“You are unattractive and unlovable.”
“Your butt is too big.”
“You’re too tall.”
“You must have a gap between your thighs in order to be attractive.”
“You’re not skinny enough.”
“You’re not young enough.”
“No one wants to be your friend.”
“No one wants to have children with you because it will ruin your body forever.”
“No one wants to have children with you because you’d be a horrible mother.”
These are just a very small handful of the many, many voices I hear. Some are real voices that have spoken actual words to me. Some are my own voice interpreting what I believe people think of me based on how they treat me or respond to me. I bet you hear some voices too. Voices that spew ugly, terrible lies meant to destroy your self image and self worth. We all have them. I believe it’s one of the devils strongest tactics against us. Destroy our confidence and render us utterly useless. He skews our view of reality and what is really important.
For as long as I can remember, I have carried the belief that if I was not skinny enough, I was not worthy of being loved. It was spoken into my life at a very young age. This was for relationships with my family members, friends, and later into romantic relationships. I fully believed that no one could love me or even be my friend if I was not skinny enough. This obviously led to several time periods in my life where an eating disorder ran my mind and my life. During my mid to late 20’s I knew just how to starve myself enough at the right times so people wouldn’t be suspicious. It became a control game for me more than anything.
Being in a relationship now, where it is actually “safe” to have children and “safe” to risk my body being “ruined”, I’m sure you can imagine that those voices from the past haven’t just gone away.
Yesterday I found myself in a dressing room at a second hand store, face to face with my full body reflection. I came in because I am tired of wearing maternity pants and my old pants certainly don’t fit just yet. I tried to ignore my reflection at first as I slipped on the first few pairs of pants I had grabbed to try on. I grabbed a size I believed was “acceptable” for me to be at right now after having my second child. They would not go past my thighs. I hurriedly went back out and grabbed some pairs of the next size up. They would not zip or button up. Feeling utterly despaired and humiliated, I sat down in the dressing room in just my underwear. I needed a minute. How had I got here? What has happened? So many old voices from my past were screaming at me….”I told you it would ruin your body for good… No one will want you anymore….”
As heavy tears were threatening to escape my eyes, I stood up and turned back around to look in the mirror. I stared at it. I took it all in. I had just read a devotional that morning that was talking about how we can retrain and replace our thought patterns, those “voices” in our heads, with truth so that over time we will no longer think those things. It takes practice and it takes time. But you have to start somewhere and what better time than right now, face to face with my own worst enemy. I began to repeat truths that I know from scripture about being made in God’s image and being fearfully and wonderfully made. I took a picture to remind myself that this body is just a shell. It was created in love and continues to live on this earth because it has a purpose.
I’d like to say that I was fully transformed after that little moment, but I would be lying. I spent the rest of the day still battling between hating and loving my body, which means hating and loving myself. This battle makes me irritable and frustrated. It effects more than just myself. It effects my husband and my children. I have a daughter now and I do not want to be responsible for training her to think this way about herself. It breaks my heart to even consider the thought of her thinking that she is anything other than wonderful.
So I came home after church today and sought out some of those verses of truth to remember to speak into my mind when that battle rages. I am determined to retrain my brain to think on the truth. That is ,after all, what we are told to do! Philippians 4:8 “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Below I will list some of the other verses I found. I hope they will be helpful to some one else. I know I am not alone in this battle. So many friends I know battle with the same self destructive thought patterns. They may not all be exactly the same. They may be over other issues besides body image. But the root is the same. The TRUTH has and will always set us free, so let’s do our part and allow God to write the truth on our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33)
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” Romans 12:2
“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30
“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” John 15:9
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:13-14
My prayer for any eyes that may fall upon this humble blog is that those voices in your head that tear you down; those words you hear that leave you feeling defeated, empty and broke down; that they would all be quieted. I pray those voices will be replaced with the truth. I am praying that you will understand that you are loved. You are a prized possession. You have a purpose. You are enough because you are exactly who God created you to be.