In high school there was a woman who made a in impact on me. Her name was Sr. Shelia, and she was my high school principle freshman year. I worked in the office in the summer and after school and got to spend a lot of time with her that year. She was only present in my life for a short time but she became a great role model as a woman of God that I want to be. One conversation we had jumps into my mind on a regular basis.
Our yearbook photos had just been delivered, a group of us girls were working in the office and were comparing pictures . Like girls often do, we were critiquing ourselves in the photos. Like girls often do, we commented on the way our teeth looked yellow, how our cheeks looked chubby, or the horrible zit on our forehead. Sr. Shelia pulled out her photos and piped into the conversation. She told a story about a time where in her adolescence where she had asked for multiple re-takes of her photo, unhappy with each one. She realized that no matter how many pictures she took, she looked the same in each. The camera was capturing her the way that God made her. What she saw was exactly what God intended when he created her. She boldly stated “what you see is what you get” with her big smile and walked away.
Her self confidence was very inspiring to me. That day, I felt my self-esteem double in strength. Body image is something so many girls, young and old, lack. In today’s world we are inundated with photo shopped images of celebrities that cause us to have skewed perceptions of beauty and perfection. Don’t get me wrong, I love fashion, makeup, and trying new products. The right color of eye shadow can really make my green eyes pop, or the color of my nails can change my mood from soft and graceful to spunky and fun.
Since that day in high school what I see in the mirror has changed. Every day when I look at my reflection I see my nose. A nose that seems just a little too big for my face, and I think of my grandpa Red. I look at my smile and see that one tooth that remained crooked even after braces. When I look at that tooth, I think of how my mom’s smile has a crooked tooth on the opposite side that perfectly mirrors mine. As I pencil in my eyebrows, I think of how thining eyebrows in in my family. I see my dad and his eyebrows eyebrow. Then I smile as I recall how my grandma has stencils to make sure hers matched and she drew them in. I look at my reflection and thank God for the beauty he has given me. Glamor magazine may never see me as a cover girl, but when I look in the mirror I see that God made me look the way I look for a reason. I look like my mom and dad and grandparents and relatives before me. I carry their memories in my heart and their looks on my face, and I am proud! One day I hope to have children that have those same features that my husband and I have. They will be beautiful too!
In Psalm 139:13-14 David sings to the Lord:
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
God didn’t just piece us together from a pile of parts. He carefully and lovingly created us to look the way we look for a reason! Our bodies are a temple and a miracle created by and for God!
I don’t look in the mirror and wish I had someone else’s face. Lately however, I have had a hard time looking in the mirror. I have been disappointed In my body.
I am okay with being 5 foot nothing. My family is short, its our thing.
I am okay with my curvy yet athletic build.
I am NOT okay with the extra pudge that has been sitting on top of my curves. I am NOT okay with the way my clothes have been sitting these days.
God gave me this little athletic body and I have not been treating it with the love and respect it deserves.
I have beaten myself up about the weight. I have looked in the mirror and grabbed my love handles and insulted my body. However I am not insulting myself, I am insulting what God, himself has created! Remember that when you, or anyone else is dissing your bod!
People always talk about how they gain weight after marriage. I never thought it would be me. But here I am, carrying more weight then suites me. I don’t think I can pin point one reason, but I know it’s a commination of:
- Having someone to cook for means I cook more food and more often
- I loving to spend time with my husband and sometimes that means little dates to get ice cream ect.
- The cold weather keeping us inside more than I would like
- I can go on…
I know that God (and my husband ) love me the size I am. I know that God is not in heaven with a scale or tape measure looking down and disapproving. However, God is concerned about how I feel . He is concerned about my behavior.
I know that I turn to food emotionally. This disappoints Him.
When I have a bad day at work, I deserve candy. When some one I love hurts my feelings, I want to feel sorry for myself over a pizza. When I ace a test, I earned a night out at a restaurant. When Geroge and I have made a step to improve our marriage, we need to celebrate with ice cream. I am eating my heart out.
Generally, I cook very healthy meals. I eat reasonable portions. I work out almost every day. I could get up from this couch and run 3-4 miles at this very minuet. So why am I gaining weight? Because I don’t count the emotional calories! After a bad day I could sit on this same couch and eat a whole can of pringles…then my usual dinner.
So what now? How do I learn to turn away from food? I turn to God. Sounds simple right? So why haven’t I done it? Good question.
I sat down to write about women’s self-esteem because it is something I was thinking about as I put my makeup on this morning. As I wrote my feelings down the words began to flow and look at what God has taught me. How cool is that?
As this got more personal, I almost didn’t publish this post. Then I thought that reading this may have changed my heart. Maybe it will impact someone else.
I hope that the lesson Sr. Shelia shared with me might change the way you look at your reflection as it did to me. Or what God has revealed might help you too.
If that’s you, I will be praying for you. Pray for me too! Body image is hard. We are not alone.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go ”