(Photo courtesy of And Time Stood Still Photography)
Since I was about seven or eight years old I can remember struggling with feeling insecure about the way I looked! I felt over weight and struggled with my body image! I can remember being in about sixth grade and watching a TV commercial about a workout video or diet pills and wishing I could do something about my weight… it wasn’t very fun! Towards the middle/end of my seventh grade year I started eating less to lose weight! By the beginning of my eighth grade year I was too skinny! I began to eat regularly after the start of eighth grade but the deep insecurity inside that caused this to begin with was never dealt with; the fact that I didn’t feel skinny enough and pretty enough at times.
Now, speed up about 12 years. I am well past middle school and now have a living, breathing, intimate relationship with my savior and sweet redeemer! Let me gladly share with you the lengths He will go to see that your heart receives the full revelation of His truth and the healing we so desperately need!
One day this past January I can remember feeling that I wanted to be free so badly of this internal struggle I had with my body image (at times it could be a raging battle on the inside). One day I cried out to God silently within and to my surprise He spoke right to my heart within less than an hour! He showed me that I was coveting perfection in my heart; that I was saying to Him “Please take this struggle from me” but at the very same time I was holding onto perfection with a tight grip. He wasn’t going to pry my hand open but was waiting for me to let go and grab ahold of His hand instead of the perfection! This was a shocking revelation to me, and it was the start of my walk towards healing this area of my heart and changing my perception of the way I look!
I then began to read Donna’s book “Journey to Acceptance” and this time it felt as though my world was turned upside down after reading the first two chapters! For years I had unknowingly based some of my identity and some of my worth on what my physical appearance was and now reading Donna’s book my heart was convicted of idolatry! It was a very weird feeling that I remember describing to a friend that it felt as though everything I had held onto for years as security and identity had been ripped out from my hands and I was now left with nothing to hold onto! A day or two after telling my friend this, I said to the Lord “You have to give me something to hold onto.” I immediately began to read the word of God after praying this, not even thinking that I was going to get the answer to that prayer! I started to read in Deuteronomy and this verse hit me like a ton of bricks!
‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. (Deuteronomy 5:8-10)
He showed me that I had an image that I was placing above Him in my life and heart. The image was what I thought I had to look like…He had just given me something to hold on to and what relief it brought to my heart! A couple weeks later the Lord led me to the book of Song of Solomon. As I was reading chapter seven I noticed the chapter began with a long list of compliments toward the woman; as I read the Lord touched my heart in a way I never imagined! I’m going to get vulnerable right now… three things that have been insecurities for me are my stomach area, my thighs, and my hair! The Lord spoke SO clearly to my heart in these specific verses….
The curves of your thighs are like jewels,
The work of the hands of a skillful workman.
Your navel is a rounded goblet;
It lacks no blended beverage.
Your waist is a heap of wheat
Set about with lilies. (Song of Solomon 7:1b-2)
…And the hair of your head is like purple; (Song of Solomon 7:5)
Although I don’t fully understand the language of the day that Song of Solomon was written in, I KNEW that God was showing me my true identity, my true beauty, and what the truth was about my physical appearance! He was declaring to me that I was altogether lovely, and that there was no flaw in me!
I was later telling someone about some of what the Lord had shown me, and she rocked my world again when she said this “YOU are the image”. I had been for years coveting an image in my heart of what I thought perfection looked like. I had been trying to achieve an image of what I thought I should look like which then became an idol for me. All along I was the image of beauty; I was already the beautiful idea of Christ that He had designed. I am the image of beauty because the Beautiful One has designed every part of me! When I compare myself, I am creating an image and raising up an idol, when I remember that each person is the exact image of how God created them, it gets a little easier to walk out this process that is still happening in my heart with God! I still have a lot of healing in this area to come, but one thing is for sure…the process has started!
I will end with a cliff hanger… I had mentioned that one of the things I was insecure about was my hair! The Lord spoke directly to my heart about the way He viewed my hair! I have a whole other testimony about the lengths God has gone to to help me start seeing the beauty of the hair HE choose for me to have!
Blessings and I pray that your eyes have been opened to see the beautiful heart of the creative Creator!