Body Image #2
I’m pretty strong. Physically, I can lift large amounts of weight from the ground to over my head. Mentally, I can block things that try to bring me down. Emotionally, I can maintain a calm, steady demeanor in the midst of trials. The problem is that the second two are just a front that I’ve just gotten pretty good at. They are things I use to keep people from seeing how I feel about myself, my body, and my life. So without further ado, here’s a little peek into an area of my life that I am completely weak.
It took a very long time for me to come to grips with this and it still is a struggle for me to even say or type the words “I’m weak” in reference to any area of my life. I never thought food/nutrition would be something I struggled this much with. I am incredibly weak when it comes to sweets. I’m not just talking like sometimes go a little overboard at the dessert table at a wedding or something, I’m talking if a buffet of sweets is in front of me on the right day, I will eat to the point of almost making myself sick, just because it’s there. Not because I’m truly that hungry or anything. It happens even when I don’t want it to and even when I know I shouldn’t. I just can’t stop sometimes. It makes me feel broken. Like something is terribly wrong with me and that I should be able to control my own appetite. My self control and all my knowledge of nutrition goes out the window and I’m left with an overly full stomach, guilt, and shame. By the grace of God, this occurrence has never led me to purge or starve myself, but I won’t say it hasn’t crossed my mind. I’ve been listening to a podcast lately called Head to Heart by Restore Ministries here in Birmingham and there was one thing that the counselor, Julie, said that really inspired everything I’m writing about today. She said (referring to what Paul said in 2 Cor. 12:9-10),”Boast in your weaknesses so that the power of God would be shown even still more. Find freedom in weakness.” So here I am…(attempting) to boast my weakness. As I said earlier I’m the last person to admit that I’m weak, but yet I know God is patiently waiting for me to bring my weakness to him so that He can make me strong. It is a daily battle to let him take this weakness from me. Some days easy, some days I completely slip up. In Julie’s book, Unhitching from the Crazy Train, she introduces the “Freeze Frame” technique. It requires you to “freeze” what you’re doing and think about what your core belief is in that moment. Often my core belief in those slip up moments is that I must take all I can get just in case the supply runs out, not that I am a well provided for daughter of a King. But that is what I pray for and what I preach to myself, even in the midst of slipping. It doesn’t always work, but I know that God is working in me. Something else from the book that really helps me in these moments is saying and remembering, “He is in this, He is in me.” That doesn’t mean it’s ok or that it’s just going to magically go away, but it directs me back to the only one that can change me. 1 Corinthians 10:13 has also been a verse I keep going back to because it reminds me that God is faithful, even in this, and He will provide a way out for me. Sometimes that’s the only hope in moments of weakness, but then again, it’s the only hope I need.
When it comes to body image, it depends on the day, honestly. I’ve always been an athlete so performance has always trumped aesthetics for most of my life. I’ve always wanted to be able to perform well and feel good vs. look good and feel awful. I think all of the social media influence of the last few years has played a huge role in the shift in my mind of how I “should” look. When my body fails to live up to those unrealistic, worldly standards, I begin to be at war with my body, hating it for being how God created it. I begin to believe that people’s opinions of my body are what give me value and that I should feel ashamed because I’m not what “should” be. “If we are stuck in what should be and stuck in shame, the enemy has us. If we’re busy looking at what should be, we are not dealing effectively with what is.(H2H Podcast)” Boom. This simple statement rocked me. I’ve been so caught up in what I should be and how I should look, I have been blind to the beautiful, strong body that God has given me. Lately I’ve really been trying to see myself for how I am in this very moment. My mind almost instantly tells me I should lose weight again, that I should workout more, etc. etc. But in those moments, I remember the simple implication of the gospel that was so wonderfully defined in the Crazy Train book. “If the gospel is true, then I am a well-provided for daughter of a King and my worth and righteousness is in Him, not myself.” Not in my number on the scale, in the size of my waist, or in the thickness of my thighs...IN HIM. The world may see my waist size, but God sees so much more.
I hope this has helped to connect some dots between body image/nutrition/health and our Father. It took a very long time for me to connect the two and I’m still very much learning all of these things and how to let God take over this area of my life. If anyone would like any guidance or help in regards to fitness and nutrition, I would love to walk alongside you. I probably know more about nutrition than my own profession and I truly enjoy using my knowledge and experiences to help people.
Book: “Unhitching from the Crazy Train; Finding Rest in a World You Can’t Control”-Julie Sparkman & Jennifer Phillips
Podcast: Head to Heart by Restore Ministries
Book: Body Beliefs-Jason Seib **Disclaimer: I have not finished this book yet and it is not faith based. The author believes in evolution, but I easily was able to see God in it with the knowledge that He is our creator.** There are a ton of applicable tips in this book when it comes to how we think about our bodies.