As in all of life, some weeks are more difficult than others. There are moments when the storm we are in looks big, wild and scary, and moments when it seems more manageable, when we are able to stand unafraid.
When the wind is fierce and the waves loom large, I find myself praying for a big release, hoping for someone to say the exact words that would be the waterfall of freedom. I look for the “right” bible verse, for the “right” piece of wisdom, in the hopes that relief from body image struggles, or any struggles can be found in a simple moment.
But God is a God of process, and as I sat at my kitchen table drinking LaCroix with a friend, I realized that I needed to do exactly what I didn’t want to, the process He designed from the beginning:
I needed to confess.
I needed to tell someone else that I’ve been stuck, been spinning. That I’ve been silently sinning in my body image conflict, walking deeper and deeper into a cave of confusion.
I needed to confess and bring the light in, let it shine through the darkness, and repent.
A couple months ago I listened to a great podcast, where Ashley Lemieux of the Shine Project spoke about the need to learn how to get unstuck from hard situations or circumstances, and how to stand up when we feel knocked down.
In my own life, often that means to 1) recognize when I am in a trap of the enemy’s and 2) learn how to fight back.
The details are different based on the situation and circumstance, but the general pattern is always there. First, I have a wake-up moment: honestly looking in a mirror and asking the Lord to highlight where I haven’t been honoring him in my attitude and behavior. I let my eyes open to the downward spiral of body-shame, self-obsession, and frustration, acknowledging the hold it’s had over my mind.
But it can’t end there. That is a good start, but it’s not where I want to stay.
I confess, and then I repent. I fight back.
In the podcast, Ashley spoke of the need to stop, physically stop what we are doing, and change position. So when I am sitting in the middle of a storm of body image stress, caught wondering over and over why I don’t weigh less or look different, I need to physically change position to shake myself out of it. So I stand up, tall. I change my stance.
Then I proclaim, out loud, that I will not be ruled by this. That I will not be pulled into the swell of body image and comparison, that I repent for my sins, that my body was made by God. That I am healthy and beautiful. That I am loved and desired.
I speak the truth to God, to myself, and in the face of the enemy. And then when I have the opportunity, I find someone who I trust and who I know loves me, and I confess to them, too. I tell them the whole truth, bringing light and freedom into a place that previously had me trapped.
I confess, and I repent.
It’s so easy for me to get caught in a worldly mindset, to assume that I can walk down this path of body image battles without spiritual consequence. When I confess and repent, I am acknowledging my shortcomings, which is exactly what the enemy doesn’t want me to do. When I confess and repent, I win the short battle, in the confidence that Jesus has already won the long one.
People often describe repentance as a changing of course, and that is exactly what I have learned the truth of it is. We wake up and stop moving in the direction we have been, moved to action by His Spirit. Then by the Grace of God, we walk a different way.