Choking on Perfection

body imageHave you ever felt invisible yet on display at the same time? I do. I have for the majority of my life. Appearances have always been a low- key struggle of mine. I feel as though I have managed to battle within myself while seeming unbothered on the surface. Since I was young I became hyper-aware of my body – each curve, dimple, crease, each imperfection. At a young age, I began to feel invisible to others in the sense that I didn’t matter, at least I felt that my feelings did not matter. Jokes and sneers about my weight made me feel as though my body were on display at the meat market for comparison among other fresh cuts.

I wrote a blog post some time ago about my battles with eating disorders, but since then, I’ve decided to change my perspective. When I wrote that post, I still viewed myself so much as a victim. Although I would say being at the wrong end of jokes did make me a victim of bullying, I am no longer a victim. Lysa TerKeurst wrote in her book Uninvited : It’s impossible to hold up the banners of victim and victory at the same time. This quote settled into the back of my mind and sprouted a new bloom. A flower of optimism sprang forth. There is so much truth in that one little sentence. I cannot be a victorious warrior… an overcomer, if I still let myself sing the song of a victim, a slow, low cry radiating throughout my being. Victim makes my head hang low, carrying doubt and insecurities. Victory makes me see with new eyes and lessons learned in tow. A victor carries in her pocket progress and self worth. Love from her redeemer. Hope from her savior. Dignity from her sculptor. My God crafted me with his hands. He made me in a way that my husband adores and finds attractive. Everything I seem to hate about myself, my husband seems to love.

I have been a victim to starving myself, crash diets, the newest fad that sang promises of results but only made me ill. I was a victim to bulimia during the earlier years of adolescence. I have been a victim to a life of negative thinking.

I’ve accepted this as a part of my life. I believe I will struggle with this for years to come. One thing I can do is be proactive. I can slap down negative thoughts whenever they start to creep in. I can remind myself perfection is a fantasy and it is perfectly acceptable to look simply human. Human, not airbrushed figurine. My newest approach to food is viewing it simply as nutrition. Nutrition sustains me, not taste, not calories… simply nutrition. Is the food I am about to eat going to benefit my body? Is it going to give me essential vitamins that I need to function? I have come to believe this is the best approach to living a healthy lifestyle. If I view my relationship with food as a means to keep me healthy and give me nourishment then I won’t fall prey to “quick fixes.” I also won’t fall completely off the wagon. God took care in sculpting me. How disrespectful of me to harm the body God gave me either by extreme deprivation or giving in to gluttony. There has to be a balance, an inner peace to strive towards. Scripture tells us the body is a temple. He wants us to treat it well.