Today let’s talk about something that I’m really passionate about: a healthy self image. My working definition of self image is how you feel about yourself and what you think about yourself. This is something that I’ve been thinking through for years.
I am not a certified counselor, doctor, therapist, etc. Just drawing conclusions from the Bible and my own life experiences.
I think a lot of self image issues stem from not knowing where our identity lies. During a summer when I was in college I worked at a camp. The time I was there I learned all about what the word identity meant and how important it was. Your identity is who you are. You can put your identity into a n y t h i n g. For the most part we, collectively, put our identity / base our worth off of things that we’re good at. At that time in my life, I found my identity in being the funny girl with the big personality, who could sing and play tennis. My identity was not rooted in Christ, but in myself and my abilities.
Those 4 things were who I was and I was really good at them.
Since then, I’ve made it a priority for my identity to be in God and what He’s done for me instead of myself and my abilities. It’s not easy and it takes work, but like anything that’s good, it’s worth the effort.
Then came weight loss.
I’ve had an internal struggle lately. I’ve been finding my identity in the pounds I lose or don’t lose and its taking a toll on my spiritual life. I can’t even begin to describe how easy it is to live in a mindset like this:
Lose weight = champion
Gain weight = failure
Let me be the first one to tell you and encourage myself that not only is this mindset false, but it’s dangerous.
It’s all about finding the balance. Of course we celebrate when we make progress. Of course we’re bummed when we don’t lose as much as we we’d like or even,dare I say it, gain pounds back. It’s dangerous when we let plus and minus signs dictate who we are and what we’re worth.
Like I mentioned earlier, I realized I was doing this and it was taking a toll on my spiritual life. I was letting my losses each week give me energy and confidence and looking for other people’s admiration and acceptance instead of looking to God for that. When I wouldn’t lose or gain, I felt like a complete failure and would debate undoing all the work I’ve done thus far. I’d take 2, 3, 4 steps backwards (not just with food, but mental progress) instead of regrouping and moving forward.
So now, what I’m encouraging you (and myself) with is not letting our numbers on the scale define who we are. Those numbers can encourage and motiviate us, absolutely, but they don’t have the power to say who we are and what we’re worth!
Let’s not see our gains as failures, but lessons to reflect on and drive to continue moving forward. I hope this encourages you! – JJ