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!