I had a wonderful conversation with a friend from work about body image, how we truly see ourselves and what God thinks of us.
It's amazing how easily it is for us as women to believe the lies that if we are not perfect in our personalities or physical appearance, we are not worthy of love and respect. Amazingly enough, most of us have had someone say something to us that hurt to the core. Stuff like "You won't find love until you lose that weight", or "Your ugly because your fat". I could go on and on.
When I was a small child, I remember sitting at the dining room table with my family. My Great Aunt, and Nanna were visiting from out of town. I don't remember what all was said, but I do remember my aunt looking directly at me and saying something like, "If you don't get your weight off you won't find a man". I remember that day so clearly because that is when I took that lie and put it as a truth for myself. It hit me to the core. It scared me so deeply that for my entire life I have believed I am not good enough, not pretty enough to be worth it. The vow I told myself through the years was "I was not going to let a man get too close to me until I was skinny".
Recently I took a class on "Co-Dependency" which has taught me quite a bit about myself and others around me on how we act. What I mean is there are so many of us that have wounds that go so deep, that we cannot function as the people God created us to be. Either we put on weight and use that as a "keep people arm’s length" distance, or we are using something else to hide who we truly are.
Here is what I have come to realize--and I have been thinking this thru for quite some time. We-all of us--yes YOU--are BEAUTIFUL! We were made in the likeness of God! How much more do we need to strive for?
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.
2 Thessalonians 3:5
May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.
My sisters--fellow perseverer’s--Beautiful Women! I want you to know that you are loved, and YOU are created TO love! ;-) I know that it was NEVER God's plan for all of this hurt to come upon us. He never intended for painful words or actions to hurt us to the core--Yet He hurt’s with us. I know He does because at times of intercession I have felt His pain.
One of the dangers of going through periods of distress, hurt, and heartache is that we’ll begin to doubt God’s goodness, and to think that He doesn’t care. Nothing could be further from the truth. And this is one of the reasons why it’s essential for us to spend regular time in God’s Word. Scripture says: “In all their suffering He also suffered, and He personally rescued them. In His love and mercy, He redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years.” (Isaiah 63:9) God hurts when we hurt. Remember Jesus weeping when He saw Lazarus’ family grieving? (John 11:35) The Bible clearly states that the Lord sympathizes with our weaknesses. (Hebrews 4:15) But He doesn’t stop there. As Isaiah says, He personally rescues us, lifts us up, and even carries us in times of hardship and pain.
Just as God allows pain to enter our lives, He sends healing and restoration. Is there anything you and I can do to help this process along? Yes, there is. We can cooperate with God by earnestly seeking Him in prayer, praise, and the study of His Word. And we can ask Him to speak to our hearts, and to help us learn whatever lessons He has for us in our struggles. As we faithfully follow His lead, we will minimize the intensity and duration of our trials.
For myself, I am tired of all of the hype that's out there that you must be a certain weight or look a certain way to be accepted. You have to act a certain way for people to like you. We are who we are because Christ created us to be different. Each of us has different personalities. We each look different and have different body types. Our bodies all are created differently.
This of course is not discounting the disappointment that we feel when someone chooses another person prettier than us, or that we are not as likeable as the next person beside us. I get it. I feel it. I have suffered from the pain of rejection. Those feelings are very real and VERY prominent in our society today.
There is nothing wrong with working on our outward beauty in itself. We are children of the King so why not look the part? We should always do our best and look our best but many times we forget about the inside and the way we project ourselves. What I am saying is, let yourself come out of the shell of hurt and let people see who you really are. Let us love on each other and be real with each other. There is going to be pain and there is going to be joy regardless of how big or small we are.
Proverbs 11:16 tells us that a gracious woman retains honor, so a beautiful women demands to be respected. We cannot allow others to take advantage of our beautiful and disrespect us with rude remarks.
I found this poem that truly hit home called "Who Am I?"
Who am I?
My first answer would probably be my name.
But, my name does not describe who I am on the inside.
I could then give the title of my profession.
But that is what I do.
I could then tell you I am a wife, a sister, and a daughter.
But those are my relationships.
I ask again, who am I?
I could describe myself as an extrovert and outgoing.
That is my personality.
I am organized in planning events.
But that is a gift God has given me.
I could describe my appearance, but that is not who I am either.
So many times I have believed what others say I am.
If I receive affirmation, then I feel worthwhile.
However, when I receive criticism, then I feel like a failure.
I have chosen to ride the roller coaster of emotions,
Instead of believing the truth of what God says about me.
I have tried to work harder to prove that I am worthwhile.
Yet every time I mess up or fail, I am reminded that I will never measure up.
I will never be pretty enough or talented enough.
I will never be skinny enough or do enough good things of the church.
I will never be a good enough wife or sister or daughter.
But, I keep trying harder and harder.
I believe the lie that if I continue to try harder, I will finally be "good" enough.
One day, God gently said to me,
"Stop trying so hard to prove yourself to others.
Get your worth from me. I've already given it to you.
Remember my grace.
It's a free gift and nothing you can achieve by trying harder.
Rest in my grace.
You are working so hard to have a certain position in the eyes of others,
To be well-liked and to have popularity.
You want to be appreciated for what you do.
But I want you to know that you already have an elevated position.
Because you have a relationship with my son, Jesus Christ,
You are a part of my kingdom as my daughter, and co-heirs with Christ.
Because you are the daughter of a King,
You are given the position of being a princess.
You are my princess, a royal princess.
Remember that an earthly princess is not special because of who she is or what she does.
She has status and position because of who her dad is, a king.
She has royalty in her blood.
You have royalty in your blood as well.
You are the daughter of a King.
And no matter what you do, your status will never change.
I have chosen you and I have a plan for your life.
I will not forget you and will be with you always.
I have engraved you in the palm of my hands.
Rest in the knowledge of who you are in me.
Nothing else will ever be enough.
You are my daughter and I love you!"
by Shelley Hitz