Wednesday, April 05, 2006

all the originals in the house say "Heeyy!" (or a weighty issue, part 2)

Monday night I was talking with my girls about body image, and I shared the story about the time I revealed to Ben how deeply self-conscious I was. I told him that every time I walked into a room, met a group of people, browsed the mall, sat in a waiting room or (insert any other public activity here), I instantly went into comparing-mode.

"Dang. That girl is so beautiful." (jealousy)
"Well at least I have prettier hair than her." (pride)
"But her legs are so long and skinny and beautiful." (envy)
"But I could have teeth like those ones. Ew." (ego-inflating)
"Why did she have to enter? Miss Perfect Body, Perfect Teeth, Perfect Skin, Perfect Purse? Now we all look like sacks of potatoes." (self-loathing)

Ben had a hard time believing that it was this way ALL the time. But I told him, no really honey, it is like this no matter where I go. I'm constantly comparing myself to other women. And it's sinful and it's yucky and it makes me feel awful. But I can't stop.

My girlfriends totally understood. They do the same exact thing. Why??? Why must we constantly compare ourselves to others, why can't we learn to love and accept ourselves just as we are?

Once again, the Word had a word to speak to me today, and it cut straight to my heart. In Galatians 5, Paul is talking about living life on our terms versus living life God's way. He describes the life we have when trying to always be in control, and it is characterized by: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community.

Sound familiar?

And a life lived God's way? A life characterized by good fruit, such as: affection for others; exuberance for life; serenity; focus; compassion; respect for others; loyal friendships and authentic community.

He goes on to finish the chapter like this:

Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with others as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.

Can I get an "AMEN!"? My prayer today is that I will learn to embrace myself as an original, learn to love my body and my self for the unique way it was created, and most of all, that I will let go of the comparison game. Because Galatians is all about freedom, and true freedom as I see it is finding my own worth and the worth of others solely in our relationship to Christ, as holy and beloved children and heirs to the kingdom.

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