Everyday I get this terribly annoying message from someone named Chris. And everyday I open it because I mistake it for legitimate communication. I click to see pictures of tarot cards captioned by a few sentences that spew some garbage about “forecasting my future.” The red link begs me to “act fast” or my chances to see my future will disappear.
God’s word says witchcraft and sorcery are straight evil. I know to stay far away from these deceptive methods and mediums. The enemy is real and his team is working overtime to tempt and destroy believers, in part, through these “seemingly innocent” schemes. I know all this.
Magic Diet Pills
Here’s how it goes.
I browse the Vitamin Shoppe, looking for some elderberry syrup to boost the kids’ immune system when, Boom! I see it. How could I not see that bright yellow print popping off the bottle? The text reads: Lose weight fast! The natural way!
Hmm . . . It’s natural? Well, maybe I should check that out.
I pick up the bottle and turn it around. I wonder what’s in this? Scanning the ingredients, I read the manufacturer’s claims.
More energy? A faster metabolism? There’s nothing wrong with getting a little help in that arena, right?
Up to ten pounds in two weeks?
I hold the bottle in my hand, flip it over to read the price tag, and consider buying it.
Then I remember that I don’t believe in magic.
Lead Me Not Into Temptation
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying all supplements are evil. I’m not equating your Plexus Slim to witchcraft. Please hear me out.
Rather, I know what my heart does with weight loss products. My default setting–as a life-long dieter and woman who wrestles her body image–is to believe that the next product will work and fix all my body problems. Forever.
It’s not just diet pills that tempt me. I’m lured by every new workout program and every fad eating program. I fall for weight loss gimmicks. Regularly.
I’ve owned a Thigh Master, Ab Roller, Tae Bo videotapes (yes, I’m that old). I even had the Total Gym because, hey, if it worked for Christie Brinkley and Chuck Norris, surely it would work for me.
Weight Watchers weigh-ins and tracking my daily calories online were part of my life well before the FitBit was invented. I’ve eaten bagels all day to eat low fat, and bacon all day to “be” low carb. No white foods. No sugar. Fat free (and taste free). My diet restrictions have changed more frequently than the narcissist changes her profile picture.
And, now that I’m just over forty, the impact of all this yo yo dieting, calorie restriction and disordered eating catches up to me. I battle thyroid issues and Hashimoto’s autoimmune disorder. Though I haven’t found the precise study to prove it, I speculate that there’s a connection between the ways girls like me have dieted for decades and the way so many of us are experiencing thyroid burnout way too young.
Is there a cure?
I can train my brain to avoid the diet pills. I can tell my husband, “Don’t let me go on another diet, please!” And I can even try to find accountability in friends who will help me stick to an exercise program and not be lured into believing that the “next one” will be any better than the previous.
All of that will help, some. But, the problem is in my heart.
The obstacle is my idolatry. I struggle with body image idolatry.
The cure starts when I confess that I believe in magic. And, that, at it’s root, this is sin.
The sin is that I believe a real miracle in my life will come when I no longer have to worry about my weight. I believe that a transformation of my body will do more to improve my life than anything else I could conceive. I believe a lie.
Truth is, losing some weight could be better for me physically. I’m not against weight loss. Be healthy.
But, the deeper truth is that my imagination doesn’t care about health. My heart’s desires are exposed when I daydream about being thinner. My idolatry uncovers itself through the stealth ways my heart believes I’ll have more love, joy, peace and happiness. . . if only I could lose weight.
False Salvation Versus Real Salvation
I subscribe to a false salvation. A magical plan that tells me that looking more like a model, that having the body of the woman in the “after” photo instead of the “before” will lead to a better life. As a “thin” woman more people will respect me. When I’m “thin” my husband will love me more. If I looked that great in a swimsuit, I’d be a better mom, a more active one. And, wow! When I’m that thin I’ll finally be free to stop worrying about diets, and exercise, and magic pills that will make me skinny in twenty-one days.
It’s as silly as hocus pocus. As ridiculous as believing the magician actually sawed the woman in half. As crazy as thinking that deck of cards isn’t stacked or ordered in a way that reveals your hidden card to the man in the black suit.
Real salvation comes through Christ alone. Real relief for the pain of “I’m not good enough” comes not from significant weight loss but from time learning my identity can be established in Jesus alone.
The only magic that will save me is the miracle of the transformation He can do on the inside, not the out.
**Want to learn more about body image idolatry? Here’s a little video I did to help explain it.
Want to find real freedom from your body image issues? Join us on this journey to end comparison and body image struggles in our lives.