Compare and Despair

Anne’s Story

She stood before the bathroom mirror contemplating what she would wear for the day. “I guess I’ll just wear this” she mumbled, as she picks up her oversized hoodie and sweatpants. Anne was not much of a “girly-girl”, as most of her friends were. She never took the time to dress for the occasion and despised wearing the color pink. You could instantly tell that Anne wasn’t one to dress to impress, meanwhile her innermost desire was to have a guy notice her.

Anne heard the doorbell ring as her friends showed up to drive her to school. She frantically gathered all of her school books and shoved them deep down into her worn out backpack. As Anne rushed down the stairs, her mom shouted out, “Bye honey, have a great day!” Anne knew that her mom’s expression “have a great day” just meant “don’t come back home miserable” as she normally would.

Anne, Mary, Lucy, and Abigail headed off to school in Mary’s mom’s minivan. “O-M-G guys, prom is next month!” Mary shouted. “What are we all wearing? I’m thinking we should all find the same dress but different colors, what do you guys think?” All of the girls seemed to be on board with Mary’s idea, except for Anne.

“Anne, what do you think?” Anne responded, “I like that idea but what if I don’t find the same dress in my size?”

“Oh come on Anne, don’t be silly! Of course, there will be a dress in your size. Your not fat Anne; you need to believe that.” Anne sighed, “I know, I just don’t like my stomach. You guys all have flat stomachs and a small waist.” With a frustrated look on her face, Abigal knew she needed to intervene. “Anne, you can’t compare your body with ours, we all have our own faults and insecurities. You just have to accept yourself the way God intended you to look.” Anne looked down as she muttered, “yeah, I guess so.”

Compare and Despair

You can probably guess that Anne’s story was my story.

I was in the ninth grade when I started to compare myself to other girls. Like Anne, my most of my friends were relatively thin with a small waist. Myself, on the other hand, didn’t have the same type of body figure as most of the girls my age did. Although I was small-framed, I thought of myself as the “heaviest” of all my friends.

Up until my senior year, I was never much of an “athlete.” For the majority, my friends were involved in some type of sport or participated in some form of physical activity. Since I wasn’t as active as most of my friends, I would compare myself to others because I felt I was out of shape.

As we begin to compare ourselves to others, we start to form a negative view of ourselves. As a result of our own negative self-image, we begin to see a negative correlation in the way we treat ourselves and others. When we start picking out each and every fault about ourselves, we often forget about the Potter who made us the way that He did.

But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand (Isaiah 64:8).

I believe that our self-image is interconnected with our spirituality. As I’ve matured in my relationship with Jesus, and have an understanding of who I am in Him, I’ve come to the realization that God distributes certain physical characteristics as He chooses.

It’s my responsibility to take care of the body He’s given me, rather than wishing I were someone else. Rather than knocking His beautiful artwork, I am to embrace all He has given me for His own purposes. I’m not saying that we should ignore our insecurities, or become prideful about how we look. However, I do believe that if it were not for my own insecurities about my body,  I would not be able to relate to most women out there who also struggle. Also, I wouldn’t be able to share how the Lord has helped me through those insecurities in order to gain a better perspective of who He is.

Looking closely at ourselves in a mirror, what do we begin to see? Do we see all of those faults and insecurities as our weakness’, or as our strength? Often times when I feel weak and insecure about myself, I often think of Paul who was given a “thorn in his flesh.” Paul was given a thorn, or in other words, something that the enemy could use to buffet him, but instead, he used that thorn as his way of growing closer to God. You see, Paul didn’t allow that thorn to be a threat to his own personal relationship with Christ. Instead, he kept the right perspective about his own personal weakness in order for Christ’s power to rest upon him in the midst of feeling hopeless.

Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:10).


 

Questions to Consider 

When you look at yourself in the mirror, what is the one thing you wish you could change about yourself and why?

Have you taken this “thorn” to God to ask Him to give you the kind of strength Paul has?

It’s amazing how quickly our ways of thinking will change once we allow our own personal struggle to be the bridge to a deeper relationship with Christ. As Paul mentions in the 1 Corinthians 12:9:

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

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