If you’ve read my book, don’t worry. I’m not headed off the deep end, tumbling back into the abysmal nightmare called anorexia. Hear me out.
Recently, I was praying about beauty, American ideals, excess, poverty and screwed up priorities. I didn’t really expect to come to any conclusion or receive new revelation about how I relate to my own physical body. I was praying about how to make a difference in my world, finding an awareness of need all around me and aligning my priorities with those of the Father, basing my observation of the world on the perspective of my Father.
But suddenly, I heard myself pray, “Lord, give me your perspective of beauty.”
It’s not so far fetched, is it—to surrender my ideal body to the hands of the Creator? I’m talking about changing my prayer from, “Lord, help me to see myself as beautiful in your eyes and to accept the body you gave me,” to, “Lord, help me to redefine beauty so I see it in all the places you see it, so that what you consider beautiful is exquisite to me, too.”
I mean, I have to hand it to Him, for the most part I think God’s imagination of beauty is spot on. Think of it—How perfectly beautiful are marshy, tall grasses and red-winged black birds? Who on earth came up with such a lovely idea of prickly, green grass melting into blue skies on the edge of the horizon? Who thought that black clouds stacked high in the atmosphere were marvelous? Even the precision of stripes on a snake’s back are a wonder all their own. Mostly, I agree with God’s standard of beauty, so why do I throw my vote in with the media’s opinion of human female perfection instead of the Creator’s?
Let me explain this one more way. Imagine I built my dream house. It has tall ceilings, a wrap around porch, dozens of windows, sparse decorations and it’s really small. (Who wants a big house to clean?) What if I invited you over–sure that you must agree, my dream house is the ideal house. But you don’t like big porches because there are too many bugs. The house is way too tiny and you think it needs Martha Stewart’s touch? You wouldn’t find my ideal home perfect at all.
So how did we get to the place that we feel we have a right to define an ideal body when God has built each one precisely the way He wants it?
One more try: If I asked a three-year-old to draw the perfect house, there’s a good chance she’ll forget to add windows or some other necessity. Instead of telling her she’s wrong, we assume that with maturity and experience she’ll change her perspective eventually and agree that perfect houses need windows.
Perhaps that’s what it takes—growing up. God has been waiting for me to mature and experience His wisdom so that I can admit, agree with Him that His design, even of me, is perfect.
Perfect Women in Magazines Make Me Feel Ugly, video resource
Moving Forward, by Kimberly Wheeler
The Predatory Lies of Anorexia: A Survivor’s Story, book by Abby Kelly