Body image issues

Body image issues

I recently heard that a small group won’t let a divorced woman lead them in a study about marriage. Why? She has repented and been redeemed, not to mention, faced the foe she is encouraging them to fight and resist! Why? She has learned the hard way about what it is to try and fail, to struggle and to find her only solace not in human arms but in the supernatural hands of her Daddy. I know from experience it is those of us that have fallen that are able to more effectively and readily administer grace to the falling.

This upsets me.

I want to stand before the women that have made this judgement and ask, “Who among you is without sin?” But the problem is, I know these women, they would look down their noses at me and point with long fingers at the crimson letter they insist is attached to me. There is no getting through to them. They’ve cast their lot, made their choice, selected their chosen with a smile and a condescending “bless your hearts.” I’ve seen them in the spirit. Empty, emaciated, lifeless women, colored green with their envy. Not willing to reach out past their own comfort, not even if it mirrors their own pain.

And these that they have marked, those of us that must face their looks of judgement and disapproval, we suffer from Body image issues. Does the Body look like this? Is this our only hope? Do we assimilate and pretend we do not wear blaringly obvious masks, bear our scars publicly at their disgrace, or what these have done… Starve ourselves?

Many will choose the masquerade, plastering a mask upon their cracks and holes – Hoping time will wipe away our grievances, looking down at others instead of pointing to theirselves, standing proudly above those they deem unworthy. And they exist. Only exist. Wondering but never quite willing to find out about an abundant life. Their glass steeples of self-assurance and self-righteousness might get dirty but they don’t crack.

Then, there are those that are starving. They neglect solace and retreat even though they long for it. They’d rather nibble at crumbs and call it a meal than dare to venture over to the wedding feast. That finger that they point at others in blame, they shove down their own throats and vomit its pain onto those around them. They are not happy. They are not unlike the masked in their delusion. They’ve been blinded by the words “enough” and “content” and the idea of seeking and finding a treasure in their faith is ridiculous. They look down on the transparent that have found joy. They doubt their validity and look for a sin to pin or repin. When they don’t find one, they make it up. Because it feels better that way – to call those who feast gluttons. They whisper their prayers not believing until they see. Faith is an exercise they’d rather abandon. And despite their greatest attempts at grace, it falls short in the glare of their envy.

This upsets me. I’m not the only one. It upsets me because in their own deception, they have deceived His Bride, and convinced His daughters that they too must starve themselves to be acceptable.

Then, there are the beautiful. They are made up of the shattered masked and the recovering starved. They will be transparent, despite the onslaught of judgement. They will wear their scars humbly before the Redeemer as His Bride with the knowledge that they do not deserve a smidgen of the grace they’ve been given, but instead of clutching it to them as a prized possession not unlike that of Golum, they freely extend and search for others, the broken that need to be repurposed – and they come – silently, quietly, desperately, running away from the life of the masked and starved, wooed by the Lover of their souls, longing for more than cheap beads, desperately believing they are a pearl recently discovered.

Sadly, the masked seem to have chosen; their pride shadows any look at what could be. They have what they need, or so they believe. They’ve hidden themselves perfectly and scoff at those who try and touch them. Like the starved they only nibble, but just enough to point out others wrongs. Only God can set them free, and He will when they are humbled and have no where else to turn.

I believe if we show the emaciated and starved a mirror, they can turn around, too. But, first they have to see themselves honestly – The way they are, jutting bones, protruding clavicles – The stark reality that they are wasting away when they think they are fine. They have to admit they need help, and they have to be willing to do the work, to be vulnerable, to reach out. They aren’t alone if they will open their eyes. We have been there before, those of us now pink cheeked but scarred and many still chinked. We encourage them not to hide what He has done and is doing. We remind them that He alone makes us beautiful. Hopefully, then, they will see our healthy glow for what it is – His love. Our girth for its intent – His grace. And slowly their greenish hue will fade into a radiant white as our image becomes the unblemished Body of Christ!

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The Elected

Today is the day after the vote, and nothing has changed.

This doesn’t surprise me.

I was talking to God about this, and He reminded me of this verse:
“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

God did not say:
“…If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and select them a new governmental leader to restore their land.”

And yet, that is what we believe. We believe that if we seek and pray He will appoint someone else to do the work. This has never been so, and will never be. The truth is we aren’t comfortable with the idea that He has appointed us. We often look for ways out of our appointments.

We are burdened for a need in our lives or in another’s and so we beg off prayer. Pray for me, pray for this, pray over them… I am guilty. This takes the responsibility off of us. This allows us to look to other things, when obviously God has called our attention to those things.

We are tired of abortion and the taking of innocent lives in heinous and barbaric ways. But, are we supporting organizations that vehemently oppose those acts and reach out instead to help the mother understand the value of the life she carries inside?

We hate to see the impoverished; in fact, so much so that we struggle to call them poor. We make comments about laziness and living off the government, but are we lending them a helping hand? Are we showing them theimportance of work and allowing them the opportunity to serve?

I could go on and on…this list could be never ending. But, I am not here to point out what’s wrong with us. I want us to see what is right with us! What God purposes us to do, regardless of who is in charge.

Isaiah 63:1-2 says: “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.”

That same Spirit that anointed Jesus is on His elect. We who are His are ambassadors, and as ambassadors we are chosen to continue the work that He started. That is good news!

As long as I have been praying and seeking God, this is what I have found – Prayer is the exercise of faith…the results are born in our hearts, out of that obedience. So as we pray we must remember that just as Christ declared as He took the stand before the people to announce His election, we too are called to do those same three things:

Bring good news to the poor – What is that good news? It is good news that the impoverished in Spirit don’t have to remain that way. Through Christ they are offered abundant life…That Christ’s economy isn’t based on the economy of man. That what they lack others have, and it is our responsibility to freely share.

Comfort the broken hearted – There are many of these, daily they grow. We aren’t called to stand on a soapbox and declare all the wrong things they’ve done to get there, we are called to sincerely comfort them, aid them in their suffering, and offer hope and life.

Proclaim freedom for the captives and release for the prisoners – We all can feel the chains or cage of some prison. Whether it is a literal holding cell or one of the mind and heart or the limitations of thebody. We all have the propensity to be captured by something. But, God says we have freedom through Christ! We must proclaim that.

Our circumstances may never change…in fact, they could get a lot worse. But, as Christians our election is sure! We know what we have been called to do and what it will take to heal our land…and it isn’t the promise of a Christ-friendly government. It is the promise of an abundant life in Christ…one that doesn’t look around for what we can get, but looks earnestly and urgently for what we can give.

The greatest empires always tumbled. The powers that be are now the powers that were. Nations have fallen, and wars have always been tragic. But, this election that we have isn’t about the “State of Affairs” it is about the affairs of the heart, it’s not a proclamation of the “State of the Union” but about the state of being unified. This is a Spiritual election that refuses to sit idly by and pray for others to do the work, but it is an anointing that says, “You are the one that I have chosen. Be my ambassador.”

In the end, it isn’t about who is elected. It is about what we elect to do.

Today is the day after the vote, and in my spirit, something is changing.

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