Saturday, January 29, 2011

Idolizing your image

I can not remember a time when I wasn't worried about my body image. Ok, well, yes I can. I remember being in high school and being ok with myself, not really focused on other girls and women's bodies. But as soon as I graduated high school, I started to worry.
It started with realizing I needed to lose a little weight. So, I'd do some aerobic VHS tape, or some Kathy Smith Abs workout. A half an hour a day and be done. When I went to college for Photography my body awareness heightened. Girls that were taking the photography course that were also modeling made me really look at myself. I am 5'5" and I weighed, at the time, about 130. It wasn't bad, BUT celebrities and models were skinnier. At one point I only ate one meal a day! I stopped that habit after realizing I was - 1. hungry all the time, which 2. made me grouchy and 3. it wasn't healthy. So, I started working out. Doing VHS tapes, Yoga, weightless training.
I joined a gym and started going every day. Around this time I also started abusing laxatives. I always had digestive problems and was tired of dealing with it, and when the laxatives worked for me, I started using them every day. The bonus, at the time, to them was that I lost weight. A LOT of weight. In fact, I got myself down to 95 pounds. I was so thin that an old friend, who I hadn't seen in a while, said I looked sickly and said I needed to gain weight. I was able to get off the laxatives, after about 6 months or so of using them. But I was forever worried about my weight.
I was addicted to buying clothing. I loved clothes that made me look thin. I was always thinking about how my body looked and if I was the skinniest woman in the room. I used to spend whatever money I had on clothing.
I love food. Food was always a battle for me. Some days I'd eat good and in moderation , and some days I'd binge on junk. Food was a love/hate relationship.
But as I started reading the bible more, and as I started to open my heart to God and let him lead me to where I should be, I discovered something. The Lord made me see that this idolizing celebrities bodies, and my own image led to an empty existence. I was working for my body image every day, endlessly. Beauty fades. If that's all you work for in your life, what will you have when it's gone? Is it really THAT IMPORTANT to look like a celebrity? To be the skinniest or prettiest person in a room? How does that make the OTHER women in the room feel? It's not "real".
It has been a couple weeks now that I have NOT gone to the gym every day. I have started trying to work out at home half the time. I was starting to feel bad about putting my kids in the childcare. Leaving them in a daycare setting for an hour for my own body image. Seeing all the OTHER women there working out for hours. Some had plastic surgery. Some would leave their children for 2 hours a day to work on their "perfect body" image. Parents taking their obviously sick children to the gym, just to achieve this perfect image. It made me realize that we are idolizing ourselves.
Now, please, don't think that I am saying "forget working out, you don't need it". You do need it. This is NOT an invitation to let yourself go and let it all hang out. God gave you this body, you should take great care of it. Maybe being ok with yourself on you journey to a healthier you is what you need. Not saying "If I can lose X amount of weight, I'll be happy" or "I hate my body, I have to step it up and work out more".
I will still be working out everyday (though some of those days at home, to be with my children). Obsessing over it, though, is where I went wrong. It's where we all go wrong. I am trying to have a new attitude now. I will work out because I enjoy that routine. But if I don't get to it that day, I will not beat myself up. I will not worry "what if I get fat?", or "I have to fit in size 2 jeans forever". Once we make ourselves out to be so important, like everyone else cares how thin or fat we are, we put ourselves on a pedestal and we begin to idolize ourselves.

“You shall not make for yourself an idol” is an abbreviated form of one of the Ten Commandments which, according to the book of Deuteronomy, were spoken by God to Israel and then written on stone tablets by God himself

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought ~ Romans 12:3:

The Bible warns us not to think more highly than we ought. It does not forbid us to think highly of ourselves, but simply not to think more highly. The word “more” deals with quantity. The issue is not whether you should think well of yourself, but whether or not you have gone too far. Paul makes this clear in 2 Corinthians 10:14, “We are not going too far in our boasting.”

Peace to you

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your heart with us on this topic - and for being willing to examine yourself and decide to do what is right for you.

    Hope you have a great day!