This is a fantastic story from my new friend Brittney. She wrote me this, “I know you probably get lots of emails regarding your AMAZING book “Compared to Who.” I for one am grateful the Lord put this book on your heart. While reading your book I was going through a Freedom small group put on by my church and your book in combination with my freedom retreat at the end was simply LIFE CHANGING!” She shared with me her amazing testimony, so I asked if it would be okay to share it with you too! Praise God for freedom stories!
“It was for this freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” – GALATIANS 5:1
If someone would have approached me earlier this year and asked what the definition of freedom was, my response probably would have been “living life with no rules, cares or responsibility . . .Wait, freedom must mean I’d be rich right??” Little did I know “freedom” was a word that would humbly change my life forever. Anyone can experience the thought of freedom in their mind, which goes straight to the fantasy land of what the physical world can bring them BUT to experience freedom in your heart is a feeling you just simply can’t describe.
My name is Brittney I’m 32 and have been enslaved to body dysmorphic disorder for so many years.
By definition, BDD is constantly thinking about one or more perceived defects or flaws in your appearance — a flaw that, to others, is either minor or not observable, feeling so ashamed and anxious that you avoid many social situations or go to extremes to hide or mask these flaws in front of others.
BDD had completely taken over my life, at some point without me realizing it, I was no longer in control.
My mirror addiction was so severe, simply stepping away from the mirror into public not knowing what I looked like cause extreme anxiety.
I would constantly fidget uncontrollably (ex: pulling on my clothes, touching my hair, changing my body position) but consciously be aware of what I was doing & unable to stop myself. Once in front of the mirror, finding an imperfection lead to a battle of doing whatever I could to fix it, this means losing track of time after 30 minutes have gone by. Then end result of most days was exhaustion from the battle itself and hiding it from others (They didn’t notice right?), feeling of failure (This is just who I am… ), never good enough (Who would want me anyway?), and [believing] I was skinnier it would all go away. (What’s the latest crash diet anyway? I’ll just skip eating for a day or two . . .) or, if I had a boyfriend I would be happier & more accepting of myself. (Your ex husband cheated on you then left because your fat, nobody will ever want you & look at those legs, disgusting.)
The root of this crippling battle stemmed from me being severely bullied starting in middle school.
Starting at the age old enough to worry about what the opposite sex thought of me, I very painfully adapted to so many insecurities. I was the chubby one who was outgoing–or that’s what I lead others to believe. Chubby is not a word cruel enough to describe you when you get to high school. [Older kids] resort to just [calling you] FAT. Or, what my personal bullies who would wait for me everyday at lunch liked to call me, “Miss Piggy.” (While snorting at me as they guarded the only doorway entrance to the break area.)
“Roly poly the fat cheerleader . . .”
“She’s pretty but fat.” These are just a few famous alternatives used to describe me. I remember feeling so exhausted, broken, and worthless to the point of thinking to myself: So this is how it feels to not want to live anymore. This is the feeling of wanting this to end.
So then I lost the weight, but that doesn’t make it all go away.
Being pretty and skinny came with the pressure and fear of gaining the weight back, fear of someone noticing if I gained even one pound so not eating was the normal routine.
With all of this came the bondage of rejection, shame, guilt, pride, idolatry, and lust. The feeling I got from someone complimenting me, accepting me or desiring me based on my appearance was my high. Physical beauty was my DRUG, which consequently caused me to become a person no longer recognizable in the mirror.
Freedom small group was the first time I had EVER opened up & shared my story.
Never letting my walls down, I’ve carried this with me for more than half my life. Freedom has literally allowed me to claim my life back.
The peace I feel looking in and walking away from the mirror is life changing. The Lord has brought to light what his word says about true beauty. My anxiety and fidgeting is no longer uncontrollable. I no longer have to start a face to face conversation by saying, “I have a nervous habit of touching my hair so just ignore it!” YESSSS!!!!
The most liberating part of all is going from wearing a face full of makeup everyday to now walking out of my house wearing only the bare minimum feeling comfortable in my skin & a proud Woman of God. With this experience He has put on my heart to lead a small group for teen girls dealing with body image insecurities & comparisons, the pressure of social media, and bullying. Only through Him am I able to share my testimony.