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Kudos to author and speaker Margot Starbuck, who not only sent me her book Unsqueezed when I said I wanted to do a review, but also agreed to guest post. Check out her below post! Be sure to offer your comments. That helps us all learn and grow, you know?! Share the post with your friends so they too can enter into the dialogue, not only about body image, but also about the toll it can take on sexual intimacy.
“Body image.” Yuck, yuck, yuck. I just don’t like the phrase body image.
Despite hating the actual phrase, body image is something that I deal with every single day of my life because…I have a body. Yup, it’s true, I do.
It’s not the “body” part as much as the “image” part that trips me up. It’s really no wonder, as a campaign has been orchestrated to cause me to be dissatisfied with my body. No, no, I’m not paranoid. I mean that should I accidentally somehow be satisfied with this body I’ve been given, there are advertisements on television, and in magazines, and on billboards to elicit my dissatisfaction.
Whether it’s the sultry Victoria Secret models or a surgeon on a makeover show who’s circling another woman’s “problem areas” with a red pen, the message I receive is that I’m not really acceptable the way I am. This is because “dissatisfaction” sells lots and lots of stuff—from clothes to make-up to yogurt to diet programs to butt-busting workout videos—and “satisfied” doesn’t sell anything.
One of the (many) problems with the current situation is that while “dissatisfied” is great for retailers, it’s pretty hard on relationships.
When I am dissatisfied with my body, it’s hard to embrace the transforming reality that I am loved deeply by God.
When I am dissatisfied with my body, it’s hard to communicate to my eleven-year-old daughter that her body is good.
It’s a mess, right? Completely. No one’s buying up ad space on facebook that says, “You’re okay just the way you are.”
Being satisfied with your flawed, squishy, dimply body is entirely countercultural.
When I am dissatisfied with my body, it’s hard to receive the appreciation of my body which my husband offers.
It’s also holy.
When you decide to practice gratitude for your visually imperfect body that can walk or taste or hug or splash or kiss, you choose against the enemy’s lies and for the truth of your belovedness.
I warn you, it’s gonna feel funny at first. It’s much easier to buy the lie that we’re too fat, or too thin, or too droopy, or too jiggly. My advice? Fake it ‘til you make it. What that means on the ground is that you begin to behave as if you’re entirely acceptable as you are. Have you noticed other women like this? They carry themselves and speak in such a way that they give no indication that they’re aware of any physical imperfection. (Weirdly, they do this simply by not pointing out their flaws!) As you “fake it”, as you begin to live into the kingdom reality that you are entirely beloved, your heart and mind will slowly be converted.
When you stop making negative comments about your thighs or boobs or butt or neck, you choose for the truth of your inherent acceptability.
When you decide that the body God gave you is good—no matter how much you’d like to change something or other about it—you choose for the truth that you are precious and worthy and beloved.
One of the enemy’s naughty schemes is to trick us into thinking that the way our bodies appear is more important than what they can do. (A recently disabled friend has confided that concern about her “appearance” is pretty far down on her list of priorities right now!) If your body can reach out to touch your husband, or kiss him, or massage him, or hold him, you have been given a good gift indeed.
Beloved friends, the enemy of your soul delights in your dissatisfaction with your body. He wants to keep your eyes turned in on yourself instead of being liberated to look with love upon another. You thwart that evil plan as you agree with the truth of your belovedness, “I am entirely accepted in Jesus Christ. Even my thighs.”
Post Script: Okay readers, I am completely aware that living into the truth is easier said than done. It’s much harder than cowering under the accusations of the enemy. Tell us how you live this out on the ground. In your relationship with your husband, are their practical ways that you deal with lingering body-dissatisfaction so that you can be present to him?
Copyright 2010, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.