Monday, October 08, 2007

I'm trying to get it...even in my thirties.

I am thinking 'outloud' again. I often wonder why it is so hard for truth and reality to sink in to my mind and on the flip-side why it seems easy for 'untruths' to sink into my life. Maybe you don't struggle the way I do with so many different issues, but it has sort of hit me between the eyes the past few years.
I personally have found that I literally have to 'speak truth' to myself over and over again in regards to certain things in my life. It makes me frustrated sometimes that I have these struggles. One of the big ones seems to be with body image- my mind vs. reality. Maybe it is more pronounced as I am 'back in highschool' and I see myself in some of the students I pass in the hallways and it brings back memories of my own years growing up and what I thought about myself then and now. I really struggled in school- the tension between wanting to 'fit in' yet never feeling like I belonged. It was a big deal to me for a long time.
The thing that bugs me is how much I find it is still an underlying issue in my life. Does it bother anyone else out in the 'real world' that we put so much emphasis on size/looks in our culture? I'm not saying I have some obsession with my looks and my self-image, but it has hit me that it is even a concern of mine. It bothers me that I have to tell myself that it's okay to be the size I am...that I can accept myself for the size 8 jeans I wear. It bothers me to know that my purchases at the Gap Outlet a week ago were XS shirts and I still look in the mirror and sometimes wish I looked differently.
It bothers me that I don't watch TV; I don't read popular magazines about fashion and 'beauty' nor do I have 'pressure' in my life to live up to some unrealistic expectations like some people do in life. Yet I still have to tell myself that I am okay just the way I am. It's scary to me, I guess, when I look at my kids- especially my 3 girls, and I think of what sort of 'battles' they will face when it comes to their own minds and bodies versus 'reality'. I grew up knowing I was loved and accepted no matter how I looked or how good I did at anything I tried to do. From piano playing to soccer to art to math or anything. I knew I was loved the same regardless of my performances or the outcome. Yet I still struggled with who I was and feel sad to see that our culture still spends so much time, money and focus on this sort of stuff...'convincing' us through advertising and through media and magazines and music. The messages are almost always telling us that we're not 'good enough' unless we have a certain product, wear a certain piece of clothing, weigh a certain weight, drive a certain can get overwhelming!
I have really seen a lot of changes in myself and my happiness and my contentment level the more I line up 'what's real in my life' in accordance with the Truth that I seek to grow and understand in my life everyday. It IS a struggle and a battle, isn't it?
I mean I can't be the only one who feels like I never measure up- no matter if it's in regards to wealth, looks, possesions, success, any number of things. I just know that with each passing day it seems to me that life isn't what the mainstream media is trying to sell me or convince me of. The more I look to God for His plan and truth in life the more I see it is almost always totally opposite of what the world tells me. I know some of you must feel a tension in your own life. I know it's not possible to shield ourselves from the world. But I am learning that it is a choice to meditate and to practice being content with who I am everyday.
One of my favorite meditations is this,
"Do not conform to this world....but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." {Rom. 12:2} It is something I am beginning to be passionate about in my life and in the lives of my kids. I want them to know that they are individuals who are loved and accepted and that there ARE guidelines and certainly expectations in life- but that ultimately who they are and who they become is more a matter of the heart and mind than it is about their bodies and their material possesions. I hope they are somehow able to tune out the pressures and the unrealistic/untrue messages of the world sooner, rather than later.
I am finding life to be too short to get hung up on the things that are out of my control, or that seek to bring me down. There are things I can do to cultivate the best parts of me and the people I love around me. It's not always easy...but I have to believe we are better for caring about our insides first. The more I do that, the more I see things fall into place. Maybe clothing should have shapes or colors on their tags instead of numbers. I don't know, but it seems to me people of all ages and sizes would be happier in the long run. And happiness would spill over into other parts of life. Maybe this post makes no sense. But I feel better about myself just knowing that size and money and things don't determine who I am or who I can become. That thought makes me happy...and that's the truth. =)


Anonymous said...

"You will never really enjoy other people, you will never have stable emotions, you will never lead a life of godly contentment, you will never conquer jealousy and love others as you should until you thank God for making you the way He did." Rev. James Hufstetler

"I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God's thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest, and most precious thing in all my thinking." George MacDonald

Our women's Bible study is going through 'Calm My Anxious Heart' by Linda Dillow and the above are a couple of quotes from the chapter entitled, "Content to be Me." I recommend the book. But, more than any book, I agree that the Bible has the most to offer.

"Is he not your Father, your Creator, who made you and formed you?" Deuteronomy 32:6

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well." Psalm 139:14

I'm about to leave my thirties (just turned 39) and I, too, need to be reminded of all of the daily give thanks for who He is making me (being transformed, after all; not there yet) to be.

Marcie (I can't remember my password for Google, so the above will not get posted if I now try to log in!)

P.S. I love your Blog...I check in pretty much daily. My prayers are with you and your family.

Camille said...

Hi Jody. You've pretty much nailed what myself (and I'm assuming so many others) are feeling or go through off and on. Interesting, I just read Rebecca Sower's blog and her thoughts the other day were similiar. She had some great stuff to say and an amazing video link, check it out!!
Prayers for ya....

Heather said...

Great post! Our pastor talked about this yesturday in his message. As women we are hard on ourselves because we compare to others. We aren't thin enough, pretty enough..whatever..
we just always need to keep in mind..
We are all beautiful because He made us in His eyes..
Gods blessings..
The Red Velvet Cake was to die for!!Wish you were close by, i'd share with was really good!

Lynne said...

I love your style of writing, your openess about what is going on in your life and in your heart. I dont tend to share the really personal stuff - not even really with my those special close people around me. I should do and i try to but find it so difficult. So because of that, a lot of things sit in my heart and in my head and i find the only way to deal with them is to share them with God. I battle with so much of what you spoke about and just so you know that you are not alone in this. In feeling like you dont make the mark - you are not alone. In feeling like you should be different, have more or be in a different place in life - you are not alone. I just wanted to let you know. Thank you for sharing.

the rye family said...

Jody-your timing is perfect again - just what I needed to hear for myself, and for the teen girls I have in Sunday School! :) We are doing a study on modesty/purity, and so much of that can be traced back to being content with who we are! I loved "anonymous" marcie's quotes so much I'm going to use them in class, and buy the book she referenced for myself! Thanks AGAIN Jody, and Marcie!