Love Never Fails : Let’s talk about Body Image

Can I just start by telling you that I have started and never finished at least three posts on Body Image in the past year? It’s a very vulnerable topic for me, and requires a lot of courage to “go there.”

This is “High School Kari”
HSKI was probably a junior in this picture from the yearbook. (See the Peechee folder? Who remembers those?) Back then, I was about 90 pounds and barely 5 feet tall.

This is “2015 Kari”
2015 KariSome things the same, some things are different. I’m 52 and just a few pounds heavier, and just a hair over 5 feet tall. (You didn’t think I’d tell you my real weight did you?!) I’m older, wiser and heavier.

All around us are reminders of what the world sees as a perfect body. We see people who are thin, who have great hair, perfect makeup, long eyelashes, manicured fingers and toes, no wrinkles, perfect skin, etc. It’s in the movies, on TV, in magazines, on billboards and especially everywhere I live and work, in Southern California. (Home of the beautiful people, right?)

It’s hard not to feel inferior when you’re carrying a lot of extra weight. It’s hard to have confidence when you have a bad hair day. It’s hard not to feel self-conscious when you think your hands are ugly and you don’t want people to notice.

But lately, I’ve been paying attention to the self-talk in my head, going over the litany of things that are wrong with me. My hair is too thin and won’t cooperate. My hands are knobby from erosive osteoarthritis, causing me to subconsciously hold my hands in fists most of the time. My right eyebrow is lower than my left and sometimes all the makeup in the world just won’t make them look even. My arms look fat, my thighs rub together. On and on it goes.

But here’s the big one. I look in our full length mirror and say to myself,

You’re a fat cow!

I’m embarrassed to admit that to you, but I am doing it because I think there are a lot of us who look at our bodies with contempt, as if we’re something to be ashamed of because we don’t fit the mold of “perfect.” The truth is, we are created in the very image of God, and we are not something to be ashamed of.

God is really working on me in this area. It is not an easy journey. Daily, I fight the battle of being self-conscious of how I look. I compare myself to others even though I know that is a deadly practice. I see how “she” looks in her pencil skirt and think that people must for certain think she is smarter and prettier and better than me, simply because she is skinny, and I’m over here in my fat pants with hair that won’t cooperate.

I think it breaks God’s heart when he hears me being so derogatory about myself. The truth is, that he created me in his image. He gave me a mind that is sharp, a heart for people, talents that I get to share with others. He made me perfectly. Why do I think I am so much less than that?

So, if I am truly asking God to break my heart for what breaks his, I have to address this negative image of my own body. I have to give over to him what I cannot control, and trust that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139) I need to find my worth in inward beauty, in knowing that I am loved just the way I am, grounded in the truth that beauty isn’t defined by others. I must learn to love myself and work out what that looks like with God’s perspective and not the world’s.

This is only the beginning of learning to be kinder to myself. The past few days, I have noticed that I’m not sneering at the woman in the mirror. I’m learning to accept who she is, curves and lumps and bumps and bad hair and all. I’m beginning to find my value and confidence in things other than the number on the scale or the size of my jeans. It’s a long journey, but worth taking, because

Love Never Fails

(even love for yourself)
Love Never Fails

This is the 11th post in my series Love Never Fails for the Write 31 Days blogging challenge. You can click here to go to my introduction page and find links to all the posts in the series. Also, if you’d like to receive these posts directly in your inbox, just enter your email address in the bar to the right. I promise to never share your information.

15 Comments on “Love Never Fails : Let’s talk about Body Image

  1. Oh yes… body image is a huge deal! But as you said, it’s not so much what you look like or how you feel – it’s the endless cycle of negative self talk that feels normal and goes unchecked that is so damaging and breaks His heart! Great post full of truths. I think we all struggle with this battle from time to time and I know for me – I have been on both extremes, battling an eating disorder and all kinds of negative self talk, to being secure and confident in who I am (not paying any attention to my body!) I am learning a balance between the two now while walking in the love He has for me, as you said, no matter what the outside may look like! He’s more concerned with my health – physical and spiritual, than He is with my weight! Thanks for being brave and going there!

  2. Thanks for sharing your vulnerabilities. Reducing the negative self-talk has been a crucial step for me in improving my life. Keep up the good work, fellow 31 dayer! Be gentle with yourself. xo

  3. I learned young – that some of the most prettiest people are the ugliest on the inside. I struggle with the body image a lot. I stop and remember that I have a choice, spend my time being beautiful on the inside or the outside, MY life doesn’t have time for both. I try my best to choose working on being beautiful on the inside – and there are times that I fail. Thank you for the blog… Great One. (Why do I only see these in October? Am I only signed up for October Blog? 🙂 🙂 🙂 )

  4. This is something that I too struggle with. I am trying to see myself as God sees me and not the reflection in the mirror. Thank you for being transparent. This is an encouragement to me. Have a blessed day!

  5. I do the same exact thing you do. Full length mirrors are a curse! I would never say to another soul what I say about myself.

  6. Oh wow..body image is so hard for so many of us. I have battled that demon too. Thank you for your honesty here.

  7. Powerful and courageous, Kari. After my dad died suddenly in 2009, I was in a new intense job and took over the full care of my mother, financial and health care decisions. I did not have time to grieve and ran to food for comfort. Now at 58, I’m in a place weight wise I never expected to be. I began a Bible Study group in mid-September via FB that has been very helpful in this area. I think many of us live lives of quiet desperation unnecessarily. Contact me if you want to chat more.

  8. WOW…you never cease to amaze me with your willingness to be so honest, vulnerable and courageous in your writings, Kari! You take on topics that most would never touch, and I believe you speak to the heart of the “every man” and “every woman” in doing so. And you do it SO eloquently. And please don’t sell yourself short because you are BRILLIANT and BEAUTIFUL both inside and out, and I love, admire and respect you like very few others, my dear, sweet cousin & friend! ❤️

Tell me what you think

%d bloggers like this: