When You Feel Out of Control With Body Image Issues

Technology makes me scream. Yesterday I published a new post, made a few changes to my website and, Presto, it vanished from cyberspace without a trace. Not the post. The whole website. Fabulous.

And, the best part was–there was literally nothing I could do about it. I don’t know anything about back end web technology. My only hope: the technical support phone number of my hosting company and some prayers that it was an issue in which that they had some sort of involvement.

Technology makes feel completely out of control. I could stare at the screen and type words and numbers into the blinking box all day and nothing would change. I am powerless against the internet.

Sometimes I feel this way with other struggles, too. I can especially feel out of control with body image issues!

A few days ago I blogged about how my need to control almost ruined my marriage. But it would be disingenuous to say that my need to control is a problem I’ve solved completely. I daily wrestle the tension of desiring eveything to go just the way I want and relaxing in God’s sovereign care.

A lot of women struggle in this same way and this is why body image issues become so overwhelming. It begins with us wanting to control our bodies–to have them look a certain way. This drives (or can evolve in to) a constant pressure in our hearts. The pounding rhythm of “do better, do better, do better” beats over and over again, until our heads hurt from the weight of it and we want to just give up!file000746328414

How do I control what seems so out of my control? 

Some weeks I can exercise and eat right and still gain two pounds. Sometimes I can go a month without trying to eat healthy and drop some weight. Somedays my skin looks clear and other days my epidermis won’t allow even a slew of make-up to help it look alive.

Or, then there are weeks when I’ve just had enough of control and I am completely out of it. I go a little cray cray and hit the 56 ounce resealable bag of M&Ms–20 times too many.

For control freaks, this cycle, this pressure, this feeling is enough to make you bonkers. Until you realize where it’s coming from.

We say we struggle because of some sort of mysterious internal drive that tells us to look better physically. Experts will chime in and say, “No, it’s not that you want to look different -it’s the media’s fault for telling you to look like a Photoshopped model.” Or, our Christian community will tell us that our bodies don’t really matter all that much so it’s frivolous that we’d try so hard.

We hear that with our ears, but none of it really makes sense to our hearts. All we know is we should keep trying.

We don’t really care what anyone says about it. We know what we want: a better number on that size tag, a better butt, a better whatever… The only obstacle in our way is ourselves…

Oh, yeah, and the fact that, just like I have no power over web technology, I have limited power in the ways I can actually change my body.

Dear friend, if you struggle with body image like I do, I want to encourage you today to tell that inner control freak–you know, the one who tells you to keep going and keep trying until you “arrive”– tell her to shut up!

That may sound harsh, but it needs to be done. If your self-talk is meaner than you’d ever say aloud to a friend, then you need to stop. In fact, most of us don’t even realize how cruel we are to ourselves and how much our inner control freak is actually a big fat bully until we stop and really see the harsh words we speak in our heads.

Today you have a project: Every time you look in the mirror and think a negative thought or hear condemning words — I want you to write them down. Write them down accurately, just as you hear them.

Then, tonight or tomorrow, I want you to pray. Repent of the ways you’ve repeated the life-sucking words to yourself and ask God to continue to reveal to you the lies that you believe. He will be faithful to help you overcome your struggle.

Take those lies and replace them with God’s truth.

When that voice says, “You are worthless!” Answer with God’s truth like: He designed me for a great purpose. (Ephesians 2:10)

When that voice says, “Someone your size will never be loved.” Answer with God’s truth like: I am deeply, and lavishly loved by the Father. (1 John 3:1)

When that voice says, “You’ll be happier and have a better life if you can just lose that weight.” Answer with God’s truth: Desire for a skinny body is a vain idol. I know only my savior offers me steadfast love. (Jonah 2:8)

Just take it one day at a time and tell that inner control freak to shut it.

1 Comment
  • Heidi
    October 4, 2014

    Great post Heather! I think the negative self talk is a large pert of the battle….at least for me. If I talked to friends the way I talk to myself, I wouldn’t have any friends!

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