Ever since a young age, I loved dressing up and playing with Barbie dolls. Then, as I grew older I was introduced to lip stick and had a blast adding color to my light skin. In fourth grade I was told I needed glasses, but I was not going to take the criticism, so I started on my contacts journey.
In middle school I was a cheerleader and enjoyed flying so much, but people always emphasized how flyers had to be light weight and tiny, so my ideal image became short and skinny. I never had an eating disorder from it, but was aware of my weight, because I did not want something that I enjoyed taken away from me because I was too heavy. Braces came along and I clung to the end result. To this day I am an avid retainer wearer 🙂
In High School, straight hair became a big deal. No more daily pony tails, I began caring about my hair every day. And this curly girl has to work hard sometimes, but learning to scrunch was helpful! I still cared about my size, but not as much as I exited cheerleading.
In College, I became a woman. haha 😀 My curves came in and I could no longer eat whatever I wanted without consequences. Thankfully, I have been blessed with a pretty good metabolism, but I do have those friends that are stick thin and can eat whatever they want… you know who you are 😉 I kept a pretty healthy diet through college, did not drink alcohol, and worked out on weekly basis. I even completed the Insanity program my junior year.
So fast forward a few months. I am working out 4-5 days a week and doing my best to eat right, but one thing that I have learned is how twisted my view of beauty has become. I am not trying to blame all of my mental misconceptions on media and culture, but I do want to speak out on the topic because I believe it has severely hurt my view of myself as I have entered into womanhood.
Women come in all shapes and sizes: hour-glass, pear, apple, banana, etc. There are men out there that like different shapes! (Praise the Lord) I am going to be real… I have hips. The thigh-gap movement is impossible for me unless I want to completely starve and over-exert myself in exercise. I have other areas that other people long to have though. We are all built uniquely, but I have to say that exiting my high school body has been like sipping bitter medicine. It has not been easy and I have spent a lot of time looking in the mirror having a hard time accepting what I see.
I want to encourage you today. Romans 12:12 says, Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. The world’s pattern is anorexia and bulimia, obsessing over exercise, and counting calories non-stop. Ladies, we have to stop! We are too hard on ourselves. What if the goal was to be in God’s perfect pattern: loving ourselves, being active, and eating healthy, but not withholding from some fun treats here and there.
I pray over myself and over you, that we will stop beating ourselves up on the inside because we do not look like the photo-shopped models on the outside. Lord, cleanse our minds. We have been in-taking poison since the moment we looked at that magazine or saw that Facebook profile. Help us not blame others or be jealous, but rather help us to embrace ourselves as you do. When we hate on our bodies, we hate on our Maker. When someone tells a painter that his painting is ugly, the painter is offended and broken-hearted. Help us not to break Your heart today. Help us to worship You by accepting our bodies and treating them well. Amen.