Never Thin Enough
I struggle with how I look. I hate my thighs, I wish my arms were thinner, and I long to have a nice flat tummy. I'll spend hours at the gym, I'll avoid fat like the plague, and I'll often berate myself in front of the mirror. For a long time I pretended I was just trying to be healthy or taking really good care of myself, but the bottom line is I want a slim, model-like figure. Something inside me screams that this is the only way I'll ever be happy. My life wasn't always like this. I remember a time when I was actually fairly content with my body. I could look in the mirror and be relatively pleased unless it was just an unusually bad hair day. I'd head off to school, never giving my body another thought. But then, somehow, I grew increasingly displeased with my figure. I began to notice the bodies of my peers and compare my shape to theirs. Now I'm rarely content. When I think about how carefree I used to be, I realize how much my battle with my body has truly overtaken my life.
Sadly, how I feel about my body often dictates my mood. Like many girls, I don't really feel good about myself unless I'm feeling skinny. If I look in the mirror and all I can see is the fat on my thighs, then I'll usually feel negative for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, the majority of the time I'm frustrated with my imperfect figure. It just seems like I'm surrounded by reminders of my flaws—pictures of models, my skinny friends and my jeans that are too tight. As a result, I am often left feeling dissatisfied with myself.
Few people in my life would have any idea that I'm as consumed by my body as I am, but if I really look at my heart this is what I find. If I am honest with myself, I can see this is what lies beneath my well-adjusted, polished surface. From the outside I may look like a healthy, happy, young woman, but on the inside I know I often place more importance on my body than on my heart. I've allowed myself to believe the lie that my outward appearance determines my worth.
Something inside me tells me this is not how my life has to be. As the Holy Spirit stirs in my heart, God whispers to me to open the pages of my Bible. I try to ignore God's gentle prodding for other solutions.
Surely just losing a few pounds would make me feel better. Once I reach my target weight, I won't have to be so concerned with all of these things.
I tell myself there must be some quick-fix diet that would make me happy—anything other than humbling myself before God. But finally, I reluctantly obey and find my way to his truth. Then I'm unavoidably struck by how distorted my life has become.
A New Way of Seeing
Reading Scripture shows me that beauty is not external and that striving for the perfect body will only leave me feeling empty inside. In 1 Samuel 16:7 I read, "But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.'"