Body Image: Fighting the Lies of the Body Image Bandit

What do you do when the Body Image Bandit bites? For example, let’s say you’re waiting in line at Starbucks. You notice the woman waiting in line ahead of you. She is probably a Zumba queen, and could easily model jeans on a billboard. You pinch your “muffin top” and sigh. But wait. You can take steps to protect yourself from the Body Image Bandit, who is the father of lies.

Step 1: Recognize the lies.

You have a much higher calling than asking, “Do these jeans make my tooshie look fat?”

Picture a pair of binoculars. This represents your constant scanning the environment to search for lies of the Bandit.

Take a few seconds to recognize you’ve been bitten by the Body Image Bandit. He is the father of lies, and he wants to make you feel like garbage (shame). Then you’ll  feel discouraged and won’t live out your true calling. You’ll be too busy beating yourself up. Here are some examples of the lies the Body Image Bandit feeds people:

  • I’m not good enough (i.e. not “skinny” enough, tall enough, too tall, my face is ugly, my (insert arms, legs, waist, etc.) isn’t good enough.
  • I’m not loveable as I am.
  • I can’t have a rewarding life until I lose ____ pounds.
  • I won’t have a full life until I’m a size _____.

Step 2: Reject the Lies.

Picture a sign that says, “No Parking Any Time.” As soon as you notice your brain going to the Comparing Channel, picture yourself pulling out of that parking spot. Just like you do when you pull your car into a space saying “No Parking Any Time,” put your brain into another gear.

Step 3: Replace the Lies

Picture a remote control. To replace the lies, visualize changing the channel. You were on the Stinking Thinking Channel! One starring plot of the Stinkin’ Thinkin’ Channel is Comparing your body to other peoples’.

Below are some other channel choices. Practice stopping your thoughts and changing the channels so you can do it faster than a woman with PMS can say, “Gimme ice cream!” Otherwise the lies will seep into your soul and rob your joy.

1. Service: How can you use your God-given talents, gifts and story to help others?

2. Make a list of everything you are thankful for. If you think can’t find anything you’re thankful for, think again. The majority of people on earth live on less than $2 a day! You probably have clean water, food, and more than one pair of clothes. Did you see anything beautiful today? Did you drink coffee today? Put it on your list. Learn to focus on the good.

2. Truth:. Copy specific verses down so you can memorize them. I like to use the blank business cards available at office supply stores. Here’s a verse to get you started:  “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8. (Notice it doesn’t say to think about clothing sizes, numbers on a scale, or what you’re gonna do when you “get skinny.”  🙂

3. Pray. Ask the Lord how to use your gifts, talents, and personality for His glory. (Have you read The Purpose-Driven Life, by Rick Warren? The book explains how to use your gifts, talents, personality and story to live out God’s calling for your life. Because you were not created for so much more than  to obsess about your appearance.

Like many activities, this takes practice! The more you practice, the better you’ll get at it. If you continue to work at it, you’ll have a renewed mind.

 “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 

2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)

lotus with leaf

Body Image and Aging: My Eyelids Are Falling to my Bellybutton

My eyelids have a problem: They are falling every day, and at this rate they will be to my bellybutton by next Spring. I’ve thought of different ways to stop the sagging. I  could use scotch tape, but I’m not sure how well it would work. Or maybe tooth picks would do the trick. Neither of those options sound promising. I know duct tape would do the job, and it comes in pink and purple. Maybe I could use different colored tape for different outfits. (Ok, by now you hopefully know I’m kidding. Please don’t try any of these things!)

 

 

Thankfully, we are created for so much more than obsessing about our appearances. Our culture  blasts us with images from every angle, so I can easily forget that I have a much higher calling than obsessing about things such as my eyelids. The truth is God created me in his image, and I have a greater purpose than focusing on my eyelids, or any other part of my physique.

Deep in my soul, I know that I was created for so much more than fixating on questions like, “How can I get my eyelids to stay up in my northern hemisphere where they belong?” Or…drum roll, please…”Do these jeans make my tooshie look fat?”

Jesus cares much more about my heart than my runaway eyelids. He wants me to be the eyes, the hands, the love of Jesus, and to shine brightly in this world. He has crafted me as a unique masterpiece with gifts, talents, and a story, and he desires deeply for me to use those treasures for his glory.

I am me, and I can celebrate that I am a unique masterpiece. I’ve had the privilege of working with people through their hardships and helping them to see the beauty of their stories, and to grasp that they are each gems. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

My eyelids may be sliding south, but I know that I have a calling to show the light of Christ in this world. I can use the pain of two chronic illnesses and a divorce years ago from an abusive man to show people with humor and grace that they have much higher callings than focusing on appearance. I could obsess all day about my eyelids but I’m choosing to go out and live passionately to shine the love of Jesus.

What would it look like for you to stop obsessing about your appearance and focus on pointing people to the cross with your gifts, personality, stories, and talents? You are a masterpiece.
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)

Beating the Body Image Bandit: Truth vs. Lies

Living in a culture where we drown in a tsunami of images takes a toll.  We forget that phenomenal women have hips.  The lies of the Body Image Bandit tell us if we’re not thin, tall, and flawless, we don’t possess beauty.  Yet that mentality is from the Body Image Bandit, the Father of Lies, whose mission is to kill, steal, and destroy.  The lies include:

1.  Fat phobia:  Research shows that teen girls are more afraid of fat than terrorism.

Due to the images our brains are saturated with, we are brainwashed into thinking thinness is the major criteria of beauty.  One way to combat this is to rid or limit our lives of fashion, beauty, and celebrity magazines.  After looking at such magazines for ten minutes, women become more depressed. 2.  Appearance is almost everything.  God values our hearts much more than the size of our hips.  Actually, our internal qualities carry much more weight in God’s eyes.  “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.  (Gal 5:22) Makeup Quotes 4.  Food is the enemy, as it creates fat.  God created a variety of foods to be enjoyed in moderation.  Read related posts about deprivation, which remind us depriving ourselves leads to binges. Yet if we allow ourselves treats in moderation, we will reduce our desire to binge. 5.  Beauty is completely external. A complete lie.  “What matters most is not your outer appearance – the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes – but your inner disposition.  (I Peter 3:3, The Message)

6.  Youth is beautiful and old age is ugly.  In many cultures, age is equated with wisdom and is greatly valued.  Yet in most so-called “advanced” countries, older people are devalued (women more so than men).  Wrinkles aren’t respected.

 

“Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.”  (Proverbs 16:31, NIV)