More Than the Sum Of Your Body Parts

I know now that I am not alone in this, but when I was a teen, I felt like the most imperfect person in a world that cherished perfection. Outer perfection that is. The perfect body, the perfect smile, the perfect hair, the perfect dress, the perfect shoes, the perfect bikini, the perfect allure that made men look twice. I thought that was really important. When I looked in the mirror, I knew I didn't meet the impossible standard of beauty the world had set for me to reach. I felt less than beautiful and therefore, less than valuable
I cried myself to sleep many nights wishing I'd wake up a different person. I spent time looking at my body in the mirror and wondering if God could've spent a little more time on me, maybe I'd look better, maybe those insecurities that only I knew about would go away? My self-esteem and self-worth was in the rocks. So I'd look at other women, some of my friends even, and envy them. I'd tear them apart, find their flaws, and compare them to mine, hoping that somehow I'd make it out on top. This all happened in my head of course. It was poison. More so, we'd silently compete for the attention boys. "Who could get the most boys to like them?" "Why does he like her and not me?" "What's wrong with me?" All the while, putting on a "modest" front when a boy did actually like me. I'd pretend I wasn't interested in the attention, the vulgar references to how "big" that is or how "hot" you look, but internally I'd relish it because it fed my hunger for self-worth. But it simultaneously reinforced what society had been telling me all along, "Only what I look like matters." When someone would say, "You are beautiful just the way you are," I'd smile and say thanks all while replaying all those times standing in front of the mirror angry at God for what I was endowed with. "You are beautiful" doesn't cut it for a girl or a woman struggling with major insecurities. Have you been there?
I've found healing from that now; it's been a gradual process learning to love myself as an image bearer of God. From a young age, we learn to compare ourselves to others, but what our hearts are really crying out is, "Am I enough?" We try all sorts of things to get that "turning heads" moment, thinking it won't cost us much, just our bodies. "It's just an act, a role, it's not really us," writes Jonalyn Fincher in Ruby Slippers. "We believe we can keep our souls intact...if we only feed ourselves materialism, our souls are left with nothing to grow into...we leave our insides shrunken, flabby, and filthy. We're like headstones at a grave, cleanly chiseled with order and strength, but beneath and within, we are full of dead bones, rotting from the inside out." We focus on the building of our bodies, the perfecting of our earthly bodies through body modification, costly & dangerous surgeries, and expensive splurges on luxurious designer clothes, and neglect our souls. We are like the wasp that George Orwell described:
"I thought of a rather cruel trick I once played on a wasp. He was sucking jam on my plate, and I cut him in half. He paid no attention, merely went on with his meal, while a tiny stream of jam trickled out of his severed esophagus. Only when he tried to fly away did he grasp the dreadful thing that had happened to him. It is the same with modern woman. The thing that has been cut away is her soul."
This chapter in Ruby Slippers resonated with me strongly because I've been there. I know what it feels like to think you're not enough. But here is the truth you need to receive today: You are more than a body. You are more than the sum of your body parts. You are more than what you look like. You are a living soul. God breathed life into you for a greater purpose than to "look a certain way" or "dress a certain way." His plans for your life as a woman, an image-bearer of GOD are beyond what you can ever imagine.

I want to end with the quote that sealed the deal for me and called me to "soul care" rather than an obsession with "body care." 
"Perhaps we need to live as if Christ cared for more than our bodies. What if we lived as if Christ wanted to redeem our souls? What if we paid attention to the insides even half as much as we accessorize our outsides? What if we turned our attention away from the mirrors, away from others' comments, away from over-regard or disregard of our bodies, and began attending to our souls?"
With All My Love,


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