I have always been built a little bigger. This is in part due to genetics and in part due to years of sports leaving me strong and sturdy. It has never been, and never will be, in the cards for me to be petite. Nonetheless, it’s a goal I have spent most of my teenage and young adult years striving for.
I don’t remember the exact moment when I started believing the lie that only thin is beautiful. What I do know is that it is a lie that has constantly and persistently demanded control of my life. There have been good seasons and bad seasons in my struggle with body image. During bad seasons, I work out too much, eat too little, and scrutinize my body worse than any of my enemies ever would. I crave compliments and affirmations from others about my appearance. However, no matter how many clothing sizes I drop, how much weight I lose, or how many compliments I receive, it is never enough.
When I chose to write for this week of the Whole40 Lenten Challenge, I knew I would have to take a good hard look at my struggle with body image, something I was not exactly looking forward to. As I prayed with Psalm 139, the following verse stood out to me: Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. (Psalm 139:12)
For the longest time, I hid my struggle with body image in the dark. I only let other people see the parts of my life that I wanted them to see—the parts of me that I thought were beautiful.
For God, as verse 12 points out, there is no distinction between light and dark—it’s one in the same. Everything is seen and nothing is hidden. I want my life to be the same.
This week I am challenging myself to think about my beauty and body image. I challenge you to do the same. Are there parts of you or struggles that you keep in the dark for fear that they are not beautiful? If so, bring them to the light. How? Sit in a quiet place and read Psalm 139 and Proverbs 31. Speak truth to the lies by taking a piece of paper and making two columns. In the left column write the lies you believe. In the right column rebuke those lies by writing out truths. Finally, find a good friend that you trust and be real with them about your struggles so they can help you fight the lies.