We are on week 6 of the 7 week series, Freedom is Found in the Heart of Surrender.
Surrendering body image. Sigh… Hate me but I’ve always been thin. However thin doesn’t mean a whole lot if you still struggle with body image. Each and every year I think, oh how I had it better when I was age…fill in the blank. Why can’t I be satisfied with where I am right now? What got my thinking so whacked? Whatever it was it started a long time ago when I was a kid. I looked back in my archives and I posted about this very thing in 2015 Who Am I Really? Even though logically and spiritually I know, the truth it’s still a struggle to surrender.
My dear friend Patricia Holbrook from Hot-lanta is my guest author today and tackles this topic with her personal story. Patricia’s thoughts about her body image also started in childhood. Children pick up and misinterpret what is said so easily and as adults we continue to (literally) buy into the lies. Patricia’s post is an excerpt from her insightful book Twelve Inches. It won’t disappoint.
Believing Lies About Yourself
It was almost ten o’clock at night. I was tired and a bit grouchy. When the commercial played, I rolled my eyes, annoyed. Another miraculous skin rejuvenating product, promising to restore my skin’s radiance and make my crow’s feet vanish in 8 weeks. The model’s face beamed on the screen, gorgeous. The problem is, that kid was 20 years old, if that much.
There’s a reason why billions of dollars are spent yearly on the cosmetics industry. Many of us are plagued by thoughts of inadequacy, instilled in us when we were still very young. We believe lies about how we should look, or perform, and because of that, we spend our lives trying to measure up.
Whether it is about appearance, performance or intellectual ability, people believe lies about themselves every single day. When we choose to accept these lies as truth, a vicious cycle starts: Either we grow up with a very poor self-image, or we inadvertently live trying to hit an unrealistic mark, thus becoming perfectionists. On either end of the spectrum, we live to depend much on ourselves or external circumstances, thus allowing little room for God to shape us into whom He calls us to be… or do what He calls us to do.
In other words, we limit God’s creative power in our lives.
Have You Bought it Hook, Line and Sinker?
The teacher’s French accent didn’t help. It was hard to understand her, keep up with her small tambourine beats and remember the legs and arms coordinating movements
“Plié” “pas de bourrée ouvert”, bang! Her tambourine hit my bottom. Again. “Posturrre, Patricia!” “Tuck your bellyee!”
I would look at her favorite pupil in dismay. She was graceful, lean and so very flexible. The teacher’s smile brightened when she stopped by her side. I was nine years old and I wanted to be a ballerina for my daddy. He was an artist and loved everything classic. In her day, Madame Nicolle had been the grand Rio de Janeiro ballet company’s first ballerina. My dad had seen her perform several times while living in Rio as a young man.
She had moved to our small town. To be in her prestigious ballet classes was every little girl’s dream. But my dream quickly shattered as I realized I did not have the talent, or the physique, to be a prima ballerina.
I was going through that common phase in a young girl’s life when, although still a child, our bodies start changing. I was not skinny at all. My dad had always connected a woman’s beauty with a lean figure and I knew that. That was not me! And, although I am certain dad never meant any harm, I believed I was chubby. I believed a lie.
I started a self-deprecating cycle. I cannot remember ever not being on a diet. I tried them all!
Today I look at my pictures through the years and I see a healthy, thin girl, whose mirror told her she was fat.
My story is very common. Many men and women live in defeat because of lies they believe. Intentionally or unintentionally, we’re exposed to skewed views about ourselves that we often embrace as truth. Because of that, many shy away from a victorious, vibrant life due to low self-esteem. Instead of embracing what God says about us, we take the bait and feel inadequate, ugly, or useless.
If that is you, I am here to tell you there is life beyond the lie. God wants to set you free from the bondage of defeat and embrace what He says about you:
He crafted you in your mother’s womb. Who you are is not an accident. (Psalm 139:13)
He redeemed you with precious price. Do not become slaves of the lies of men. (1 Corinthians 7:23)
He loves you unconditionally. How can you not love yourself? (Proverbs 19:8)
Inadequacy does not fit a child of the King of Kings. It is a lie that you must confront, if you are to live the abundant life that Jesus promised.
The devil will never give up on you. He knows that the sky is the limit if you surrender your everything to El Shaddai, Almighty God to whom all things are possible. His main objective is to use people, circumstances and failures in your life to sell you his lies. That’s what he does best. He hopes to keep you doubting just enough… that way, you won’t even take the first step. He wants to make you rely on your feelings, instead of on the immeasurable, overflowing fountain of blessings that flows from the Throne of grace. Your Daddy’s Throne.
Don’t listen to him. You don’t have time for that. God has a plan for your life and the devil can’t stop it, unless you allow him to.
No, you’re not able to do it on your own. But the good news is, you don’t have to!
If He calls you, He enables you. You are who He says you are.
Therefore, my friend, tell your heart how to feel! Embrace Truth.
And defeat the Lie.
This blog post is an excerpt from Patricia’s book Twelve Inches – Bridging the Gap between what You Know About God and How You Feel. You can find more info about the book on her website: www.soaringwithHim.com/twelve-inches
Last week’s winner of a bracelet and Kelly Balarie’s book, Fear Fighting was Paula McQuitty. Congratulations Paula!
This week I’m giving away the book The Mountain Between Us, by Charles Martin.
You’ll want to read this one before the movie comes out in October. It’s a page turner. Leave a comment to be eligible to win. To see the movie trailer click here.
Patricia Holbrook is the President of Soaring with Him Ministries, author, columnist, blogger, wife and mom. Her passion is to encourage her audience to “soar above life’s circumstances” by the power of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit’s guidance. She writes about making beauty out of brokenness, trusting God in the dark, the blessings of obedience and her love for the Savior. Among other places, you can find her writing weekly on her blog, www.soaringwithHim.com. on her weekend column for the Atlanta Journal Constitution www.ajc.com, on the iDisciple app and websites such as Internet Devotions Cafe, among others. Patricia is also a national and international speaker for women’s events.
Looking forward, pressing on and seeking God in every bump and twist in the road.