You are Only Flesh {The Lie that Destroys}

My heart knew the believed-lie as the question fell out of her mouth:

"Which shoes should I wear? Which shoes make me look prettier?"

My eyes softened, heart slightly slumped, and she crawled into my lap.

"Want to know what I think? I think that the shoes that are most comfortable and fit you best are the shoes you should wear. I think you should wear the ones YOU like."

"But, which ones make me look prettier?"

"Sweet girl. You are the most beautiful girl, even in bare foot and ragged clothes. You are perfectly made. You are smart. You are lovely and you are kind. I love you no matter what. Shoes don't make you pretty. You already are, from your heart."

She smiled. She put her comfortable shoes back on. We went through our day, full of adventures.

It began raining. She refused to wear her pink polka-dot jacket. She was certain that it looked ugly on her.

Who told her this? Who pointed out the difference between pretty and ugly and who gave her this horrible standard of beauty? Who has fed her this lie? Who has driven her to the devastating belief that she sees as fact: that she is made beautiful by the things she wears. I was a mixture of enraged and broken to sadness. My heart was shattered to pieces as I continuously reminded her that she was smart, she was fun, she was loved by Jesus. She was worth more than she knew.

I told her time and time again that she is more than what she wore.

Princess Ari

Princess in the garden

Oh society. What have we done? Is there a way to unlearn this, to undo the lie that we so deeply believe as fact? To root out the horrific mindset that we have engrained so deeply within ourselves? So deeply rooted, that we pass it along to many. The mindset that says we are only what we appear? All we are is in the flesh that you lay your eyes on, and that is our only value? So, if my flesh appears ragged, old, wrinkly, sunken, thick and real...I am ugly? I am worthless? I am without value? But if somehow I can fit in a size 0 and my legs have a gap at the top where my legs meet my hips..and if [I don't eat so that] my stomach doesn't have a hint of pouch at the bottom..and if [I work out my body to the grave, so that] I can LOOK like the standards of this impossible figure..THEN I am worth while? Then I am seen as pretty? Then I am of value? Then I am...human. Then I am actually better as those stated above {wrinkly and such}.

What have we done to ourselves? What have we done to our loved ones and friends?

My goodness. Some of the absolutely most beautiful humans I have had the HONOR of knowing are wrinkly. Are sunken and in wheel chairs. Are, by this society's standards, "worthless." My heart..its broken.

My heart slumps every time a friend complains of her body. Pinches herself. Degrades herself. Holds back food from herself. I was once way too good at this. I fed myself the garbage belief that I must be a size 0-2 forever -- which I outgrew in the 2nd grade. I couldn't fit in my sisters clothes in 3rd grade, and she was 6 years older than me. At that point, I believed the lie. The lie that I am worth less. I am ugly. I am fat. I am nothing but pure ugly fat chubby worthlessness. The lie grew as I fed it, as the media fed it, as my high school boyfriend fed it:

  • My arms too fat.
  • My legs have no gap. In fact, they rub. You know what we call that? Chub rub.
  • Me toes and fingers too big and short. Stumpy. You know what I was called? Sausage Polish Dog Fingers.
  • My face too round. Forehead is now a five-head.
  • My toes too fat. Too wide.
  • My mid section not flat.
  • I'm too short. I'm round.

The beauty of looking at that list now, is that I don't believe those things. I don't cry when I hear a joke. I don't look at magazines and Victoria's Secret ads and weep and throw up and starve and run a million miles. Only to look in the mirror and see no change. No. I look at it and I am thankful to be free of those standards. I am thankful to not even care enough to obsess over what I eat - do you know how much work and energy that takes?

About a year ago I was asked this curious question:

"Do you ever worry about your weight and size?"

Praise Jesus. I had been set free from that constant battle. I was able to say, "No. I have a lot of other things to worry about...like serving people and bringing the Truth of Jesus Christ. I can't focus on my body."

Ladies, you are so much more than flesh. You are so much more than skin and bones and muscles, or lack of. You are valuable and perfectly made in the image of a God who loves you more than you could dare to dream. You. Are. More.

The last thing I want to do is get back into the habit of staring at myself in the mirror. Staring and being displeased and focusing so much on this lie, that I am distracted from my calling as a follower of Jesus. My calling to love those around me, to serve my neighbors, and to pour my heart out in grace. Distracted from my calling and instead turning to self-centeredness. I pray for ways to be so confident in Jesus' love for me, that when I have little girls watching me {which, I already do! they're just not mine} they will know that they are more than flesh. That they can reject the lie that is pushed on them from all angles, because their Mommy lives in such freedom from that and they are confident in her confidence.

Proverbs 31:25 She is clothed with strength and dignity,and she laughs without fear of the future.

Will you join me in reclaiming what is true beauty? Will you discipline yourself to find and seek true beauty, not falling for the lie of this world? We must do this together! You are more than flesh, and you have a story to tell. You aren't just what people see - you are more. So rock the skin God gave you and live and love in radical ways. Ways that go beyond the flesh.

Oh Jesus, make us aware of the lies we are bound by. Bring us to our knees in repentance of worship and idolizing bodies and flesh. Purify our hearts and cleanse us clean. Give us your eyes for ourselves. Make us aware of the beauty You behold when You gaze upon us. Give us pure hearts, searching for YOU, seeking YOU, and not ways to glorify our self. Let us pride you and only you. Jesus, you are the ultimate Freer of all chains. Free us today.

Amen.

We are more than flesh.

 

Psalm 139:13-15, 17-18 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my bodyand knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them;they outnumber the grains of sand!And when I wake up,you are still with me!