One more post about beauty and body image. Then we will switch gears. 🙂 I am not going to be very close to a computer today. But I am praying for each of you! I know that you will bless, encourage and exhort one another as you always do, sharing the truth in love.
My prayer is that we might all be able to accept our bodies, that we might take good care of ourselves in a healthy, God-honoring way – realizing that we are stewards of these bodies God has given to us. I would love for us to learn to find our identity, purpose, contentment and joy in Christ alone as we care for ourselves and seek to find health in every area of our lives and set a godly example for our children and those around us.
I pray that we might joyfully do things that we know will bless our husbands – wear our hair the way they like it if possible, wear clothing they like to see us in when we can, embrace our femininity, put a bit of effort into looking nice (out of respect for ourselves, for God and for our husbands – not out of vanity, idolatry of beauty or sinful motives) and cherish the gift of being a woman. That is going to look different for each of us. And that is fine! But I want to see us find freedom from the cutting words, the negative labels, the critical voice in our heads and the snare of attempting to find satisfaction in worldly beauty – it can so easily become an idol and a trap in countless ways. I pray for any woman here who is ensnared in an eating disorder or who is imprisoned by an unhealthy body image or negative thoughts or self-loathing might find hope, healing and freedom in Christ today!
I long for each of us to seek Christ far above all things – including beauty – and that we might discover He is a far greater treasure than anything this world or this life could ever offer. We are just jars of clay, carrying the most precious treasures of heaven. I pray that even in our appearance, our attitude, our confidence in Christ, our humility, our meekness, our grateful hearts, our words, our body language, our tone of voice, our facial expressions, our actions, our joy and our supernatural peace, we might bring great honor and glory to God as His Spirit works in us to empower us to be the women He has called us to be.
For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh– Philippians 3:3
If you have experienced your husband being critical and negative about your body or appearance – AND God has given you wisdom about how to handle this very painful situation in a godly way – I would love for you to share in the comments. God may desire to use you to bless and minister to many hurting women about this issue. How did you learn to accept yourself? How did you learn to honor and respect your body, your husband and God? How did you learn to seek to bless your husband but not become consumed with beauty and appearance? How did you heal from the hurt in Christ? I am praying for all hurting women today, but especially for those whose husbands tell them they are not attracted to them. How I long to see God heal that pain. I know I cannot heal. But I am praying for those sisters in Christ to find healing in the hands of Christ Jesus.
A QUOTE FROM THEJOYFILLEDWIFE:
In many ways, I think that whether you’re happily married, your spouse is absent because of a sin issue, you are separated, your spouse is distant and doesn’t find you attractive, or whether you are single…our deepest desires were created to be fulfilled by Christ. Beth Moore gives the example that we should go to Christ first for our value and fulfillment. When we do, we are so satisfied in Him that any love we receive from others is just the gravy on top, which is nice to have, but isn’t necessary for wholeness.
From my precious sister, Nikka, at www.peacefulwifephilippines.blogspot.com
I went to the other post immediately and felt your frustration at “looking like a 12 year old in face and figure” when you were very much already a grown-up. How disheartening too that comment from the lingerie store. 🙁 Thanks for sharing about your insecurities, April.
I, too, suffered from a distorted view of my looks.
At 12, I was told by my father that I was “fat and that I needed to lose weight; and that with my grouchy attitude, nobody would be interested in marrying me.” 🙁 That started my more than a decade battle with borderline anorexia. In that short summer, I lost 30 lbs and came back to school not looking like my self at all. That eating disorder hounded me all the way to adulthood, even as a mother and wife. Every pregnancy where I gained as “little” as 25 lbs to as high as 60 lbs was a constant struggle for sanity. I tried to lose the baby weight each and every time with a passion.
I no longer battle with it now, since the Lord freed me from my bondages (proof of this is I am taking my sweet time getting back in shape post-4th baby 🙂 but when I do remember how much I wanted to commit suicide as a growing teenager and young adult because I felt fat and ugly and stupid, I pity my younger, pathetic self. 🙁
I grew up seeing all flaws in my body and my face — that I was too curvy when I should be thin; that my nose was too upturned when it should be straight; that I was too brown-skinned when I should be lighter, etc.. The list was endless. I felt SO ugly that I dreaded the thought of having a child in the far-off future (musings of a young teenager), lest he/she come out into the world looking like me, and he/she would condemn me for bringing him/her into existence! 🙁
It was only Dong’s loyal and steadfast love and appreciation for me and my looks (as my boyfriend of 7 years and husband of 10 years) that made me look at myself differently. He was never wanting in telling me and showing me how attractive I was in his eyes. <3
But even that was not enough to stop the struggles with self. I was too bent on looking like how the world perceived a “beautiful woman” to be; and not meeting that standard, it depressed me. It made me feel unworthy to live. It made me feel useless. 🙁
It was when I finally surrendered my all to the Lord last year that God removed my “world goggles”, and allowed me to peek into His Vision of me. Minus those worldly spectacles, I started seeing myself for who and what I truly was…
– that I was a sinner in need of God’s Grace
– that I was too much in the world and too tied up to self
– that I was in need of repentance to God and His Mercy
And with that total letting go and letting God, He:
– freed me from ALL my bondages including my eating disorder
– instilled in me a desire to be modest in apparel and manner
– showed me that I was beautiful in His Eyes
I know I can now “achieve” beauty because of this verse:
1 Peter 3:3-4
3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
A gentle and quiet spirit. 🙂 That’s what I want to have. That’s what I ask the Lord to give me. That’s what the Spirit has put in place of my old self-righteous, take-charge, depressive self. 🙂
I praise God for what He has done in my life, and I encourage all of you sisters to embrace your God-given beauty. When we are insecure or unhappy with how we look, we act ungrateful towards our Creator. Let’s always remember we were “fearfully and wonderfully made”. 🙂 (Psalm