Body Image Lies Women Believe: And the Truth of Christ That Sets Them Free by Shelley Hitzt
“In society, beauty is [judged on] a thin line, and while we’re busy trying to balance on that line, we forget that to the only One whose opinion truly matters there is only one definition of beauty. [Jesus] is beautiful. He created “beautiful.” He is the epitome of beauty. If anyone should be judging what we look like, it should be Him. In all fairness, when He looks at us, He should turn away in disgust [because of our flaws]. If I were Him, I wouldn’t want to look at me either – but that’s just the thing; He does. He sees me and despite myself, He does not close His eyes. The Bible declares that we were made in His own image, and that’s not just the cheerleaders; it’s the fat girls, the tall girls, the short girls, the nerds, the girls no guy has ever given a second look. And when He looks at each and every one of us, He does not close His eyes.”
One of the most interesting parts of Body Image Lies Women Believe is the life stories of the many women who contributed to this collection. You can’t help but connect with the writers. So many of their personal experiences mirror our own, suffering in the many ways women do when we accept the body image lies fed to us and believed by us. In each chapter, a person openly shares her pain…telling her story.
While the stories are widely varied, with some suffering disfigurements from either disease or trauma, others suffered because they were vulnerable to nuances of teasing and subtle and not so subtle prodding from loved ones in our lives, acquaintances, classmates and even total strangers. Perception colors our world. Once we’ve received the “message” that we’re somehow unacceptable and flawed, we often believe anything that supports that perception and reject even blatantly obvious truth about ourselves. Have you ever wondered why this is true? The concepts taught in this book will help you figure it out, so that you can apply the principles for yourself. There is hope.
Personally, my demon was my weight. I was, truthfully, a fat baby. I look at pictures of my early baby years and cringe. Think sausage links…plump pink rolls of fat that really never left me at any time of my life. If you just look at my childhood pictures, you’d think I was such a happy little tyke. I probably was for the most part. Even my last name implied that I was a happy, smiling, carefree soul. But I got the message early on. I was larger than most other children. I was taller, bigger boned, heavier, rounder, and definitely not petite. My mother hovered over me, transferring fear that I might hurt someone because I played “rough.” I was tomboyish. I was impulsive. I had three younger brothers. I remember being yelled at constantly to control myself. As a result, I began to internalize the perceptions. I was self-conscious, awkward and uncertain about my social abilities.
No one really knew how I felt about myself, but I can remember being sensitive to teasing, no matter how innocuous. It didn’t matter if the teasing was loving and came from a “loved one” or from not so friendly sources. My perceptions were skewed. As I got older, I became the silent one. I loved learning and music, so I buried myself in books, piano, and instruments. In high school, I was looked on as snobbish, aloof and stand-offish. I hid behind my glasses. I only had a couple of close friends. This continued into college and young adulthood. To be honest, I still struggle a little bit even now.
My perceptions of myself in my growing up years were based on need. I wanted to be loved and accepted. My weight problems were one of the physical aspects of my problem. Deep down I didn’t really believe I was worthy of being loved. This is why the stories in this book resonated with me. Some of their stories could have been mine. Some of their stories could be similar to yours. But the stories are more than just sharing bad experiences. They offer an alternative to believing the lies. The storytellers share with us how their hearts were changed, and they were transformed. They don’t believe the lies any more.
In the final chapter, the author shares step by step how we can overcome our poor self image. I know these steps work, since I have applied them for myself and been successful in overcoming most of my self-image problems the same way the author has shared with her readers. The key is to be persistent; realize that change does not happen overnight. It takes time for our perceptions to be overturned. But it can be done by God’s Grace. I highly recommend this book.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Body and Soul Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
- Eating, Body Image, and the Gospel|Find Your Beauty in Christ (connecttowommin.wordpress.com)