Starving for Control

If you had asked me seven years ago if I was concerned about my body image, I would have lied and told you “no.”

I was healthy, fit, and reasonably satisfied with the results when I compared myself to other women. I received regular compliments from men and admiration from women.

Fast forward several years and I started taking birth control. I gained ten pounds in the first month, 30 pounds over the next several
months. All of a sudden my body was covered in layers of fat. I was no longer fit. I carried my weight in places I never used to carry weight. I felt like a failure. I would wake up at 6am to run every day. I ate only salads (no dressing) for lunch and dinner. If I ate half a cookie one week, I would berate myself for my lack of self-control. I didn’t want to be around other people. I hated taking pictures. In fact, looking back at pictures from that time still makes me cringe a little.

All of a sudden, my body went from being a source of pride to a source of despair.

Unbeknownst to me, my body was a means of control. I controlled what I ate, how much, and in turn, how I looked. Now, my body was out of my control. It felt like a betrayal. No matter what I did, my body did not respond in the way I wanted.

I did not view my body as a tool to serve others. I did not think of stewardship of the body as anything other than abstaining from gluttony. My body was about me and the value, power, and control it provided me. To this day, when I am under stress or anxious, one of my first responses is to stop eating. The illusion is that if I can control my body, I can control my life. My trust is not in God and his design, both for my body and my life, but in my ability to control and manage.

I cheapen my own value to that which fades, that which can be bought and achieved. Subjective value is no value at all. If our value does not exist outside of ourselves, with the One Who Creates, then we are just commodities to be evaluated; beauty gives us an advantage.

We must remember “I am” (Exodus 3). The one who gives rest to the weary (Matthew 11:28). The one who declares his pleasure with us, that we are very good (Genesis 1: 31). We must remember that we were worth dying for (Romans 5).

My life is not my own, it was bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6: 12-20).

~Taylor Beard, Pelham
For a discussion of body image and the many issues surrounding it, please sign up for our Body Matters conference at the Pelham campus April 12 and 13.   Registration will close soon; sign up today!12_ezer_bodymatters