The Moment I Realized I Truly Have a Warped Opinion of Beauty, Body Image, and the Word Fat

by GfG on October 28, 2014 · 2 comments

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The issue of beauty and body image is controversial in America.  Women exercise, eat, engage in surgery, and more to look the way they want and the way they want is based on how society defines beautiful.  Even Christian women, who are supposed to base their opinions on Scripture struggle greatly with beauty.  I am one of them.

I have shared a few times about beauty and even challenged us to rethink how we define beautiful.

The funny thing is that most women I know aren’t willing to do that.  They aren’t willing to truly work on renewing their minds when it comes to beautiful.

They just want to be thin.

They still believe thin is beautiful.

And thin only.

I shared most recently about a view of beauty that warps us (the flat belly goal and it’s long term effects) and can do so for almost ten decades in a life.

I am one of the warped.

How do I know?

It took a wedding dress to snap me out of my stupidity.

Warped Moment PIN

A few months ago in July, I was blessed to have a dream of mine come true: Paul and I had a photo shoot with our children at the chapel where we wed. I wore my dress, the kids wore the colors of my bouquet twenty years earlier. It was dreamy.

What this means is that I fit in my wedding dress.  Twenty years and six kids later.

I was thrilled, don’t get me wrong.  I was giddy.

But I was also still calling my belly, my arms, most of my body…. fat.

I would pat my belly at night and wish I wasn’t overweight.  Wish that I could lose just five-eight more pounds to be truly thin.

Would not wear (and still won’t) shirts that show my arms because they are fat.  {Honestly, it’s a stretch for me to like the photo above because I hate my arms being so exposed.}

Would think of myself as someone in the overweight category.

All of that placed me in the not beautiful group.

I’m not even going to address today how I feel about my facial design.  Honestly, I am not there yet.  I am not sure I’ll ever be, but I’m praying and studying and hoping so.  That’s another post for another time.

Anywhooooo….. as I planned for our trip, my wedding dress hung from my bedroom curtain rod.
I would walk by and smile, looking at it.  So very much anticipating our 20th anniversary photos.

And somewhere during that month…. it hit me.

And I wept.

I wept because… even though I wasn’t overweight when I married at twenty-four and I could fit into my dress with no alterations twenty year and six kids later, I didn’t feel thin.  Or even in the non-overweight category.

I still felt fat.

I still believed that I was fat or at least fat-ish.  Which means fat in some areas, so I can’t really fit in the thin category.

I wept because the lies I was believing finally showed their ugly heads.

Right in my wedding dress, daggnabbit.

It was spurred on to confronting my problematic body image mindset.  I am fighting this battle in my mind, with not a lot of ammunition or practice, frankly.

I have the Bible, though.  And that’s pretty stinkin’ great.  I am striving to believe the ways God defines beauty.  Here is one of my problems: The Bible defines beauty, but it also refers to women who were “lovely to look at” or “beautiful”, which implies others were not.  I struggle with that.  So, I seek out truth and remember that there has always been levels of beauty, but that doesn’t imply that there is only one way to define beautiful.  Thank you, Lord.

I also have an amazing friend in my life who speaks truth.  She is really the only one I know that stopped believing America’s lies about beauty.  She “preaches” to me often, encourages me often, and tells me I’m beautiful often.  Thank you, Jan.

I also have a growing culture of miserable, misguided, and mistaken women whose stories remind me that their suffering is due to lies, not due to lack of beauty.  This evidence proves the opposite of what it is teaching and I remind myself of that.  Thank you, liars.

I also have a husband who loves me and believes I’m beautiful.  His love is a balm to my spirit many many days.  When I lie in bed crying or I want to throw things at a mirror, he is there speaking words I don’t always believe but minister to me anyway.  He becomes frustrated at the mess in my mind put there by those who were to love me and cultivated by a culture that goes against God. Thank you, Paul.

I also have four daughters I love tremendously.  While the wedding dress snapped me out of my stupidity in how I view being overweight or thin, these precious gifts spur me onward to not giving up the fight.  I see four women in the future who I want walking in freedom.  Thank you, Hannah, Chloe, Phoebe, and Esther.

So, while I rejoiced that I could wear my wedding dress (and in the interest of full disclosure, I didn’t eat bready items the last two weeks before the photo shoot because while I could zip up the dress and walk around, it was tighter than I wanted for sitting… and long term breathing) and I still do, I am convicted about the lies I was believing about myself, others, beauty, and being overweight.

How incredibly stunning that I would be calling myself fat or overweight despite being able to wear my wedding dress twenty years later.

How warped.

I am committed to fighting this battle now.  It won’t be easy.

It will definitely be worth it though.

Even more so than my dream day.

May God bless my efforts and unwarp me while keeping my daughters from being warped.

I’m grateful God showed me the error of my ways and I trust Him to help me fight the battle.  I believe He will because I believe it grieves His heart to see his children belittling themselves, believing lies about His creation and design, and beating themselves to meet a standards that He didn’t set.

I love my dress, I love my dream day, but I love God more.

Thank you for the moment I realized I was warped, Lord. 
Let’s do this! 

Are you in? 

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