09 May Issues? I Don’t Have Body Image Issues!
That’s what I thought. In the weeks leading up to the Body Matters conference I read the blog posts detailing the struggles women were having with the issues of weight and shape and appearance.
Their pain was real and I felt genuine sympathy for them. But honestly, I didn’t identify with them to any great degree. Their struggles didn’t resonate in my soul. I considered my own relationship to those issues and thought, “That’s not a problem for me.” Their issues weren’t mine. Or so I believed.
Shortly after the conference, my daughter and I were discussing the teaching. During our conversation, I mentioned that I didn’t really struggle with body image, that it wasn’t an issue for me. “So why’d you lose weight?” interjected my son-in-law. “Yeah, Mom, why do you weigh yourself every week?” asked my daughter. Their questions got me thinking, starting me down a path of closer self-examination: Why do I feel guilty when I don’t exercise? Why do I get my daughter to help me shop for “appropriately stylish” clothes? Why do I color my hair? Why do I inwardly groan over my crooked teeth? Why do I check the mirror several times before I head out the door? Why do I compare my appearance to others? … Good grief, I do have body image issues!!
No, they haven’t caused me deep angst. And no, they haven’t driven me to despair or anorexia or bulimia. Nevertheless, the undeniable truth is that I do have some issues with my body image. God has begun to expose some unexplored territory in my heart. I’m starting to recognize that there is a deep, and hidden, discontent with how I see myself. Deep within there is a core dissatisfaction with how I look that I am continually working to improve. Why? So that I’ll be happier and feel better about myself. That is discontent and idolatry. That is sin. That is an issue.
So where do I go from here? I give thanks for this insight. I confess and repent where there is sin. I circle back through the Body Matters teaching, seeking and applying instruction. I spend time in the Word and prayer so that God can give me understanding of the thoughts and intents of my heart (Hebrews 4:12). Time will also be well spent working through the conference handout, “Asking the Right Questions: Uncovering Our Motives and Idols.” Where am I prideful? Idolatrous? Self-serving? Where am I healthy and balanced? Where am I in bondage? Where am I reflecting God’s glory? What are my motives for doing what I do? The list goes on.
Given that up until now I’ve been pretty much oblivious to my issues, it will no doubt take time to identify and sort through them! Then it will take even more time to apply gospel remedies. But I’m grateful to have made a start. Awareness is an important and needed first step. I know God will lead me on. So thanks, Body Matters! (And thanks, Carrie and Lance!)