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!!)


marygrace. said...

Jessica. I don't know if you remember me.. met you out at the Montana base in August. we took a dance class or 2 together. and at one point before yall left, you prayed for me. and i haven't forgotten you and your incredible spirit. I was pretty much good for nothin after you prayed for me.. i just had to go sit down and let it all soak for the next 15 minutes or so.. (and I did end up dancing this past semester like you challenged me to. : ) i joined a dance group and it ended up being a really sweet, life giving experience. )

anyway. i'm just really grateful for this post. thankyou for overflowing the truth stored up in you on this subject, cause it's definitely been a struggle of mine more than ever this past year.
these truths though, are so incredibly core. and life changing, really. such unbelievable freedom in Jesus. but oh, that we'd be willing to lay down the false securities we grip so tightly to.. even if that includes our control of food/ obsession with it.
Abba save us. thankyou for Your promise.

ok. essay over.
hope to see you again someday. you inspire me.


amanda joy said...

Jessica, I don't think you realize how powerful of an impact you make on the people you come in contact with. I don't know if you remember that time we prayed together at the mill, but it was so evident to me that the Holy Spirit guides your words as you speak light and truth into this deep deception of the enemy. your triumph is breathtaking and (while i don't say this to many people because i feel like it has been so tritely thrown around in our society) you are truly inspirational.

i know the Lord is going to do mighty things with your voice, as you put your words, your thoughts to paper and speech. i'm praying right now that doors will open for you to go forth and be used. for you are doing so in small ways now, and making lasting prints along the way.

thank you.

Bonnie Ruggles said...

AWESOME!!! this is so good!!! so many would benefit from hearing God speak through you!!! no doubt abt it... i believe you should be a national speaker! Thank you for your inspiring words!!! love + hugs, bonnie