Friday, July 31, 2015

Self-image

When it rains it pours.

The devil is at work in this world.  For us to not acknowledge his presence, we would be stupid and naive. But for us to dwell on the problems he's creating, we would miss the miracles and beautiful strategies of our Savior to try and prove His love to us over and over again.

Yes we must be aware of Satan's strategies against us and we must know how he personally attacks each one of us, so that even when he tries to hurt us where we hurt the most, we can stand boldly and strongly in the face of our Lord and Savior Jesus and say "I am His."

I want to share one of the ways the devil attacks me even though it is a very personal issue. I believe so many girls and young woman struggle with this and they deal with it in so many different ways. But I want to write about it because I believe that overcoming this is one of my greatest testimonies in Christ Jesus my Lord and I would like to help other young women to overcome.

 One of the biggest ways the devil attacks me is through self- hatred and body- image issues. I have struggled with this ever since I was little but over the past three years, the fight has gotten alot worse. I know that I am not alone in this battle.

Statistically, 91% of all girls are unhappy with their bodies and 80% of ten year olds are terrified of being fat. This issue saddens me so much! The Bible says that we are created in the image of God; we are on this earth to build relationships with each other and edify each other in honor of Christ, yet so often girls are emotionally terrorized or living in fear because they feel so ugly and they feel they do not deserve to be loved because of how they look.

Girls deal with this in so many different ways from building walls around their hearts, moving from boyfriend to boyfriend to satisfy their desire to be loved, eating disorders from eating too little to too much. There are so many different ways of coping. Many girls refuse to get help with their struggles even though this issue can affect families and future relationships forever.

My personal struggles with low self- esteem began when I had a best friend that was really beautiful. She would always talk about being skinny and I would watch boy after boy go after her. I was about nine years old when this started. She was always very flirtatious and it seemed that she would always talk to the guys, and they would just ignore me. It got to the point where I didn't try to talk to the guys at all. I didn't really care about them so just had my fun playing and practicing sports while my best friend would flirt and flirt for attention. To me, even though I never realized it, I told myself that I was good at sports and playing with the guys but that I wasn't pretty enough to flirt with them. This was just a tiny lie that somehow crept in when I was really small.

As I got older, I loved playing sports, being athletic, exercising; there were so many team sports that really helped my confidence and I had so much fun playing competitively all through high school. After high school though, I had a hard time readjusting when I could no longer play competitive sports and needed to spend more time studying in school. Even though I wasn't close to being overweight, I gained a few pounds and began to feel self-conscious about my size. I constantly wished I was short and petite. Life went on, it was fun and all but there was always that lie that Satan threw at me "You're not pretty enough; You're not good enough."

When I went on a mission trip for a year to Peru I gained about 20 pounds and this was really difficult for me. I began to struggle with an eating disorder and depression and I just didn't know how to be healthy and love myself for who I was. It was so difficult because I was like I'm serving Jesus so why I am getting fat. I loved Peru and my memories in Peru will never be forgotten, but it was a difficult time as well. The devil knew how he could tempt me and get me distracted from Him. When I focused on myself and my own body image, I became depressed. Only by reading my Bible and prayer, I could look up to my Savior and serve others joyfully. On this journey in Peru I met my best friend who has a very similar struggle and ever since we became sisters, we pray for each other and help each other overcome when the devil tries to tell us his lies.

The beautiful thing is I tried so many ways to lose weight it was crazy, but nothing helped me. My best friend and I even created our own FNF Fit Not Fat club and made crazy no eating sugar pledges and work out plans. But nothing worked! Yet as I started praying to God and crying out to Him, He began to heal my wounds. I think the first thing Jesus showed me is that I did have a problem. That soemthing was wrong, that I wasn't just making things up. But that this was a temptation from the devil, that I had to overcome through Him. I started praying that God would help me and for reals, he was the only reason I got through.

Going back to the states was so humiliating but I was determined to focus on God and to overcome my eating disorder through Him. It wasn't something fast. Girls are always looking for quick fixes and losing weight or looking differently is never going to work like that. If you try to lose weight quickly, you will hurt your body and probably in the end gain more weight. But slowly, as God began to teach me to be content and to trust Him no matter what the circumstances, slowly and surely, with exercise and healthy eating, I did begin to lose weight and I was so excited.

I feel like we as girls are so critical of our bodies and we live in a world that makes it so challenging to be comfortable with who you are. With the media constantly raising expectations and flashing flawless photos of what beauty should look like, it makes it difficult to love yourself through Christ's eyes.

For me God really blessed because He gave me the opportunity to become a personal trainer for Him. It was something I didn't think I could do, but somehow he helped me , and now I get the opportunity of helping other people to get in better shape physically but most importantly to overcome their mental battles and realize that they are precious and loved in God's sight no matter what they look like or what other people think of them.

I want to encourage you, that whatever your battle is: know that you are not alone and know that you are an overcomer in Christ's eyes. Your identity is not based on what other people think of you nor how you see yourself. You are Christ's child and you are more than enough for Him.

If you are struggling with an eating disorder or low body image issue, I encourage you to get help. This doesn't mean you have to go to a counselor, but honestly there's nothing wrong with them and they can make a big different. But 1. realize you have a need, 2. pray to God to help you, 3. tell someone you trust whom you know can help, and 4. Be patient.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:37

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