Friday, January 28, 2011

Jesus and being thin.. more on body image.

You are not from this world and therefore you are not subject to its ways. The way of the world, in our culture and generation... is that "to be thin is to be beautiful, and to be beautiful is to be valuable and secure and powerful and free. And to be those things is to be happy and successful... which is the goal of life here on this planet."
We serve a God that does not stand for this madness, because though those ideas may sound good, they are dripping with deceit and ultimately lead us into bondage. Let's break it down together and call it what it is...

Okay so "to be thin is to be beautiful"...
well, based on what I see often when we are at a healthy weight we do feel more lovely....
but actually I have been at a "healthy weight" my entire life and, until recently, I never felt like I was at ease in my beauty. I have always been in a fight, even when I was as skinny as I hoped to be, it was still the focus of my attention and often stole from the quality of my life and my relationships. When we are obsessed with being thin it usually gets skewed and we obsess over being 100% fat free and 100% toned and 100% perfect in the eyes of the world.

The enemy plants these lies in our minds that we are never thin enough, and this gets us to a place where we are infatuated with ourselves. So we could be at a meal with people who desperately need the truth and love that God has put within us, and yet we never reveal it because we are consumed with thoughts of calories and past meals and future meals and the size of our thighs.

Hmm so it must not be true that thin is beautiful, being thin may be attractive, but it doesn't matter how thin a person is, to be beautiful is to resemble Jesus, the author and perfector of beauty; no amount of diet and exercise will possibly attain that.

That's why Paul says, "For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and that which is to come." 1 Timothy 4:8

Also we can't forget Proverbs 31:30 "...Beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."
Interesting... I often desire praise for my beauty... but God clearly tells me that it will pass away.


What about the lie that physical beauty brings freedom and power and security and value?

Freedom: There is no bondage that I have ever experienced as deadly as an eating disorder. I was at a weight that many women desire and yet I was never satisfied and certainly not free. I've never met a woman free in her beauty while still obsessing over her weight. Freedom happens when we trust our bodies to Christ.
"You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32
"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you are free indeed." John 8:36

Power: "To be thin is to be powerful." This might be true. There are many celebrities and Victoria's Secret models that testify to this apparent truth. What does Jesus say?
"What good is it for a man if he gains the whole world and yet forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" Matthew 16:26

Security: If we put our security in our appearance, it is like building a house on sand. Why? Because in 5 years the trends will have changed, what was pretty will now be tacky, what was good will now be laughable, and we will have aged 5 years.. oh my! So yes, we may be secure for a bit, but within minutes someone more attractive may walk into the room, with longer legs, a tighter tummy and clearer skin and every ounce of security will be washed away... like the house on sand... in struts the tall, bodacious flood and all security is gone.

(NLT) Matthew 7: 24“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.26But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”

Psalm 16:8 "I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved."
That sounds like true security to me =]

Value: (Our final one!) Does beauty bring value? It seems like it, doesn't it? The pretty girls have always gotten more praise and attention. Since women were babies people have commented on their appearance. The phenomenon was most treacherous in middle school and high school though... guys made lists of us girls and rated us according to our looks. Actually I opened up a magazine the other day that it was doing the same thing to celebrities... God protect their hearts. Its an awful feeling to be overlooked for being "plain" or "average". But what is the truth? Because, I have had the pleasure of getting to know the people that would be the "top-rated" on those lists, and even they feel like trash. We are not designed to live with the pressure of trying to attain perfection in something so futile as our physical appearance. Its a losing battle. We will never be enough according to the impossible standards of the world. That's the point. The enemy is trying to destroy us. Do you see it? Every time we wish we looked different we are essentially wishing our God-given selves away.

Prime example? Heidi Montag. Lord please help her. That poor thing has undergone so much to try and make herself "beautiful". And yet I am sure, without any doubt in my mind, she is not satisfied. When we binge on the lies of the enemy we will NEVER be satisfied. Satisfaction only comes from God. That's how He created us.

Proverbs 3:26 "For the Lord shall be your confidence, and shall keep your foot from being caught."

Matthew 10:29-31 (New Living Translation)
What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

So how does all this look practically? Like with food... It looks like childlike trust. It is trust that your Daddy in Heaven knows more about you than you do. He knows what you need and He dwells in you. He will grant you all the power you need to do all He calls you to. You are living for eternity.

 So (for my missionary friends) if God ever calls you to an outreach where He knows you will eat more than normal, it is because He knows that, Rom. 8:18 "[Your] current suffering is not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in [you]" (and in the nation you are in, and at home... and who knows who else you are impacting!!)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

In Thailand at the market with Tony and Bobby and Marge!!


Insecurity. That sinking feeling we get when we are using people as mirrors to determine our value. It comes with self-obsession and it becomes self-sabotage. Beth Moore is teaching me that insecurity often disguises itself through perfectionism and is frequently lived out in the tendency to control others. Makes sense... controlling things is an attempt to make things feel secure. Insecurity is a thief that snatches away potential in the most magnificent of people. Strangling the life out of relationships through jealousy and distrust. Planting fear deep in the hearts of its victims, fear so deep and so loud that it drowns out every ounce of the truth that sets us free. 
I remember moments of insecurity in high school, like walking down the hall in my volleyball uniform wondering if because my beautiful friends were the wearing the same outfit as me maybe it accentuated that my thighs were bigger or my chest was flatter than theirs. 
I remember moments of insecurity from a week ago, like in the airport on the way to Bangkok, intrigued by the different people passing by and yet silently taunted by thoughts of appearing plain in the midst of the Los Angeles travelers. 
Insecurity brings death. Death to joy, death to love, and death to a God-ordained purpose. It is not something we simply grow out of. It was there when we were young and it will be there when we are old if we do not do something about it. 
However, I am learning that insecurity can only reign if we give it permission to do so. Most of the time we do not realize that, but we actually do have control over this horrible thing.  
Often times what happens is that we begin focusing our energy and attention on a lie, for example: “I am too big.” Then as that saps the energy from us, another lie creeps in, “Time for another diet.” Now it is certain that our eyes are locked on ourselves and in comes the flood... quickly we spiral into a mess of self-hatred and condemnation: “I had an egg for breakfast, with 2 pieces of toast. I should have had one. I will skip lunch.” ... “I never have self control. I am always behind. I never do this thing right.” ... “Now this adds to the fact that my skin is more broken out than normal.” ... “That girl always makes me look bad. She is so concerned with herself. Maybe if I obsessed over working out I would be as thin as her.” ... 
And it goes on and on and on.  
So what is the answer? I believe it is a victorious process of fighting and healing. Insecurity didn’t just happen to us. Lots of factors brought us to where we are today. But  if we are willing to trust in the truth of God’s word we will not only walk securely, but we will freely lead others into their own security. We begin by asking God to make us secure... and then as we read the Bible we soak up the things He says and apply them to our daily lives. 
Take your thoughts captive to the knowledge of Christ... we need to pay attention to the things we are thinking about and not allow trash to fill our minds. Just as we are careful not to poison our bodies, we need to be careful not to poison our minds with things that lead to death. The truth of Christ brings life, we were created for it. We need it. We can’t possibly this life without it. If we desire to truly be secure in this crazy world we desperately need for God to transform the way we think... 
Romans 12:2 (New Living Translation)
2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.