It’s time we stop body shaming.

December 1, 2017

800 calories.

That’s how much food energy I survived on for 8 consecutive months.

I was dying on the inside, but no one knew. I was withering away to nothingness, in my body and my mind.

Sisters, it’s time we shine a BRIGHT and burning light on an issue I guarantee almost all of you have struggled with at some point in your lives: body shaming.

It all starts when we are little girls. In dance classes, swim lessons and elementary recess, we start comparing ourselves. We look at the thinner girls with eyes wide and minds yearning. We wish. If only our little bodies could be even little-er, maybe our school crush would notice us. This is only the beginning.

High school brings an even more destructive thief of comparison and jealousy. We truly believe that our worth coincides with our size. Some of us are more confident than others in our own skin, but gossipers unite to make all of us feel “less than” at some point during these trivial four years.

And college years are not for the meek either. Our bodies mold into the shapes of women, and our youthful frames fade. The fainthearted won’t take this transition very well. We beat up our bodies like they have done us harm. We binge and purge. We over-eat and severely under-eat to compensate.

But my loves, WHERE is the joy in all this? And WHO told you that your quality of life is dependent on the size of your waist?

As I had an emotional conversation with my precious roommate Emily recently, we both openly realized how angry we are at this world and the standards it holds. She shared with me a story from her youth that drew her to tears. As a 7-year-old girl, she vividly remembers traveling to the beach with her family. Excited to go to the beach, she put on a new swimsuit, looked in the mirror, and realized she hated the way her body looked in it. She told her mama that she couldn’t go down to the beach that day because of the way she looked in her bathing suit… at 7 years old.

I cried on the inside with Emily because I related all too well.

When I was 6 years old, I remember that I couldn’t show up to gymnastics without wearing shorts over my leotard. My upper thighs touched. I just KNEW this meant I was fat. I was in 1st grade.

As Emily and I shared our heartbreaking stories from childhood, I couldn’t help but think about those little girls shaming their bodies 17 years ago… before social media. Before YouTube. Before we were bombarded with airbrushed photos of celebrities. Quite honestly, I got sick thinking about girls growing up now. We are surrounded by quick fixes, detoxes, and clean eating trends. Social media praises fitness and outward looks to such an extreme that people will go to extremes to achieve body goals they think will satisfy…. I sure did.

During all my college years, I hated my body. I went to very unhealthy lengths to morph my body into the smallest it’s ever been by depriving myself of nutrients. And in those days of being small, everything else in my world became small too. My relationships with people dwindled. My care for others dwindled. My time spent at social gatherings was almost non-existent. What I thought would provide me happiness ended up turning into some of the most isolating and lonely days of my life.

Hear me when I say, HEALTH is a good thing. However, obsessing over body size and the caloric count of rice cakes is not.

May I pose a question for us to ponder? Consider when you meet your Maker face-to-face. Do you think it will matter what your weight is in that moment? Do you think thigh gaps or abs will truly matter? It is SO much more likely that our full and complete attention will be drawn to the Creator of the very bodies we’ve spent hours shaming.

My sweet roommate said it best, “When you shame your body, you are shaming the One who created and designed it.”

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It was with precise and attentive care that GOD knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). His hands made you and fashioned you (Psalm 119:73) — believe that. He clothed you with skin and flesh (Job 10:11) — praise Him for that.

This world is too full of lies and harmful habits. Don’t let it steal your joy.

No longer shall we live for thinness or appearance. Utmost satisfaction is found in Jesus alone.

Love, Kristen

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