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?
© 2012 Standing on Peace