To say I’ve always struggled with body image would be an understatement.
I hit my first awkward chubby phase as a child when I was around 8 years old. Coupled with a horrible haircut I got because of a lice outbreak, I was the butt of a lot of jokes. Being called a tub of lard, being told I looked like a boy, it really distorted my view of value and beauty at such an impressionable age.
It was the first time I can remember that I started to feel self-conscious of my looks. The first time I started associating value and worth with my outside appearance.
Plagued with this lie - which is subtly reinforced daily in the typical types of media we consume - I began to try to “cheat” my way to value through using laxatives to purge. To try and shrink the amount of space I took up.
I had whole-heartedly bought into society’s messages that my body shape determined my worth. And I chased fad diet after fad diet trying to earn that worth through the scale.
The trouble with this is that no matter how small I got, I never reached that place of feeling good enough.
Because the truth is … that message is a lie. And it leads down a path of constant unfulfillment and self deprecation. Doing things out of disdain for ourselves rather than out of honour and thankfulness for the gift God’s given us.
Instead of worrying about how LITTLE space our bodies should take up, we should be concerned about how BIG of a space our impact is taking up in this broken world. Because we have been called to IMPACT.
I’ve spent the last few years re-learning how to treat my body based on truth.
Truth that my value comes from Christ alone.
Truth that in order to walk more fully in His plans and purpose for me I need a healthy vessel - body and mind.
Truth that I need to look upwards and not outwards for messages about who I am meant to be.
But even with this head knowledge of truth, I still struggle.
I mean, I thought I had it all figured out. While my body was a size I could “deal” with.
But my body has changed with bipolar meds and changing doses. I’m twenty pounds heavier and a dress size larger. It’s pushing the boundaries of what old, lied-to Carla can “deal” with.
So once again I find myself challenged. Stuck in a place of tension between what the world tells me and what God tells me.
Challenged to believe that my value hasn’t changed because my weight has increased.
Challenged to believe that I can still have purpose in supporting women to live their healthiest life even though my body shape has changed.
Challenged to believe that I am allowed to have a voice in this arena.
Challenged to get my eyes off my body and onto my impact.
Because God has called me to impact. To impact the lives of women for kingdom purpose.
So I’m not going to stop affirming God’s word over my life.
I’m not going to stop reaching out to women and offering them love and support on this difficult journey.
I’m not going to stop speaking up about the importance of total person wellness.
And I’m not going to stop laying my ego, my hurts, my challenges at the throne of Christ and surrender to his will.
Ladies. Friends. Babes.
We are meant to take up a whole lot of space as we bring love and light and hope to this world. We are meant to take up a whole lot of space in the relationships we create. We are meant to take up a whole lot of space in living a life of joy and purpose.
So let’s stop looking at ways we can shrink, and instead focus on the ways we can grow.
We are worth it.