A dear sister-in-the-Lord recently shared her enthusiasm with me in regards to 6 pounds she had shed. I smiled and congratulated her and gave her a big hug. Six pounds – an awesome accomplishment, indeed! Of course she looked the exact same to me as she did before she lost the 6 pounds but I kept that little realization to myself. In other words, I thought she was perfect. Her physical beauty and her spiritual beauty were so interconnected, from my perspective, that had she gained weight I would not have noticed either. But those few pounds made a difference in how she viewed herself and how she believed the world viewed her.
My own self-perception is just as fragile. I have never been known to purchase clothes that actually fit. I view myself as needing clothes that are always at least one size larger than the “real” me. My own body image still suffers as a result of many comments made to me while I was a young teenager.
Body image is something that affects almost all women – even Catholic women. Never mind that we understand that we’ve been created in His image and that we are perfect just the way we are – assuming we haven’t been told by a medical professional of a need to change a diet due to diabetes, heart disease etc. – we still find ourselves questioning our shape, our weight, our appearance.
Maybe the summer has taken a toll on your body image as you’ve maneuvered your way through the swimwear department and have barely survived. Or maybe this was the year you gave up short sleeve shirts altogether and suffered through a heat wave as if you were a southern belle quite used to fanning yourself for hours on end. Summer is a great time to examine your own body image because it is difficult to hide your uneasiness as you attempt to find clothes to cover your “flaws” that won’t make you pass out in the heat.
In the end, summer is a time to love who you are as a daughter of the King. Embrace your imperfections and your image battles. Consider the ways they can make you a better daughter, sister and friend.
Summer is a great time for all of us to make a concerted effort to see ourselves as Christ sees us rather than how we may have been conditioned to see ourselves.
Copyright 2012 Cheryl Dickow