The image that “graces” this blog entry–I hope you see just how bizarre it is–is, apparently, a computer modified (hard to say “enhanced”) image of a model who is already rail-thin. Is this really what they think we should look like??? Look how big her head is compared to her hips!

Yesterday, my former pastor sent me a link to an article that sure is penetrating.

Please note: I do NOT agree with everything in the article–such as the reference to Eve’s having eaten the fruit as “mythical,” so please don’t email me about that. I do, however, feel the author offers some challenging thoughts that I can prayerfully take to the Lord to help to foster a godly evaluation of my own heart.

It connects well (for me) to what lesson 4 in HEAL is about, so I thought it might be helpful to share it with those of you who might want to take the time to read it.

But for many, the prospect of a “good” body comes to function as a kind of “ultimate purpose” that gives their lives personal meaning while connecting them to a much wider cultural devotion to thinness. (Michelle M. Lelwica, Guest Voices, Thin and Salvation)

One of the things that challenged me as I read this is I wonder to what degree I have allowed striving to achieve thinness or, even, wholeness in this area of food, eating and body image to define my purpose in life? Is this a godly thing? Sure, the Lord may have called me to a ministry related to this issue and I have no doubt that he has…but have I allowed striving after this to define my purpose? Or have I allowed Him to define my purpose? There is a subtle, but profound difference.

I spent a few minutes making my own “body beautiful” (well, not quite, but you get the idea…). If I had taken a bit longer to do it right (I have never modified a photo like this before), I could have done the same thing the graphic artist did to the photo of the model to an image of me at my heaviest. This comparison is shown to the left. Is this really what I want to be about?  I could even have plastic surgery to make sure everything looks just so without an image being required or a graphics program. That is where the mindset that I have had can take me if allowed to go to its logical extreme. Boy, this is sobering. I look at the image of the model that Ralph Lauren put on it’s publication and advertisers are convinced that this is what we want, girls! This is sad!

The HEAL book really challenges me in this regard in lesson 4. My body is a temple of God’s presence. He really has esteemed this body that he has created. Do I believe what He says in His Word about my physical body’s value? Do I treat my body, His temple, with respect and esteem, or do I desecrate and demean it with the choices I make? What self-talk do I engage in? What do I say to myself or others about this amazing body that God has made?

Even if I have made choices that have hurt my body, right now is a new moment, a fresh start. I don’t mean like starting a diet. Not a Monday, first-day-of-the month or anything else. I mean literally a fresh start. I can repent, change my mind, my heart, my behavior…allow GOD to give me HIS thoughts, HIS heart, and an ability to will to act differently.

Contrary to what the world says, your body is not just something to be looked at and adorned.  Its purpose is to serve, encourage, and love the people we encounter. Girls, it’s time we discover and reclaim the true, God-given purpose of our bodies. (Smith and Halliday, HEAL, page 79)

So, to what end will I pursue thinness or, even wholeness? Will I allow this to be my “purpose?” Frankly, I want to chase hard after God and only God. If I cling to Him, my purpose will be God-determined and my life God-honoring. I will love Him and people, serving others in a way that infuses my life with joy and meaning! How hollow and superficial striving to fit back into a certain pair of jeans seems in comparison!