Yes, hates a strong word, but bear with me.
This won’t be what you think!
Ok, I’m not going to turn this into a body shaming session or into a list of things I wish were different. While I do wish my stomach was a little flatter and legs a little firmer, that’s beside the point.
Ok let me rewind for a moment.
In the middle of last spring semester I walked into my favorite little coffee shop, common grounds (most people know I live there), and as I walked in I recognized a familiar face, Timmy. Common Grounds worker and a welcome face, as we have come to be friends through our mutual time spent at CG. Opening the door carrying my normal stack of books in one hand, water in the other and a backpack full of other books and journals, Timmy spotted my bible in my hand and asked what I had been reading.
I told him I had just finished reading Romans and Hebrews and was about to start another book.
Timmy said ” read James it will tear you apart, or at least it did me”
So I sat down, and started to read James. I wasn’t as focused as I had hoped and the words were there but they didn’t hit me with the impact they made just the other night.
But thank you Timmy because of your comment I instantly knew where to turn, as I sat in my bed teary eyed with frustration last week.
If you know me well or are close to me, it’s likely you know how much I struggle with my body confidence and to what extent I have a negative perspective on my physical appearance.
Ok no this is not to get people to say poor me, or the normal comments like “but you’re skinny” and such.
I’m sharing the truth because I very well know I’m not the only person out there that struggles with this.
Now I’m admitting my true heart towards my body to the masses not just to a few of my friends and mentors.
My boyfriend, Caleb, being my best friend knows that this is my biggest insecurity. He tries so hard to reassure me that my perspective is skewed and to love me through my negative talk and forgives me for falling into a worldly mindset and not a Godly one.
However; the other night a miscommunication over text had me in tears. I once again had expressed my insecurities about my body.
And this time I was not responded to with the loving norm but rather something all together different.
He said something along the lines of ” this has got to stop, or I can no longer help you, you’re on your own”
Ok this sounds harsh but I promise where he was coming from was totally different than what it sounds.
We both had miscommunicated our feelings.
Caleb was right in his response, he had done all he could to change my perspective but it was up to me and God not him and I.
Like I have been told time and time again, the only way to change your heart is to give over everything to God and trust that he had the power to change not my own power or the power of worldly devices or the power of others words.
James 1: 5-8
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”
Words and things are but a vapor. God’s Word remains forever.
So we must listen wholeheartedly and believe fully that God hears our cries and desires to help us.
With the Word in my heart temptations have disappeared a little bit, but the evil one is still doing his work to fight back.
“but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
Don’t be deceived,my dear brothers and sisters.”
So what do I hate about my body?:
Parts of my heart
Do I have a right to hate the body that is made in Gods image, no I should be thankful for this temple and vessel to deliver his Word and do His work.
But I do have a right to hate the things that do not align with the character of God. Like my tongue, my mind and parts of my heart.
James 3: 5- 6
“Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.”
James 3: 8
” but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”
James 3: 9-10
“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”
The tongue is a fire, a world of evil among other body parts.
Yet, almost daily I set a fire in my body.
A message of dislike, shame and frustration toward my body.
My idea of fit, being 10 lbs less and with about 15 lbs of muscle more, but why?
Why do I let my tongue control my mind and my heart?
Why do we stand in the mirror critiquing ourselves and our bodies?
To make our heart believe what our tongue speaks?
Now that just seems silly if you think about it.
The hate coming out of your mouth will slowly become the condition of your mind, what you believe daily, and the thoughts of your mind will soon become the meditations of your heart.
“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill.You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
What are your true desires?
Are they prideful?
Are they all for the world?
To fit in with this standard that has been set forth by the world to have the perfect body, the perfect hair, the perfect personality?
But when does the striving for perfection stop?
James 4: 4 – 10
“You adulterous people,don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”
Like I had been told time and time again, I must submit myself fully and humbly. I must give God my full heart and not harbor bits and pieces of it because I’m not ready to hand those over.
He gave me life and deserves my whole heart, especially the part that I have given to the world through my self hate.
I pray that God will transform my heart that he would change my perspective, so that I can love this body he has gifted me with. I pray that he would give me the strength to not fall into temptation to say negative things about my body, but that he would give me the strength to replace those thoughts and words with truth of who God created me to be.
We are called to see worth, value, and dignity in every human, no matter how sinful or distorted or far from God.
To devalue any human being—even yourself— is to deny your intrinsic worth as an image-bearer of the Creator.
We are called to reflect Him.
We need to stop saying that God’s image is not good enough for us.
Mankind has the unique capacity to reflect God like nothing else in all creation.
Though our sin defaces us, we were originally created to see God Himself in each other.
We are called daily to fulfill our God-reflecting potential.
Hear the call and act upon it.