy cheeks were stained and blotchy. “Face it Kayla, I am fat.” Elizabeth said angrily. “Don’t you get it? Skinny people don’t jiggle; they don’t have to worry about wearing a bathing suit or looking like a pig. They’ve got it so easy and I have it so hard.”

“You look here. You are not fat. How many times do I have to tell you? I for one don’t care what you look like in a bathing suit. You’re my best friend.”

“Jeremy told me I was too fat; and that if I didn’t loose weight, he wouldn’t be my boyfriend anymore.”

“Jeremy is an idiotic jerk!” Kayla said outraged.

 Elizabeth looked up at her friend, stood up and walked towards the window.

“You know how long it took me to pick out this prom dress?” Kayla shook her head, confused.

“Hours! Yeah, and guess what, I’ve gained 130 pound in the last four months and I have gone from a size 16 to a size 20.”

Kayla was surprised. She would have never guessed, “I would have never known.”

“Well, Jeremy must have known.”

YOUR BEAUTIFUL THE WAY YOU ARE
Kayla was at her wits end. How could she make her best friend see that she was beautiful just the way she was? ‘God, if there is some way I can get to Lizzy, I would greatly appreciate it.’ Kayla walked into the kitchen and got some juice from the fridge. She offered some to Elizabeth, but she refused. Kayla leaned over the counter that overlooked the window where Elizabeth stood. Kayla just didn’t get it. Behind every person there’s insecurity—whether it is about their weight, height, how they look or how they dress.

To Kayla her friend never seemed to change. Elizabeth was always beautiful inside and out; whether she believed it or not. She even looked beautiful in her midnight blue prom dress. So what if she had gone up a few dress sizes, that’s was nothing to Kayla. But Kayla didn’t face the same problem as insecure Elizabeth did. Kayla was slim and trim, muscled and athletic. And well, Elizabeth wasn’t. Kayla sipped her juice slowly so she wouldn’t get any on her dress.

She offered to make Elizabeth something to eat, “Maybe a small sandwich?” But Elizabeth refused. “We’ve been friends since fifth grade right?”

Elizabeth nodded; a corny smile appeared on her face. “Yeah, we’ve known each other for ever! But listen. You need to hear this—from me—as a friend.”

“Great! Even you’re going to tell me how fat I am.” Elizabeth said in defense.

“Look Lizzy. This may be hard to hear—you’re never going to believe me.”

“No go on. Say what you have to say.” Elizabeth crossed her arms in annoyance.

Kayla cleared her throat. “I’ve been trying to tell you this for ages. But you never listen to me. Lizzy,” Kayla stopped to think about what she was about to say. She knew Elizabeth wasn’t a God person and could care less about what He did for her and all of Kayla’s ‘Mumbo-jumbo Bible verses.

Kayla was skeptical to say what she wanted to say, but she knew that if she didn’t she would most likely loose her closest friend. She closed her eyes, aware that Elizabeth was starring her down. ‘Lord, give me the strength to say what you have laid on my heart. Amen.

Elizabeth was getting pretty steamed and started for the door. “I don’t have time for this. I know where you’re headed.”

Kayla’s heart sunk. “No! Hear me out Lizzy—please!” Kayla rushed over to her friend and led her to a sofa adjacent to the leather chair by the window. Kayla sat and forced the large girl to follow. Kayla placed a genteel hand on Elizabeth’s shoulder and took in a deep breath.

She was scarred to be rejected, to loose the friendship she had—they had worked so hard to obtain. “I am not going to repeat myself anymore. Either you listen to me or you don’t. Lizzy,” Kayla started, “you are not a small girl by any means. But you never seemed to care until now. Jeremy is a jerk; and if he doesn’t like you for who you are, then he isn’t somebody you should be wasting your time with.”

Elizabeth wrenched away, clearly hurt. “I am not wasting my time with him. I am wasting it listening to you. I thought you were my friend.”

“I am your friend Lizzy!” Kayla said trying to keep control. “You are my dearest friend and I do not want to see you hating yourself because your mom, boyfriend and people at school call you fat. So what if you went up a few dress sizes?! Don’t you know you’re beautiful?”

“Who in their right mind thinks me beautiful?”

“I do and so does God. Lizzy—God loves you the way you are. You are a special girl. I have tried to make you see that, but I think it’s up to you to see how special you really are. You are beautiful, talented and the best friend I could ever ask for!”

“You mean even if I am an embarrassment? You don’t mind being known as the fat girl’s friend?”

“No—and I don’t consider you fat. Proverbs 237 states, ‘For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.’ Lizzy, you are not helping your situation by putting yourself down. You have to think positive, think ‘I am beautiful just the way I am!’”

“I just don’t see it.”

“You have an identity in Christ, not in the world. God doesn’t care what you look like; he wants you to love yourself, because he loves you. God had a plan for you before he created you. Psalm 139:16 says, ‘You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe.’ You weren’t meant to be skinny, but to be a strong, independent girl who shouldn’t care about the way she looks— just because her boyfriend and mom can’t find any other way to release their anger.”

“Thanks Kayla. I am sorry for being so mean. I know you mean what you say. And only a true friend would come right out and tell her friend what she needed to hear, even if it hurt.”

Kayla smiled. “You truly are a beautiful girl Lizzy. Don’t forget that—don’t forget God created you the way you are.”

“You’re right. I need to stop wearing my feelings on my sleeve.”

“No. You need to come to terms with yourself. Some people weren’t meant to be skinny—you need to love yourself before you can become confident in yourself, and stop wearing your feelings on your sleeve. It takes time.”

“Okay.” Elizabeth said energetically. “I will try my hardest. But I will need your support and the help from God.”

Kayla smiled a bright smile. ‘Thank you God! You truly are amazing!’

“Now, let’s got to that prom, I’ve got a certain boyfriend to talk to.”

“Yeah, I think Chad just arrived.”

HOLD YOUR HEAD HIGH
It was a Cinderella themed prom. The whole student body wore fairytale type prom clothing along with a glittery feathery or masculine mask to hide their identity. Kayla and Elizabeth made their way though the large crowd to the punch table. There they talked a while before they decided to dance. Chad and Elizabeth’s boyfriend Jeremy came walking up to the two girls and asked for a dance.

Elizabeth had a sly smile of her face and Chad and Kayla could only guess what she had up her sleeve. ‘This is going to be interesting.’ Kayla thought to herself. Chad and Kayla followed Jeremy and Elizabeth to the dance floor. The music was fast paced and Kayla had a hard time keeping up with the beat. Elizabeth was a natural at dancing, but her dance partner fell short of her expectations.

“So, have you been thinking about what I said to you yesterday?” Jeremy asked watching the ridiculous movements of his two left feet.

“Yes—yes I have Jeremy.” Elizabeth stated firmly. “I know every blond hair, blue eyes girl is supposed to be skinny and on the cheerleader squad, but not this girl. You can go a head and dump me because I am not changing myself for a person who can appreciate the real me. This is who I am Jeremy. Luscious, curvy and beautiful—just the way God created me. Take it or leave it.”

Jeremy was repulsed and left, face smoldering red. Kayla and Chad walked over to embrace their friend, encouraging her and telling her how proud they were of her standing up for herself. “Feels good doesn’t it Liz? Chad asked with enthusiasm.

“Yes! After Kayla’s talk, I think I am going to enjoy being big and beautiful. No mater how I look I am beautiful to God.”

“Don’t forget you’re beautiful to us, too!” Chad said quickly.

“I am so proud of you Lizzy!” Kayla said with a huge grin on her face.

The three hugged and walked out of the room with the feeling of accomplishment for their friend Elizabeth. God was slowly changing her perspective, and with the support of her friends and her own effort, she would fight the battle of her insecurities and win.

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