This post is by Jill Miller.
Growing up, I never paid much attention to my body or my looks. I was an athlete, and I was pretty confident for the most part.
As I ventured into college, that changed. I became so aware of what I looked like in comparison to every other girl around me. I started to try harder to be something I definitely wasn’t, and I lost some of myself along the way.
Into adulthood, that got worse as I started having babies. I’m not naturally one of those people who can eat whatever or have 100 babies and remain skinny, so I gained a lot of weight with my pregnancies, and that weight did not come off easily.
I remained optimistic, but I had this sinister soundtrack running in the back of my mind almost constantly. It was negative and self-loathing, and it changed the way I acted, the clothes I wore, my preferences, and my willingness to get involved in certain activities. As I began speaking on stage and running a business, it was a daily fight to overcome the lies that ran on repeat in my head.
“You’re not cute enough to pull this off.”
“You’ll never get far looking like you do.”
“People won’t like you as much if your social media doesn’t look like hers.”
“Your husband probably doesn’t want to see you naked.”
Sadly, the list goes on. It wasn’t how I looked on the outside that held me in bondage as much as it was those thoughts - those lies. Those lies held me captive.
Enter a wise and Godly nutritionist. I met her through a conference we both attended, and it didn’t take long before we were sharing business ideas and doing what we could to help each other. I quickly realized that her knowledge of nutrition and her love for God were just what I needed to silence my mental beat down and reignite my self-confidence.
The journey she took me on shocked me. It was a deep dive into who I was. Not who I said or thought I was, but who God said I was and who He created me to be. I realized the nasty soundtrack running on repeat in my mind was the enemy weaving a net around me, binding me, trapping me, preventing me from ever living out all that I was created to be for the Kingdom. That realization shocked me and opened my eyes to the ground in my own heart that I had given up to the enemy.
It wasn’t about my looks - that was just the catalyst. The enemy used that cultural stigma to give it relevance in my mind, and then he laid stake on what he really wanted - my heart.
This is why 2 Corinthians 10:5 states:
“We demolish arguments and every pretense that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Take every thought captive. Why? Because our thoughts eventually take root in our hearts. And my thoughts - my toxic soundtrack - had worn some deep tracks in my heart. So deep, they had changed me. The fire and confidence I was born with, that was gifted to me by my Heavenly Father to advance His Kingdom, had been hushed by an enemy.
I wish I could say it was easy once I realized my negative thought patterns were the key to rising up, but that wouldn’t be true. The truth is I have to remind myself of His Truths every single day, multiple times a day. My realization isn’t enough to cause the enemy to give up his pursuit, but God’s truth is. So I nestle into that, I repeat it, and I cling to it.
If you’re struggling with your own body image, know you’re not alone. Our world is filled with instant images that have been photoshopped and filtered, and it’s diluted the standards we have for ourselves. Remember: you are God’s creation, and your confidence and security lie solely in Him. Cling to Him. Fill your mind and heart with Him over and over again. He will restore your confidence and fill you with His love and worthiness. The strength you need to eject that soundtrack and replace it with one of affirmation comes only from Him.
Jill Miller is a writer, speaker, and passionate educator advocate. She is the co-owner of Teacher, Be Still, a company dedicated to providing encouragement and inspiration to educators as they make their spiritual, physical, and mental health a priority. Jill and her husband John, have lived a colorful life filled with debilitating obstacles and heartbreak, and many sweet victories. Because of this, she loves being transparent in her writing and speaking as the grace of God is so evident in the many victories He’s brought them to. Jill is a mom to four in a wild blended family, and their family lives in the Fort Worth area.
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