Learning to accept your growing body and body shape is a hard issue to tackle. It’s something I haven’t perfectly mastered yet, but by God’s limitless grace, I’m getting there!
As we neared or entered the teen years of our lives, most of us were bombarded with images of beautiful girls and woman on the tv or movie screen, or pages of magazines we flipped through. We learned to idolize these woman. They all seemed to fit into a perfect little mold with the perfect amount of curves, thick luscious hair, bleached white teeth, ample breasts, and symmetrical facial features. We longed to be them. To look like them. Then…reality hit. Puberty, pimples, belly pooch, cellulite, crooked teeth that needed braces and we began to feel…discontent, self-conscious, inadequate with ourselves, with the way we were made. No wander so many people suffer from eating disorders! We get hit from every angle with billboards, signs, commercials, articles, tv shows, even doctors saying we need to do this and that to reach the best us possible, to look the best we can. The problem with this is, it’s flawed. It’s faulty! The diet industry is making billions of dollars off our misery and insecurities! How are we ever going to recover fully from a deadly eating disorder when we are still buying into the lies? When we are trying to have an “ideal” recovery? We can’t! In order to recover fully, we need to let go of all we once thought was true about eating, exercising, and being healthy. A woman should not be eating 2,000 calories or less every day to maintain health and optimal set-point weight. A woman should not restrict or diet in any way to unnaturally fit into a certain BMI category. A person in recovery should not be forcing themselves to exercise, do aerobics, or lift weights to have a toned body during and after remission. These are only going to be pitfalls on the road to remission. We need to rethink our views on what we consider beautiful and healthy! A woman who is at her natural set-point weight, no matter what that weight might be, is indeed a beautiful woman! She is in fact, just as God created her to be. Anything less, and she is imperfection! A few things that have really helped me reshape my idea of beauty are found in Scripture.
1) God clearly states that He created each of us unique and special! Psalm 139: 13-16 state, 13 “For You formed my inward parts ; You wove me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth ; 16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance ; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.” God designed our being. We need not long to be or look like someone else. He is a master sculptor and our vessel is one of beauty!
2) Not only did God make us uniquely and special, He made us in His own image!
Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” We can take joy and comfort in knowing we were made in the image of an Almighty Savior!
3) God is concerned with how we treat our bodies! “Romans 12:1
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
How can we rightfully starve and mistreat our bodies when we know God has entrusted them into our care? He gave s our body to be used to bring Him glory, to use the talents, gifts and abilities that He equipped us with to the best of our ability. We can’t rightfully do that if we are weak, frail, and ridden with fear and anxiety!
The good news is, He has given us the ability to overcome any obstacle that comes our way! 1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” We simply cling to the cross, cry out for deliverance, and ask for wisdom and courage to do what is right and best for us in recovery. He will surely provide more than adequate grace to eat that extra serving of pasta, or drink that calorie rich milkshake, or sit with the overly full feeling until it passes! I have found God to be more than faithful when I have no strength or courage of my own! As I see my body continuing to change and take on a different shape and my once flat stomach is now poochy and squishy, I have to ask God to help me see myself through His eyes. When I do, I see a beautiful form that is taking on the shape it was intended to take on. Nothing can be more beautiful than a work of art being molded in the master’s hands!
Let’s take the time to reconsider what we value about ourselves and rework our ideals on what we call beautiful!