Chasing Contentment

Monday, March 27

I've made it to 1 Samuel in my daily readings, and one verse in particular stood out to me today. I'm reading the Bible through in The Message, so the wording is very casual and understandable.

But GOD told Samuel, "Looks aren't everything. Don't be impressed with his looks and stature. I've already eliminated him. GOD judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; GOD looks into the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7
This is something I have trouble with on a consistent basis. I've found through the years that I am better able to confront the crazies in my head (as we fondly refer to my issues) if I acknowledge them to other people and ask for help.

So here I go. I have trouble remembering that God sees the heart even if men and women sometimes only see the face (or body). It isn't that I'm not accepting of other people. I like to think I am. I have friends of all shapes and sizes, and I love them not for how they look but for who they are.

Nope. It's not other people I have trouble accepting. It's me. Now, that's not entirely true. I have a strong self-esteem -- I am smart and funny and kind and generous and compassionate and independent and loving -- but my self-image isn't so swell. I know that sounds odd, but in my crazy little head there is a distinct difference between who I am and how I look. And I need to fix that disconnect in my head, if not for me then for my Eliza.

My parents are dear Christian people who did a marvelous job with me and my brother. They did, unfortunately, give me some warped perceptions of body and attractiveness. (I earned my first car in high school by losing a predetermined amount of weight.) During my high school and college years, I was comfortable with new situations because I was reasonably comfortable with my level of attractiveness.

And then I got married & had babies, and my body shape changed, and my acceptance of it bottomed out. I had a surge in self-image after Eliza was born simply because I was so grateful to still be alive. Somehow, I've lost that gratitude (not toward God but in relation to my body).

Whenever I'm tense or under a lot of stress, it is my unfortunate habit to turn that tension toward myself. I fixate on being overweight or this or that, and I tell myself that if my body were different, my life would be different. In all honesty, though, I can't come up with a list of things that would be better if my body were different. Which, of course, only reinforces Mike's theory that I should just let it go and like myself as I am.

And so here I am. I'm tired and achy (clutz that I am, I fell carrying Eliza into the daycare this morning - she's fine), and I'm ready to change the way I think. I think maybe that's why God pointed out that verse to me this evening.

My prayer is that God will change the way I think about myself and that I will allow my heart to be changed. Well, not necessarily my heart. I'd like to allow myself to see my body the way I see my heart... the way God sees me.

[  posted by Chel on Monday, March 27, 2006  ]


Hi Chel. Boy, I can relate to the part about how your parents thought. My mom was the same way. I am so thankful that God loves us anyway!

By Blogger Beckie, at 9:24 AM  

I'm right there with you on the body image story! I think a lot of women feel that way, especially in our American society. It's really sad. Thankfully it's what is on the inside that matters most to the Lord.....and hopefully (usually I think) to each other as Christian sisters!


By Blogger crickl, at 1:12 PM  

Wow, I could relate far more than I care to admit. Thank you for sharing - It really has made me think...

By Anonymous Blair, at 1:26 PM  

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