A reoccurring topic of discussion among my girlfriends and in media is one that I am quite familiar with. Talking about body image as Fall approaches may seem ill timed, but it is a 365 days a year problem for so many women, and men! It was a serious, clinical struggle for 7 years of my life that left hard to manage health conditions. When walking through the war between flesh and sprit over an eating disorder I realized that my poor body image was not just unhealthy physically and emotionally, but in fact had become an idol.
That realization shattered my heart. Putting something before God was never my intention, nor had I ever realized that is exactly what I was doing until the Holy Spirit revealed it to me. We live in a society that idolizes our bodies. The answer is not a certain number, whether on the scale or on the tag of your jeans. It has nothing to do with body type, trends, friends, or a significant other. There are three roots that need to be addressed if anyone ever hopes to walk away not from just this idol but possibly others as well. Over the next three weeks, I will be publishing blogs on the subtopics driving the American monster of poor body image. May they be an encouragement to your heart and help to you as you may be walking through your own poor body image battle. Let’s grab a shovel, and together uproot what has caused this to take hold in your life!
Lessons from death: do things that matter
There have been many things that my Papaw taught me, but the most important was not through any words he imparted his last days. His character has impacted me for life, and I hope that his same spirit carries on through me. What I realized in his last days had nothing to do with him actually. Instead, it had everything to do with me and the condition of my heart.
Arriving on a Wednesday with only bad news, it was discontenting to still be waiting as the weekend had arrived. In his final days, all I could think about was all the work I should/could be getting done and all the things I was missing out on that weekend. Selfishness at its rawest, yet I could not stop. Thoughts of unfinished tasks, responsibilities I had put on hold, and relationships back home had taken control. Absolutely sickened with myself I prayed that my attitude and priorities would shift, yet there was no avail until the night before my grandfather passed away.
Just after everyone left for the evening, nature let loose. Thunderstorms and tornado warnings had the nurses and I scrambling to move my grandfather to a safer place, keep his oxygen hooked up, and prepare for the worst. All while laughing, because honestly the situation was absolutely hysterical. In-between rearranging the furniture to move his bed around or changing oxygen tanks, I had a great conversation with a high school volunteer nurse. I asked him why he volunteered, sacrificing his weekends to serve the dying for no compensation what-so-ever. He shared with me the passing of his grandmother when he was younger and regretting having not spend time with her. “I wish that I would have put the toys down and just sat with her.” He knew my situation in that I had a million things on my plate, and it was driving me crazy to continue to put it all on hold as he assured me that I would not regret this time.
Once the storms died down, and we were all settled back in place, I began to sing to my Papaw. Any and every worship song I could think of. He came back for what would be his last conscious moment and did his best to squeeze my hand back as I held his. He smiled and cried as I sang to him. Those hours are ones that I would not trade for any for anything on this earth. If I had gone home, completed all of my tasks and done what I was “suppose to do” I would have missed out on those priceless moments. I could have ministered to a lot of people back home, but I can’t think of anything more humbling than ministering to the dying, especially when that person is your own grandfather. Those are the things that matter most in life.
Work and accomplishing things is important, but not nearly important as people. We were not made to work our lives away. Looking back on my life, those are things I will remember, not the emails I replied to, meetings I held or attending, and people I had coffee with. It has altered my perspective even more so to live for the things that matter, rather than the things I might be applauded for. Humble pie is not appetizing, and may taste awful, but it is essential for one’s overall health. It is never one’s favorite, requested, or expected desert but I am thankful that it was the last one my Papaw would serve me. He would not want it any other way than to leave me with a high impacting life/spiritual lesson that can be summarized in these last few points.
Be where you are when you are there, and experience life/people more than social media. When you are working give it your all, so when you should be spending time with others you can do so with a clear conscious. Stop to do the simple things for the children in your life. Show up to games, pick them up from the bus, watch the stupid video for the 100'th time. Your accomplishments do nothing for their childhood or your part in it. Bottom line, do more things that matter.