We live in a culture that is obsessed with outward appearances. There are those who do anything to stay thin and others who choose to rebel against societal pressures and celebrate their larger frames. For a smaller minority, weight and body image do not play a major role in their daily lives. But for most of us, we are impacted and even controlled by these illusions of deception. It’s as though we are constantly behind the veil and cannot enter into the realm of beauty and weight we desire. What we are unaware of is that if we did pass through that thin veil, we would be able to perceive it was all an illusion. The veil skewed our vision and kept us from seeing the Truth. We sought an illusion, an idea, a false image and for what? And at what cost?
Some of us pay a heftier price than others chasing what’s behind the veil. I have paid a high price for chasing and pursuing an illusion. Of course, at the time, it was not an illusion to me. It was a goal I could attain. In my mind, if I reached that goal, I would have finally made it. I would be happy with my body. Things completely unrelated to weight would be better because I would be exactly where I wanted to be. I would be thin. My thighs wouldn’t touch. My stomach wouldn’t be bloated. I wouldn’t have back fat or a muffin top ever! I would almost glide through my days displaying a form of beauty that would give me the self-esteem I lacked. In the end, it was a trap, a sly deception by the enemy to keep me hyper focused on myself, and completely distracted from what really mattered.
If the enemy can distort your reality, he can wreak havoc on every aspect of your life. He looks for your weaknesses and then preys on them nonstop. John 10:10 says,” The thief (the devil) comes ONLY to steal and kill and destroy. I (Jesus) came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Your weakness may not be weight related. It may have to do with your attitude, your job, your relationships, even your perception of Christ. Know that wherever the enemy can find a crack, he will attack. He will do anything in his power to discourage you from finding who you are in Jesus Christ. It’s his nightmare when the scales fall from our eyes and we see him for who he really is…a liar and a deceiver.
I will share a piece of my story to illustrate how the enemy comes in and whispers lies and distorts Truth. As a teenager and into early adulthood I had an eating disorder. I would look in the mirror and be disgusted at what was staring back at me. I took the words of others in authority to heart. I listened to a high school coach who said in jest that I had thunder thighs. I listened to a youth pastor who would make inappropriate comments about my body, and being young and impressionable, I started believing something must be wrong with me. I saw in magazines and movies what was considered beautiful and allowed those standards to become my reference point of acceptable beauty. I had a weight in my mind that I wanted to be, and if I could just get there, I would be satisfied.
Oh the wasted time I spent on pursuing thinness instead of health. There is a huge difference between the two! I believe that keeping your body fit and healthy should absolutely be a priority. The bible refers to our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit and we must be responsible as to what we put into them. But, this goes so far beyond food! What we choose to watch on TV, what we read, what we speak, all reflect what we allow into our mind, body and soul. So, it is of great importance how we choose to treat our bodies. It is important to take the time for physical health, just as it is important to set aside time for spiritual renewal each day. But as with anything, balance is key!
Last year when I became really sick with POTS, I lost fifteen pounds in less than a month. Ironically I hit the goal weight I had set many years ago. At the time I was not pursuing weight loss, but none the less, I made the weight that I had previously battled for years to attain. And yet, no fireworks went off. No feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction came over me. There wasn’t a parade in my honor and everything wasn’t golden because I had made it. I had crossed the thin veil into the realm of endless possibilities only to find it was all an illusion. My insecurities were not left at the door. I still saw the same person I saw on the other side, she just looked a little bit different. But, those same distortions, those same insecurities, those same lies were there to greet me. My body had changed, but everything else remained the same.
You see, really it’s never been about the weight. That’s just been a distraction from what really needed to be addressed. For me, the eating disorder was my way of contending with anxiety and stress. It was something I could control, when everything else felt out of control. Instead of taking my anxieties and fears directly to Christ, I tried to cope with every day life on my own, only to make a big mess in the end. Even though my intentions were never to isolate myself or harm my body, those voices of deception started penetrating into my areas of weakness. I exchanged His truth for the lies and deception of the enemy and bam…full blown eating disorder.
Are you finding yourself on the hamster wheel, continuously hearing the same lie over and over again in your mind? Have you fallen prey to the deceitful voice that you aren’t good enough and that there is no hope for you? Have you allowed yourself to fill those spaces of vulnerabilty and weakness with silly putty when Christ wants to make you whole and well? Today I read something by Priscilla Shirer as she describes how these deceptions come into our life. She says,
“So don’t believe for one second the false ideologies of the culture (obsession with appearance, perception of worth, all of it) have been developed by chance. The evil temptations that appeal to your specific desires are not accidental. The discord and disharmony that threaten your most valuable relationships are not coincidental. The temptations that tug at you during your weakest moments are not uncalculated. None of the these things are happenstance. They are his (the enemies) deceptive tactics, specifically designed and personalized to keep you from experiencing abundant life. Satan cannot destroy you. Too late for that. The best he can do (and intends to make full use of it) is to make your time on earth futile and unproductive, to suffocate you with sin, insecurity, fear, and discouragement until you are unable to live freely and fully. He cannot unseat you, but he can intimidate you and render you ineffective and paralyzed.”
The photo above is of myself and my daughter. For me, she has been one of my greatest inspirations to find balance in a world that will always say you are not thin enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough, etc. I still have my moments, but there are also times when I look at my reflection and I see myself how He sees me. I am a work in progress. I would never pretend to say I have it figured out. But, I will say if Christ looks at me like I look at my daughter, He is certainly not inspecting my flaws! But rather, He is delighting in the being that sits before Him. He is my creator! He formed me in my mother’s womb. He is cherishing my individuality and loving beyond measure the soul He created. You are not a mistake! You are a child of God. You are seated with Him in high places. Don’t let the enemy paralyze you and keep you from your God-given calling. Next time you look in the mirror remind yourself, you are a reflection of Him. You were created by Him and for Him and He delights in you!