Sure, I cared about my appearance. Didn’t every girl? I don’t remember exactly when my body shame began or when my value and worth became tied to my body’s shape and size, but at some point, it did.
In high school, I became convinced that the worst thing in the world was to get fat (as I defined it). I just knew that in order to be of any worth, I had to be thin. I remember my school “lunch” being only two fiber pills. Of course, I would then proceed to binge on French fries and Doritos after school. Somehow, I didn’t put the two together. This, of course, kept me in the battle between food and weight.
Well, fast forward to my becoming a Christian many years later. If you are waiting for me to tell you that all of my body image issues (and binge eating) were healed and I automatically understood my value in Christ…you’re going to be waiting awhile.
Hey, everybody’s doing it!
Instead of my troubles and my sin becoming obvious, I found them quite normal. Even among Christian women, my diet rollercoaster life seemed just like everyone else’s. Since I didn’t see a difference between my dieting behaviors and others’, I didn’t realize that my preoccupation might be next-level.
Then again, maybe it wasn’t.
The light peeked through
Fast forward to my biggest life-changing season when the Lord opened my eyes to His precious Word. Now, I had been reading my Bible for years, but really just as part of my “to-do” list, and certainly not daily. But when the Lord changed my heart, I couldn’t get enough of His Word. I consumed it, and it changed my world drastically. It was then I began to get convicted of the priorities I had in my life.
I knew my preoccupation with getting thinner and my desire to hide away from the world wasn’t aligned with becoming more like Christ and loving others above myself.
Yet, I continued to confuse my physical appearance with my inherent worth. Maybe I started to believe that I was to represent God well – even by the way I looked. Somehow it seemed morally right to me to finally achieve a leaner body shape, and then I would “live responsibly” from there. Easy peasy!
Since the Christian life was one of self-control and denying the flesh, I must now have the power to restrict foods that I assumed were “causing the problem.” Guess what?
Aaah…you already know me so well!
The heart of the issue
Years later, I was still living on the same diet rollercoaster with the same repercussions. Why couldn’t I just figure this out once and for all? The answer, my friend, is coming, but you can start getting out of your own diet rollercoaster with a free ebook HERE.
The next most eye-opening season of my life was when I was introduced to biblical counseling and the amazing teachings of the late Jay Adams. Through my new understanding of sanctification and growth, sin and repentance, I could now begin to see the problem…
It wasn’t my eating. It wasn’t my food choices. It wasn’t my willpower.
It was my heart.
By God’s grace, we can dig
What I hadn’t grasped throughout all those decades was that my desires, thoughts, and beliefs were enslaved by self-worship! This was the most wonderful, freeing truth of my life.
I began to understand that my deepest desires were to be acceptable to others instead of God.
By realizing that I was measuring my value by temporal standards instead of by being a child of God and co-heir with Christ, I started to see how much I was focused on “me.”
I discovered that seeing my sin and being able to repent is an incredible gift that Christ paid dearly for, and here’s why. Picture an abscess, a pocket of infection in your body. How can you become healthy and safe? You need that toxic abscess dug out and removed!
Sin is that poisonous infection. If not dug out and brought to the light of the Gospel, it will create endless problems in life. What an amazing gift we have in identifying our sins by the Word and the Holy Spirit! I am so grateful for the privilege to confess my sins, knowing Christ forgives and cleanses me (1 John 1:9) and brings me peace and contentment…even with my body.
All you want is found in Christ
Although it took a ridiculous number of years, God, in His grace and kindness, has broken the chains of body shame and eating that enslaved me.
He is your God, too!
This is a process God brought me through, and it can be yours, as well. Find out how you can take a step-by-step journey to discover freedom from body shame as well as from overeating, cravings, and dieting HERE. Although there are temptations throughout life, take comfort that you can find freedom, peace, contentment, and worth in Christ as you seek Him.
Oh, and maybe consider biblical counseling, too.