Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My Greatest Demon

I'm not so sure about you, but I know that I can pretend everything's perfect when it's really not. I'm good at telling myself, "No Amber, that's not you" or "It's ok Amber, you don't have a problem." I may not have a problem, but I have a little demon that sits on my shoulder and whispers mean things in my ear. Just like the little guys in cartoon characters.

My greatest demon is body image. I grew up playing soccer and never had to think twice about what I was eating. My freshman year of college was marked with much bad "dorm food" and the eradication of any kind of working out. When I moved home from my freshman year carrying fifteen pounds more than I left with, I realized it was time to take myself more seriously.

I hit the road hard. Running three miles at first, quickly building to five, and then growing higher and higher in number from there. I rushed a sorority and realized that all the really cute girls were skinny. I wasn't super cute, but I ran a lot so I stayed thin.

Two and a half years later and I'm running like mad now... Six miles is a short day and working out at the gym to get the killer arms my wedding dress seems to call for... But I'm not at that skinny sorority girl weight. And every time I look in the mirror I see that extra pudge around my waistline only to be frustrated.

I'm not overweight by anyone else's standards (well maybe some...), but I have no problem looking into the mirror and seeing so many things I wish I could correct. Probably more that I wish I could fix than that with which I am satisfied.

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; 
male and female he created them." 
-Genesis 1:27

Growing up in church I have always heard that God made our bodies, thus we should love them as His creation. Well, I love my body because it's a useful tool that God made for me to use... But I don't like that I can't shape and sculpt it to look "perfect" (whatever that means). I have been praying what seems like constantly for God to rip that little demon from my shoulder and place him far, far, far from here, but God is showing me that I can tell that demon "No." It's that simple, just saying no.

"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden form you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them."
-Psalm 139:13-16

I am fearfully and wonderfully made. God knows my frame. He knows those little pockets of fat. He knows the unwanted pimples and follicles that I despise. But the difference between God and I: He loves  dearly my greatest (and tiniest) imperfections. In fact, it's through those most hated parts of me that He acts so greatly through. In fact, the parts of me I love the most, I happen to take for granted... Leading the "loved" to be lessonless.

I'm beautiful because He made me so. Little demon, be gone, I'm a beautiful babe of His.

Practically some tips I have found helpful to dealing with body image issues and frustrations:
1. Listen to your body and eat when it needs fuel.
2. Know that your size is genetic and environmental... Not everyone can be a size 0.
3. Exercise regularly in a way that you love.
4. Know that weight changes in cycles that run weekly and monthly.
5. Work on being gentle mentally... Treat your body right in your mind.
6. Ask for support and encouragement from friends. In return, be honest and vulnerable with them.
7. Decide where your priorities lie. Would you rather spend an hour at the gym getting the "perfect bod" or walk and chat with a close friend?
8. Mental health effects physical well-being... Take time for your mind.

What's your greatest demon? 
What are your practical ways to deal with your demon? 
Let me know, I will pray for your fight... And please, please pray for mine. 


Megan said... Best Blogger Tips

Good for you for writing this. I admit, I spend more time than I should stressing about ny image, and truly, it's so unimportant and trivial. God made us all beautiful.

gwynne said... Best Blogger Tips

Oh Amber,
Bless your heart for being so honest! This subject must be universal for women and certainly taken to extremes by different cultures (mostly ours). The most simple reminder for myself has been that God did create us in His image. It is sinful to berate ourselves because in turn we are doing that to God. Yes, I do sin at times unfortunately. But why would I choose to purposely hurt God by being down on myself? Maybe it will help because I can't stand to think you might be not realizing how BEAUTIFUL you are!! Besides you are amazing, smart, talented, organized, funny, charming, loving, kind, thoughtful, athletic and a GODLY woman and that is ALL that matters:)
Love you~

Kristen said... Best Blogger Tips

Sweet Amber,
What a beautiful post. Haven't been on Twitter as much and missed you :) Have a great many more days until you get your second ring?

Joanna said... Best Blogger Tips

This is such a great post for any woman. I think we all, including myself, have body issue demons. Mine stems from college and although I try to cut away from those unhealthy thoughts, I still have them each day. I'm trying to become a runner and that's been helping me feel good, but I don't see results so I don't feel that I look good. I need to cut that negative thinking and be proud of myself for getting active. You're right, the Lord has blessed us with beautiful bodies and who are we to judge his creation. Thank you for your uplifting words!!
p.s thank you for stopping by my blog again! I enjoy reading yours too! :)

The Gourmetour said... Best Blogger Tips

Great tips! Every single point here really resonates with me! I've copied and pasted this list onto a "stickies" note on my desktop! I would say that this is my biggest demon and all of the mood ups and downs that comes along with this demon that not only affects me but the people I love.
Thanks for the inspiration! You're beautiful!

chris aka mama bird said... Best Blogger Tips

oh sweet baby bird.. i just love you! and i love the morning chattie-runs. you are the best. have a great weekend and so looking forward to mermorial weekend ahead! loves!!!

caley-jade rosenberg said... Best Blogger Tips

What an amazing and inspiring post!
As everyone above has said, it is true for most women of all ages, cultures and sizes. Unfortunately, we never seem to be happy and all because none of us are perfect.

I am with you that we are by no means chubby, fat or obese but we will probably all have work to do - less to eat, healthier food to eat or more exercise to do in order to get rid of the odd fat bulge, lump or bump that we aren't happy with in the mirror!

You are not alone girl, but you are beautiful inside and out.