Here I am, 12 years ago at my brother’s undergrad graduation. I was 20 years old. I worked out then, but I was in college, so my eating wasn’t great. Can you see the roundness in my face? The way I’m hiding behind my brother yet still smiling? This was how I felt for most of my life. No confidence, hiding, worthless, ashamed.
I have always lived a healthy lifestyle in general, but what I saw in the mirror and what I told myself about my body was terrible. I worried no one would ever love me for who I was because I wasn’t pretty. I never felt skinny enough. I didn’t wear the most stylish clothes, but often opted for comfort. I didn’t care to try to impress guys (or girls) with makeup, clothes, or by doing my hair often, but I actually did care. A lot.
Because if your thighs rub together, your stomach hangs over and your face is Charlie Brown round, why would anyone want to date you,or be friends with you? You may not see what I see in this picture. But I remember how I felt. Trapped by lies I told myself every single day that I actually believed to be true. In my twenties, I almost married someone I didn’t love for fear of never finding what I wanted, had disorders with food & exercise, and didn’t know how I would ever feel okay with my body and myself.
I tell you all of this to ask a hard question. What is it for you? What do we not see in a smiling picture but is aching in your heart? I struggled for years and, at times, still battle the number on the scale, body changes, and self esteem. A few years ago, I realized I was always keeping it to myself. Surely, I could “fix this.” God felt far away and I literally checked out from him. I still went to church and prayed for things, but this didn’t seem meaningful enough as healing my dad who had cancer,or praying for my church and those suffering. This was menial. Or is it?
Does God really care if you fit into a smaller pant size? Or that number you dread going over on the scale? I think he does. Although I think he could care less about fashion or the difference in fabric material between a size 2 and 10, He does care about the state of our hearts. When we allow our thoughts and actions to be governed by a number or food, we give the devil one more inch in the doorway. His foot has it pried open but that wedge gets a little larger with every negative thought we tell ourselves. But, every woman feels this way, right? So we’re just all doomed to feel good about ourselves sometimes, and terrible other times. This is our plight as women in a comparative, destructive society.
If this sounds just as miserable to you as it does to me, let me ask you….Have you prayed about it? Have you asked God to infiltrate your thoughts? Not once, but daily and forever so you can know and feel like the daughter of a King. People ask me sometimes, “Well, have you given it to God?” I don’t think we ever really give it to him. I think we submit. We allow him in to this thing we have held onto so tightly because we have that fear I talked about. Fear of, “What if I am all those negative thoughts?” Dear sisters, you aren’t. And you’re wasting precious life by believing a lie. The devil seeks to steal, kill and destroy. You will always have an adversary. So, unfortunately, you will always struggle with something. That’s sin. That’s separation. Until Christ’s return, we are in a battlefield. But again, have you ever considered asking God to help you to want to exercise more? To find interest in healthy foods? To help you not compare to other women? To help you to love yourself?
Maybe you have and you’re still in a tough spot. You’ve worked hard at exercising again, eating well, are generally happy, but there is still that one thing. We all have at least one. Life is a daily submitting those “one things” to God. He is doing work in the background. Always. Stay the course.
Psalm 139 17-18 reads:
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.
He cares so much. So pray and pray and pray. Praise him and bless him for who he is. Ask for forgiveness for all the hell you have put your body and mind through. Pray that he would fill that void that you fill right now with exercise, a relationship, a number on the scale or elsewhere. Ask him to speak truth to you. That you would believe the truths of the Bible. That he could begin healing you from this cycle you’re on.
Ladies, I’m speaking to you, but I’m speaking to myself. I have those things, still. I may have lost weight eventually and finally thought I looked okay in a bikini, but my heart was still a mess. Years of destructive thinking will do that. Healing takes time. Mentally and physically. My only advice is to own the body you’re in right now. Work hard for what you want. And stay true to yourself.
Hugs and love ladies!