Tuesday, 7 September 2010
"A strong woman works out every day to keep her body in shape But, a woman of strength kneels in prayer to keep her soul in shape. "
I always like the ones that state "Anon" at the end...wondering why the author felt the need to keep themselves secret-who or what had impacted that thought in their mind, which they felt the need to share, yet stay masked to the world by that one word..."Anon." I love the air of mystery that one word adds to a quote.
The title of this blog post is from a website called woman2women, which is a site for christian women to be encouraged, share life on chat forums and grow spiritually through scripture teachings. They have a whole list of quotes and bible verses that I have read several times actually. This particular one though has a very personal meaning and impact on my life though.
"A strong woman works out everyday to keep her body in shape, but a woman of strength kneels in prayer to keep her soul in shape."
At the age of eleven I developed bulimia. I wasn't particularly overweight as a child - I was always the tallest girl and one of the first to start developing amongst my peers so did have more puppy fat than most the girls in my year but I think it was more to do with the fact that having a handicapped sibling meant I often felt self pressure to be perfect and in many ways becoming bulimic was me silently showing everyone that I wasn't.
I think it was only when I met Robert at the age of 16 that I was able through his encouragement and him leading me to Christ, slowly start to overcome my eating habits.
This has naturally been a long journey...especially since having 4 children in just under 6 years, plus a huge dose of steroids to beat a blood disorder has seen me go from my more natural size of a 12 to at my biggest a size 18/20. Through following weight watchers and joining a gym, I'm now a size 14/16 and am constantly striving to continue on my quest to get back to a size 12 (where I feel healthy and comfortable) .....but reading the above quote was such a revelation to me.
You see, I had to really really question afterwards why losing weight was so important to me: Was I letting myself once again get obsessed with the whole image of being perfect, was it because I thought it would make me more accepted or loved, was I allowing the devil to use this old stronghold to keep me from experiencing what God wanted for me?
When I get to the day where I can once again pull a size 12 pair of jeans over my knees(!) and actually do them up without holding my breathe all day-will life suddenly become perfect with no worries or stresses? Will I suddenly see my relationships changing? No, is the answer to those points, life won't and I won't! Atleast not because I'm a certain size, but only if I let God be my main focus.
I had to ask myself was I spending as much time obsessing about God and His love for me as I was about my body image? Did I have an understanding of what God thought of my body and if it in anyway hindered me from serving those around me?
I am me...I love people and have many many friends. I believe they love me for me...my honesty, how much I care about them and the impact I have in their lives...that even when I succeed in losing the extra 2 and a half stone of Stacey-i-ness that they will still love me as they do now for the same reasons....
BUT...whether they do or not, I stand firm in the promise that God loves me...he designed me, he wanted me as me and I'm made in His perfect image. He's not sad that I was once a victim of an eating disorder, He's ecstatic that everyday I give it to Him so I can call myself an over comer.
I write this blog post today because I am a "real" kinda girl and I love encouraging others...it's not how we look that determines our successes, our friendships, the opportunities that come our way...it's standing firm that we know and serve a God who loves us so very much. If everyone looked the same or sounded the same or cooked bolognese the same way...life would be dull...it really would. Of course we should be sensible with the food and drinks we consume, and exercise our bodies to be able to live the full life God has intended for us but we are made to be secure in the knowledge that our time on this earth is limited and we should be grabbing every opportunity that comes our way...not fretting about how much bigger or smaller "so and so's" bum is compared to ours. Woman to woman, it's time to be a generation of females who love, support and raise one another up.
I love Psalm 139 in the bible and particularly the verses that say:
13 "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."
If I can encourage you to do one thing today it would be to read these verses over and over again and believe them for yourself, and then let me know if they gave you as much peace and re-assurance as they have me. Jesus loves you, He loves me...it's time we hand on heart love ourselves :)