I was nearly my full adult height (5’10”) as an 11- year-old, and was terribly conscious of how much I stood out in the crowd (pun intended). It didn’t help that I had exceeded my older sister’s height and weight by the 4th grade (did I mention she is three years older than me?), and because I stood at least a head over all my classmates in middle school, I was very self-conscious about all the things that made me different than everyone else. I also had bigger hips than all my classmates. And I had a big nose. And I wore glasses.
Oh the mess that existed in my middle school head. Eventually, I got contacts and embraced the fact that no diet would shrink my nose. Thankfully, I had a hair stylist who loved me enough to tell me that parting my hair down the middle drew more attention to my schnoz and she recommended the side part. By my shape, I could not come to terms with my shape.
Lunchtime during middle and high school was painful. I would agonize over the fact that everyone else who was skinnier than me ate pizza and french fries and cookies every day, while I nibbled on my whole wheat sandwich and yogurt. I exercised, I learned what foods were low fat and healthy (pretty weird for a middle schooler), but I still had those awful hips.
College wasn’t much better as far as my emotions about my body, and it certainly wasn’t better for the circumference of my rear. I gained the freshman 15 (I blame the ice cream bar that greeted me before I got to the salad bar) and then dropped the sophomore 25, and continued to yo yo through the rest of college. Throughout the course of college, I developed a full love hate relationship with food.
I waffled between turning to food to fill voids of sadness, happiness, and boredom and then denying myself of food to feel a sense of control. I would crave food but as soon as I gave in and ate it, I would feel “insta-regret” that turned into guilt and self-loathing. I felt jealous of my female peers who could eat whatever they wanted and not develop a double chin. I coveted my friend’s bodies.
I knew for years that I had a problem with body image and eating habits, but I justified to myself that this was my plight as a female, and that I would grow out of it. But I didn’t grow out of it. The same thoughts about myself and others have been present as a full-grown adult. I’ve tried diets and joined gyms and stuck with healthy-eating and exercise plans, but I haven’t kicked some of the scripts that have played in my head for years.
And those scripts have seriously affected my relationships with others and with God. And this year, I decided I’d had enough.
A few months ago, I was looking for a new spiritual book, and I came across a book called Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Craving with God, Not Food by Lysa TerKeurst. I read the description and dismissed the book, reminding myself that I was looking for a spiritual book and not one about food. I also told myself that my eating habits and self-image were emotional issues, not spiritual issues. Furthermore, I decided just based on the title and description that it would be just another cheesy Christian book for women that I would hate because if I hate anything, it’s fluffy books written for Christian women.
But after a few more days of ‘feeling sorry for my unemployed self’ over-eating and subsequent self-loathing, I decided cheesy or not, I clearly needed some help. So I found the book the library (I didn’t want to buy it in case it was terrible).
Turns out, the book wasn’t cheesy or fluffy. And it has been rocking my world. The author tackles topics like truly accepting how God made me, self-control and control issues, comparing self to others, filling voids with food and not God… and the list goes on. The book is all about letting God re-write those unhealthy scripts that have been running in my head for years, and about finding my fulfillment in Him. It’s deep and it’s good and it’s hard.
After just a few chapters I bought the book because it’s one of those hilight and refer to often books.
So, if you are a girl who has ever struggled with any of those negative self-image, food guilt, unhealthy comparison scripts, this book might just be as freeing for you as it has been for me. (Guys, I don’t want to leave you out, I know this isn’t just a female issue. The book, however, will address you as a “Jesus girl” at times, so if you’re man enough to be referred to in those terms, I dare you, go for it!)
Thanks, Lysa, for writing this book!
Has anyone else read this book? What were your thoughts?