Learn to Love the Skin You’re In … by Amelia

Another thought-provoking article by a wonderful writer, Amelia, at The Bottom Line:

We can’t change our skin like snakes do; so, learning to be comfortable in our own skin is vital. We have to love ourselves, or else others will find it hard to do it for us. The message about “loving our bodies” is worn out. Yet, people aren’t convinced. Maybe it’s because the message about “skinny being the only sexy,” is louder.

Numerous people struggle to love their bodies—a large percentage of them are teenagers. An article on Huffington Post states, “About 40 percent of 10 and 11-year-old girls in the U.K. want to lose weight. That number rises to 54 percent in 12 and 13-year-old girls and to a stunning 63 percent among 14 and 15-year-olds.” While boys are less concerned about body image, they’re not all exempt.

Finish this post here … 

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An Article to Explain (and warn) your ‘tweens about eating disorders

How many magazines do you have on your bedside table? How many in your backpack? Okay, once you’ve done that homework, I need you to do a bit more investigation. Look at the covers. How many headlines promise to make you more beautiful? How about more popular? I bet at least two of them mention a “get-fit” plan or promise to tell you a little secret about which foods are good and bad for you.

One the surface, there’s nothing wrong with these magazines. The quizzes can be fun to take with a friend. And I’m the first to admit I’ve discovered some cute ways to style my hair. But underneath the glitter and glossy pages, did you know that your magazines are telling you little white lies?

Studies say that more than half of 13-year-old girls in the United States don’t like their bodies. And most admit that they get their ideas about health, fashion and what they should look like from magazines. The pictures of celebrities tell them what they should wear, what will make boys like them and how their bodies should look. But it’s scary what can happen to a girl when she chooses to believe these little lies about her appearance and her value.

When I was fourteen-years-old I began a long battle with anorexia. Never heard of it?

Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder. Someone with anorexia stops eating or severely limits what they eat. They might start to exercise too much and to other things to lose weight. And even when they lose too much weight and are dangerously skinny, they still believe they are too fat.

My battle with anorexia lasted more than 14 years. During that time, I lost a lot of friends who worried about me and didn’t know how to help me. My little sisters were scared that I was going to die. My parents cried and worried all the time because actually being too thin is even more dangerous than being a little too heavy.

My hair started to fall out. I grew lots of little-bitty, soft hairs all over my body. Because I didn’t have any body fat, my body was trying to stay warm. I cried a lot. When your mind doesn’t get enough nutrition, it doesn’t think clearly and many girls with anorexia get depressed, too. I fell asleep in school because my body didn’t have enough energy from food to stay awake. I even passed out a couple times, but I don’t remember it.

My family took really good care of me. When they understood how sick I was, they sent me to a hospital for eating disorders in Arizona. I spent three months there, away from my family and friends. I missed school and church; I even spent my 16th birthday at the hospital. Sometimes, I was so tired and scared and sad that I even wanted to die.

Getting well from anorexia often takes a really long time. It was hard for me to try to gain weight. I was scared that I might get too fat. In fact, even after I got well, I started to worry so much about being fat that I got sick again and had to return to the hospital when I was eighteen.

Jesus is the one who saved my life. Knowing how much He loves me is what gave me the courage to keep trying to get well and helped me make it through the loneliness when I was in the hospital. I read the Bible, not magazines, and learned what Jesus says about my beautiful body that He created.

In Genesis, God tells us that He made us in His own image. How can we not be perfectly wonderful if God made us to look like Him?

In Psalm 139, David writes that our bodies are marvelously made. And, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 reminds us that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. We belong to Him! We need to take care of out bodies the way God wants us to and not worry about the world’s ideas of perfect.

 

This article was first published in ‘Tween Girls and God.

Mirror, Mirror… Am I Ugly?

I admit, it’s sickening and addicting at the same time. “Am I Ugly?”

There’s a new trend in self-loathing: Ask the world, via the internet if you are ugly or fat. 

When I began my battle with anorexia, the conversation resembled Snow White, “Mirror, mirror on the wall…” Believe me, the mirror alone was convincing enough. My own reflection defeated me. It was painful enough to compare myself to my own sisters whom I believed were prettier, smarter, more likable. Imagining the stares of strangers on the street critiquing my body – too thin, too fat, plain, boring, stupid – lies I concocted in my own head replayed like broken records in my mind. It didn’t take a world-wide community to persuade me that I was unlovable and evoke behaviors that nearly killed me.

I did covert jumping jacks in the bathroom after midnight. I counted, tallied, re-counted, calculated, re-counted, looked up and recounted every calorie consumed or burned. The image of my own face seemed burned into my retina every moment I was in public. I imagined what others saw when they looked at me. My emotions swung from suicidal over my failures as a person, to jubilant and haughty that I was thinner or more self-disciplined than those around me.

Enter YouTube. What if you gave nearly everyone on planet earth the opportunity to confirm your private fears? What if 1,200 people thought it was their business to shape your self image. Apparently, a new community has evolved, one where youth, especially those 11-13, invite the world to either affirm them or destroy them.

I don’t know what to make of this. It is disturbing no matter how you look at it. Kids come home at night to hide in their bedrooms with their cellphone cameras, critically slicing and dicing themselves and then splicing the images into videos for world-wide publication. How narcissistic. Why do we believe that everyone cares what we look like?

Or, from the other angle, why do these kids believe they need everyone’s approval? And who are the self-appointed evaluators who believe their looks are superior enough to warrant criticism of another person?

As  much as I would like to sweeten this story by promising all little girls that they are indeed beautiful, I can’t. Obviously all our talk about “beauty being on the inside,” doesn’t really have much impact.

Maybe we need to be reminded that the Bible didn’t tell us anything about Jesus appearance. The only verse that borders on description says, “He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.” Isaiah 53:2

To this day, I’m not convinced that I am beautiful. There was no turning point in my recovery from anorexia when I suddenly saw my internal beauty, or began to admire my eyes, appreciate my hair or be content with my figure. But I can suddenly, almost surprisingly tell you that I FEEL beautiful. Even in the morning, when I am praying and tears streak down my unwashed face and bed-head tresses drape around my ears – I feel beautiful. Somehow, someway – heavier than I have been in 15 years, I FEEL BEAUTIFUL. Oh to share that. Oh that Jesus would present himself to these little ones and express His beauty from their hearts, through their eyes and expressions and ultimately through their words and key strokes. That God would be glorified by the beauty He created in each of them.