I have had self-image issues my whole life, some of them physical and some of them mental. This week I will address the physical side, and the next time I post it will be on the mental side.
I was the kid whose parents didn’t really monitor what I watched on television; therefore, I also became one of those kids who loves action movies. In all action movies the hero is physically fit and almost always has some well-defined muscle group (like abs, biceps, or chest). I was also was that kid who wanted to learn Karate (I figured it was a stepping stone to greatness).
The problem was that I liked to sit on my butt and watch these movies on an above regular basis, which lead me to some seriously bad eating habits. I would end up spending most of my youth sitting in front of the television at my grandparents. This worked for them because that meant I was a good, quiet, calm kid.
In being a “good” kid my grandparents would let me eat whatever I wanted. Plus they were very tired and sick most of the time, so they would simply let me choose the fast food restaurant I wanted for dinner. Most of the time it was either McDonalds or Burger King that we would eat from. Also, they kept the fridge fully stocked with Pepsi, orange juice, and water (and frozen hot pockets). Guess which one I went for most of the time.
I don’t blame my grandparents or my parents for my bad habits or my weight. I love them deeply, but how do I love myself when I have taken on the image of the villain in those action movies? How do I accept myself when I have incorporated laziness into my core life function? How do I continue on when I look in the mirror and see exactly what I have done to myself?
How frustrating it is when I develop sores just from my skin rubbing against itself. How frustrating it is when my back aches just from sitting. How frustrating it is when I have to continue to purchase pants that are always going up in size and, are always breaking at the seams just from simple activities.
Jesus said that I need to love God with everything, and that I need to love my neighbor as myself. This to me is a very important concept that we all need to pay attention to. I believe the Lord is in some ways saying that we need to love ourselves in a good and upright manner. I say this because I don’t think I should love others the way I have loved myself in the past. I have indeed loved myself selfishly, lazily, and wickedly. I am pretty sure that isn’t love.
So I am still overweight and still have these bad tendencies to seek out ice-cream, pizza, beer, and the sort (just so I can have them). Yet, today I seek to devote my life, my body, my mind, my soul, my actions, my family, my friends, and those I meet to the Lord who washes us clean from sin. I choose to devote myself to the God of new beginnings, the God of redemption, and repentance. Jesus loves me, and died to save me, and defeated death so that I too may live in his image. Because He Loves me.
Last year at this time I could not run a mile, but today I can run over five. Last year I didn’t see much hope in the mirror, but today I can see transformation. I still go to the gym or run down the street feeling vulnerable and naked but I know the Lord is with me and wants me to not only succeed, but he wants me to live this life to the fullest. He doesn’t want me wasting it away in a slow death like fashion.
He wants me to experience his creation and recognize Him in his work. His creation being everything. The thing is, that our bodies are a part of that creation and he wants us to recognize and experience him through ourselves as well. Indeed we must love him with everything and love our neighbors as ourselves.