Don’t Turn Around: Advice For Women Who Struggle with Body Image

I sat out at the pool enjoying myself for a few hours. Soaking in the sun. Not stressing too much over the extra pounds or areas where my skin isn’t as tight as it used to be. I was content. Then I went into the bathroom. Brief mirror check went okay, until. . .

I turned around. Then I saw what my mind denied. I saw my larger-than-I-remembered butt and rippled upper thighs.

I wasn’t happy with what I saw. Turning around dampened my mood.

Would You Turn Around?

I think of the story of Lot’s wife. Lot and his family were to flee Sodom as quickly as they could as God destroyed the corrupt city. They were instructed to not turn around, either God didn’t want them to see the destruction, or God wanted to know that their hearts were turned away from Sodom and this would be proven by their focus on leaving the city.

I always wondered: Would I turn around?

If there’s an accident on the side of the highway, I’m craning my neck to try to see what happened. Yikes. I prefer not to think of myself as a rubbernecker, but I like to be in the know.

I wonder if God wants us to spend less time turning around?

Fortunately, I don’t expect any of us to be turned into pillars of salt for careening our necks over our shoulders, but, I still think there’s solid wisdom in the principle. Yes, not looking at your backside in a swimsuit may be one practical application (take it or leave it–it’s advice I need). But there are some other, deeper ways we could process this sage advice of not turning around.

Here’s what I mean.

1. Don’t Look Back . . . to the years when you were thinner, younger, firmer, you name it.

The past is the past. You can’t go back to it. Sure, it seems like those were the “glory” days. Maybe you feel like you’ve missed your prime. But, none of that’s true. Life is constantly changing, and we should be growing, developing, not staying stagnant. Pining away for yesteryear breeds discontentment that  leads to you missing out on the here and now.

Perhaps God wanted Lot and his family to look ahead to what he had in store for them and to dwell on the fact that he had rescued them from an awful situation. Lot’s wife’s backward glance at all she left behind meant she missed out on what God had ahead.

2. Don’t Look Back. . . to see who’s watching, who’s looking.

Don’t feed the monster inside that says you need to know (or care) what others think of how you look. It doesn’t matter what they think. Retrain your heart to care only about the opinion of one–Jesus. When you do this, you’ll be amazed at how much less you stress over your physical appearance. This is a lesson I learned the hard way and write about in my book called Compared to Who.

3. Don’t Look Back. . . at your mistakes.

If you’ve repented, God’s forgiven you. Don’t hang on to the guilt and shame unnecessarily. We area all sinners saved by grace. There isn’t one who hasn’t sinned and your sins aren’t any worse than mine or hers or hers. God can forgive them all and put them as far away as the east is from the west. (That’s infinitely far by the way.) Don’t be tempted to dwell in all you’ve done wrong. That’s just the voice of condemnation in your head, not the voice of your Savior.

What do you think? Do you spend too much time “turning around?” How has “turning around” affected your present day contentment?

Compared to Who best book for Christian women on body image

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3 Comments
  • Ethel Kennedy
    September 12, 2017

    I am definitely guilty of turning around. In so many ways. I’ve been on a quest for Jesus lately and things have changed so much. Instead of devouring fitness magazines and obsessing about food and exercise I’ve been reading scripture and books like yours that focus on Christian women and our challenges.
    My husband has struggled with porn since he was a teenager. We’ve been together 3 years and this has been a trick from Satan to pull us away from Jesus. My husband has been free for 9 months now. He said he finally figured out that Satan wasn’t really attacking him but using him to get to Jesus!! What a revelation for both of us in our struggles!!

    A little post note… when ever I pass an accident on the highway instead of looking back I look to God and pray. I lost my mom, her 2 sisters and brother in law all in one night while they were headed home from her other sisters wake. The thought of others “looking back” at their lifeless bodies was an eye opener.

    I pray that these 2 examples help someone to not look back… in anyway… God wants us to look to Him!!

    • Heather Creekmore
      September 12, 2017

      Thank you so much for sharing all that! Praising God for your progress and for new freedom in your marriage! I’ll continue to pray that God will work there. Thank you so much for sharing! Hugs!

  • Christine
    September 10, 2017

    I definitely have a tendency to turn around. Usually in regret of this or that. Often it turned into what I could have done differently and rarely did I ever give myself grace. I still struggle with that. I wish I struggled less than I do, but I see progress. A really great reminder. The only thing I have control of is how I respond right now, in this moment.

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