Those who know me best know that for my entire adult life I have struggled with my weight and body image. Although I have tried my best to run from it, ignore it and hide it, I am finally beginning to acknowledge just how much this struggle has affected my life, and the lives of those I love. I repeatedly hurt my husband by ignoring or snarking at his compliments. In my mind he can’t possibly mean what he says because all I see are my flaws, how very far I am from the world’s view of beauty.
Yet I know that he sees the woman who has been by his side through the good times and the bad. The woman who always sees the best in him, even though I can’t believe he sees the best in me because I refuse to see the best in myself. He sees the body that walked down the aisle towards him almost 20 years ago. He sees the body that has carried and nursed four beautiful, loving, healthy children, and our fifth precious child that was born into Heaven. Yet at every opportunity I find myself pointing out my flaws to him, convinced that I am simply verbalizing what he is thinking anyway.
I find myself not wanting to go outside and play ball with my children because I know I cannot keep up with their youthful energy, so why even try. Ignoring the fact that they won’t remember that I was slower than them, they will just remember that their mommy made time for them. Almost two months ago we began training for a 5K together as a family. I can’t keep up with them, so as they get faster I plod along walking behind them. My thoughts center on the fact that I’m not keeping up, and how guilty I feel because every. single. time. my family waits for me at the finish line because I am so much slower than they are. I ignore the fact that my children are seeing me persevere. They see me doing my best, continuing on. In spite of doing this for almost two months I have not lost a single pound. Lately I have begun to feel like it is a complete waste of time, and to wonder why I even bother. Really?! I feel like spending this time with my family, getting stronger and healthier is a waste because of a number on the scale?! Yet that’s where I am mentally and emotionally.
3 1/2 years ago we were blessed with the opportunity to begin learning karate as a family. I am confident that in a world that is becoming increasingly more dangerous, my family can defend ourselves and keep ourselves safe. I have become stronger and I have seen my family become stronger. We have laughed and grown together, we have poured sweat and moaned together as sore muscles make it uncomfortable to move. Yet once again I notice that I am feeling like it has all been for nothing. Why? Because I haven’t lost weight since beginning this journey.
I hate having my picture taken, and have even been known to delete pictures my family have taken of me, because all I see are my flaws. I struggle when accepting the opportunity to speak for my sisters in Christ, especially if there will be pictures involved, because all I see are my flaws. I won’t get up and act goofy with my children because I’m too self-conscious. I don’t feel joyful or beautiful because my pant size is bigger than it should be.
Why? Why do I feel that anything that doesn’t lead to the number on the scale going down is a waste of time and effort? Why do I reject the love of my family because I feel unworthy? Why do I obsess over my pant size and constantly feel drawn to hide from the world around me? As much as I’ve tried to deny and ignore it, a recent conversation with one of my dearest friends has helped me finally begin to accept the truth: my priorities are completely messed up.
Yes I want to lose weight, but not primarily so that I will be healthy for my family. Not primarily so I will be healthy to serve the Lord to the best of my ability. I want to lose weight because I am vain. Because I want to fit the worlds view of beauty. Because I want my husband and children to be proud of my physical appearance. Because I have forgotten that I was made in the image of the Creator of the universe, and that He made me; lowly, flawed me, in His image, and that has nothing to do with my physical appearance.
I have forgotten that passages such as: Ezekiel 16:15, “But you trusted in your beauty and played the whore because of your renown and lavished your whorings on any passerby; your beauty became his,” and Ezekiel 28:17a, “Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor,” make it clear that focusing on my physical appearance is not pleasing to God.
I have forgotten that according to Genesis 1:26-31 I was personally made in the image of God, and that in God’s eyes I am “very good.” I have forgotten that according to Romans 10:15 beauty is found in those who will preach the good news. I have forgotten that according to Proverbs 31:30 I am to be praised for my faithfulness to God Almighty, not for a number on the scale. I have forgotten that according to Isaiah 62 God Almighty delights in me, if I am righteous. That I am a crown of beauty in His hand, and that he rejoices over me if I live faithfully for Him.
My sisters, my friends, we were made in the image of God, and He deemed us “very good.” Have you ever met an ugly person who was kind? Have you ever met an ugly person with a servant heart? Have you ever met an ugly person who was humble and placed others above herself? Have you ever heard a sister speak and thought to yourself, “Well that would have been a great lesson if she would just lose a few pounds!” Have you ever lost someone you loved dearly and found yourself dwelling on her physical appearance? Of course not! We remember the way people make us feel. We remember their love, their laughter, the way they sacrificed of themselves for us. We remember seeing them devote themselves to God’s word and His people.
Yes, we need to take care of the bodies God has given us, our bodies are a gift and a blessing that we need to be good stewards of. But it is just as important to have the right motivation in doing so. If our priority is fitting the world’s definition of beauty, regardless of our waist size we are wrong.
Sisters, woe to us if the first thing people think of when we come to mind is our physical appearance. Woe to us if the best compliment we can be given is that we are physically attractive. Woe to us if the first thing that comes to our children’s minds is that we wouldn’t enjoy an ice cream with them because we were so focused on our weight. Woe to us, woe to me, if my children remember that I was too self-conscious to get out and play with them. Woe to me if my husband remembers that I refused to allow him to delight in me because I was so focused on my physical appearance.
As my dear friend pointed out, according to Proverbs 31:30, “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Perhaps part of the deceit of charm and beauty is that we see them as pursuit-worthy, when they are not. Perhaps part of their deceit is in their ability to distract and hinder us from the things in life that truly matter, those that are eternal.
Sisters, we (I) can no longer allow the world to tell me what makes me worthy. We (I) can no longer allow my own pride and vanity to cost me precious time and memories with my family. We (I) can no longer allow a preoccupation with my physical appearance to hinder my daily life.
My name is Lacy, and I am a daughter of the King. I am flawed, imperfect, and forgiven. I love my physical and spiritual family, my friends, and my God. It is by His grace that I will continue to persevere in spite of my fear and self-doubt. It is by His grace that I will strive daily to be perfect, as He is perfect (Matthew 5:48), regardless of the number on the scale. Will you join me?