I haven’t always been open with my body image struggle.
I remember just over two years ago when I was debating sharing or not. My husband and I had just gotten involved with our new church and a new small group. We had completed a few “get to know you weeks” in our group and then each couple was taking a night to share their stories individually.
As I started laying out my story in my mind, I knew the simple, short and sweet story I could share. The one of how I grew up in church was saved at a young age, and have pretty much kept to the good girl ways that came so easily to me. But as I kept thinking through it, I felt God reminding me that I was leaving something out.
I was leaving out my struggle, and who I saw myself becoming if I was apart from Christ.
I remember telling my husband that I was going to share my body image struggle as part of my testimony. It must have seemed out-of-the-blue to him. He knew my past struggles, but I had only shared with 1 person at our previous church. So why now?
I’m sure we all struggle with body image to some degree, so why share?
I was doing fine. I was a happily married wife and mom to two kids who fit back into her pre-maternity clothes. That fixes everything, right?!
I wanted to share with my small group for accountability.
Not because I was in a “bad place” at the time but because I still struggle. My struggle might not look the same as it did earlier on in my life, but it is still there.
I’m still tempted to skip meals, try the latest diet trend, over exercise or binge on sweets. My mind still tends to gets obsessed with my body image and being hard on myself.
So I shared. I shared to five couples (I barely knew) on a Sunday night in my living room. It wasn’t too awkward, and I had probably hyped it up in my head more than necessary. No one’s jaws dropped open as I talked, and I really don’t know if it even changed anyone’s view of me. Why?
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:8
Even if my small group didn’t struggle in the same way I did, the Bible tells me that they all struggle in their own sins.
So how did being open and share change things?
It helped me be honest with myself. I know my heart and know that some days and seasons are harder than others. Just as some believers might still struggle with gossip, pride, or porn addictions, I am still tempted with my obsession over my body image. I think it is when we stay in hiding from these struggles and addictions that we let the sin take foot holds in our lives.
Once my struggle was brought to the light, it made it easier for me to talk about in the future. I could just be honest and stop pretending I had it all together. I then had other believers to carry my burdens and pray.
I think my openness even allowed others to feel more comfortable sharing their struggles whether they were body image related or not.
I’m not saying we all need to write a book, a blog series, or Facebook post our struggles, but there is a place for honesty. A place to be honest with ourselves and those close to us.
How do you specially struggle? What are your temptations?
Who can pray for you in that? What Biblical truth can you focus on?
“ 5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
1 John 1:5-10I
Lauren Douglas is a wife and “Mommy” to 2 little ones. She enjoys reading, crafting, exercise, and coffee. She loves the freedom and grace she has found through Christ and prays that her home and life reflect that faith. Lauren blogs at www.faithledhome.com.