Body Image Matters
Friends! Long time, no chat! Ugh.
We have officially moved into our new house and are working through getting settled in and such. School is starting this next week, and this time of year always seems extra busy. I have been re-
assessing my "attempts at scheduling", and I am thinking a feasible goal for me with the blog in relation to the other responsibilities of life will probably be once or twice a month. (Let's see how I do, huh?!?!) Hah.
Just want to share some quick thoughts and things I have processing and learning. I was specifically thinking about a new school year, and all the kids (girls, specifically), who will be embarking on a new school year. This always comes with the excitement of new clothes and new experiences and new friends... but, sometimes, there's a lot of fear, too. And, this fear is often rooted in the topic of body image. Body image is more than just how we look- it also involves what we believe about ourselves, our body, how that relates to God and to the world. Ultimately, how we handle body image directly correlates with how we view God. Looking back on my school days, I kind of wish I had believed and known these things as I went through middle school, high school, and even college. I heard them in passing, but essentially, any thoughts I had about my body and my image, I stuffed inside me in an attempt to not express the fears and insecurities I really had. So, now, twenty or so years later, I want to share what I have learned. Please feel free to share this with the girls in your life. We all need encouragement and reminders of who we are, by God's design and for his glory.
I remember the first time I became aware of body image. I was probably 11 or 12 years old (Mom, you can probably correct this, if I am wrong. 😁😉) Our family had gone on vacation camping, and during that time, had gone swimming at the lake. I don't remember much of the trip, but afterward, when my mom got her pictures printed and we were looking through them, there was this picture where I was walking down to the water in my bathing suit. The suit was red. It had been fairly new. And I can still see that picture to this day in my mind. At that moment, I resolved to never wear a swimsuit again. In that moment, I believed my body to be a disgusting, embarrassing, ugly thing.
Because I knew my body didn't look like other girls' bodies. I was bigger and heavier, "big" rib cage, "big" thighs, and at that age, was going through the bodily changes of becoming a woman. I was devastated. That moment became somewhat of a jumping point for me into the many "body crisis" moments I would have after that. I believe every woman/girl endures many of these moments, whether she remembers them or not. A word, a picture, a comment, a look can crush our spirits... this is not what God has intended for his dear daughters.
He has called us to look to him and his word for truth and validation and acceptance, love and hope.
Often easier said than done.
Because if we're honest, how many times have we looked in the mirror and sighed at the wrinkles, the acne spots, the dark circles, and the shape of our face? How often have we turned to look at our outfit and wrinkled our nose or burst into tears because of our accentuated back fat, the stubborn belly, the "big legs", or the lack of a certain "admirable body part". How many times have we fretted over what to wear: maybe covering up with excess clothes or trying to flaunt with too few clothes... or maybe we've totally given up on trying to look nice because nothing ever fits anyways.
Does God have answers to this?
In struggling through these things myself, this verse from Psalm 56 runs through my mind: "This I know that God is for me."
The background for this verse finds David lamenting the fear he has over the enemies pressing in on him. As we read this passage, we find David moving from fear to praise. How does he do this? David doesn't ignore his fears- instead he writes them out- cries them out to God.
Then, he acknowledges who God is and what he has done: "You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call." And, he repeats this thought: "in God whose word I praise; ...in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?"
Maybe your enemies are enemies of the mind- convincing you that you are not enough. That your body is embarrassing. That you are not worth anything. You are crushed and angry and fearful.
God knows, dear one. He keeps track of those things- like a little scrapbook. And when those fears and lies press in, he reminds you that he is for you. With you. There for you.
Whatever anxieties and fears you are facing, he has promised to deliver you. He has promised to be with you. Let your faith move you from fear to praise... "that you may walk before God in the light of life". He is our life and light. "All that we are needing, HE IS".
Struggling with body image is a rampant issue. I would encourage you to write out the thoughts and fears you have, like David did. This helps you process them and flesh them out in expressions to the One who understands and has answers for each one. Find a trusted, Godly friend to encourage you and help you. I would love to pray for you and with you.
Hope for the hopeless;
Rest for the weary;
Help for the hurting-
Mending the broken;
Bearing the burden;
All that you're needing-
Song for meditation: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rpvC2N7B0Dg