May 142013
 

I often find myself wondering when my body image struggle and insecurities will go away?  When will I have complete and final victory over them?

Last week I shared about a negative comment I made about myself and my being pregnant, which led me to examining the true contents of my heart.

I’m thankful for opportunities to examine my heart because it teaches me and prepares me for the next challenge.

And my next challenge came quickly.

To be brutally honest, our recent move to Southern California has exacerbated my body image struggle all the more.

I remember when I came down here for college.  I was blindsided by the fact I could experience culture shock just one state away.

I’ll never forget standing in line at Starbucks, just after I’d arrived for my first semester, and overhearing two women discussing their breast implants.  Of course, I had read the gossipy magazines and seen the entertainment shows on TV, but to be bombarded with those realities in day to day life was something completely different for me.  I was used to women discussing their running times or what kinds of natural remedies they were using.

During my college years, I confronted a lot of these body image issues, grew and even healed despite the culture.

Moving back down here has not brought the same culture shock as before, but you can believe it has already challenged me and tested my roots.

Of course there are countless aspects I absolutely adore about Southern California.  I love the sun, beaches, outdoor lifestyle, flowers and adventures possible around every corner.  But the in-your-face body image stuff – the showing of more skin, body enhancements and pressure to be thin – are all things that have a tendency to shake me.

This struggle of mine has often reminded me of Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).  He was never rid of it, always had to bare it, and trust the Lord with it.  And he was used greatly by God in spite of it.

As I ponder how I can relate, I wonder if it also could have been because of his thorn in the flesh that Paul was such an amazing vessel for the Lord?  This thorn made him keep coming back to Christ for strength, truth and hope.  He couldn’t do it alone.  By his being dependent on Christ, it allowed for Christ’s power to be shown through him.

Could my complete dependence on the Lord in this area be proving the power of God in my life in the same way?

I could easily do without struggling with body image.  I’ve been known to pray over and over for the Lord to just take this struggle away, for Him to make me strong, confident and carefree.

But I’m thankful the Lord is giving me His perspective.  This struggle is actually the very thing that keeps me fully reliant on the Lord.  This “thorn in my flesh” is not a battle I can win on my own.  I need the Lord’s strength to not crumble under the voices of defeat.  I need His love to pour over me.  I need His truth to speak loudly over the lies.  I need Him to fill me with true hope.  I need Him to turn my weakness into strength.

Over and over again.

Is there a struggle in your life you’ve often wished or prayed away?  Could it be possible that Christ’s power is being shown in your life through your struggle, as it keeps you dependent on Him?

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© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jan 292013
 

Sometimes I just don’t feel strong enough for it all…

These were the words I expressed to my husband after he reminded me of our family schedule for the next couple of months.

Part of this schedule includes my husband’s travel for his job.   Which is sometimes a lot.

The reality of his absence not only includes missing my best friend and our kids missing their dad, but it means no extra hands to help with the things I’ve come to rely on him for.

His hugs.  His playing with the kids after work to get all their energy out.   His disarming our tired kids’ melt-downs as I get dinner prepared.  His giving me a moment alone each day.  His helping with the kids’ bedtime routines.  His help picking up the house at the end of the day.  His tender touch on my tired body.

He so beautifully shares life’s load with me, I crave him when he’s gone.

But there’s something about the challenge of my husband’s travel that shakes me to my core:  I fear it brings out the worst in me.  The raw, insecure, selfish, worst of me.  I fear I’m not strong enough – especially for my kids.  And because this challenge is a constant in our life, I fear my worst is playing on repeat.

“I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.”  Psalm 34:4 (emphasis added)

We are all facing challenges.  We’re stuck.  Depressed.  A victim.  Longing for something that cannot be.  Trying to accept ourselves.  Fighting for our very life.

Sometimes our challenges find us tattered.  Begging us to raise the white flag.  Leaving us pleading with God to give us a different challenge – something we can handle for goodness sake!

As I’ve been thinking and praying about my feeling weak, God has brought a couple of truths to mind.

  • When we are weak, He is faithful to strengthen us.  We so easily forget to include God in our efforts to survive something.  To get through something.  But the truth is: He doesn’t just want us to survive our challenge – He want us to thrive in it and overcome it.  His strength is available to us, if we would just ask for and receive it.

“Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face continually.” 1 Choronicles 16:11

“He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power.  Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”  Isaiah 40:29-31

  • Our challenges are part of His best for us.  God is not far off.  He has not forgotten about us.  He has not slighted us or given us His left-overs.  He knows EXACTLY what we need.  And it always includes a heart change.  Because it’s our heart He’s most concerned about.  Amidst our challenge He will accomplish His good work in us.

“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

“Oh Lord, you are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; for You have worked wonders, plans formed long ago, in perfect faithfulness.”  Isaiah 25:1

Are you facing a challenge today you need strength to face?

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© 2012 Standing on Peace

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