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Vanity or Understandable Self-Esteem and Body Image Issues When Chronically Ill?

Posted Oct 01 2010 11:15am

womans 50s Vanity or Understandable Self Esteem and Body Image Issues When Chronically Ill? Who out there has something they would like to conceal? Highlight? Tone? We are in a constant battle with ourselves as we look at the magazines and then read 1 Samuel 16:7 – “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Obviously, we can put too much “weight” (the irony, huh?) on trying to look gorgeous and constantly feel like we don’t measure up. But is it a bad thing to want to go get a little trim on our hair or wash some of that gray out so at least part of our body doesn’t feel older than it is? No, I don’t think so. Remember, our body is God’s temple. Surely He understands if our temple needs a little dusting or fresh wallpaper now and then, right?

One woman who I believe has been very inspiring as well as vulnerable in her spiritual and weight issues is Mandissa. You can see Mandissa’s clip from being on the Today Show here as she talks about self-esteem .

Over in the »”>Rest Ministries Sunroom, there is a discussion on this hot topic. One woman shares:

Since I have become so stressed out from the headaches, eye pain, etc., I have noticed these huge bags under my eyes. It’s just one more thing for me to be depressed about. I feel so ugly and don’t want anyone to see me. I feel like I am not pretty anymore and feel so ashamed. I know my husband loves me no matter what I look like but it still bothers me so much. I feel like a freak! I was just wondering if anyone else has experienced physical problems like this and how do you deal with it. I look in the mirror and see an old hag (I’m 34) looking back at me. Is it foolish to care about this stuff?

Nah, it’s not foolish. My suggestion would be to ask yourself what you can control and what you cannot control? For example, if we choose to not shower for a week and can barely get a comb through our hair, then this can lead to not only and increased risk of infection, but also depression. On the other hand, if you are eating the best you can but continue to gain weight due to medications then you may need to plan some long-term goals but not get too caught up in the short term weight gain. (I’m telling myself this right now…)

One woman responded:

I believe that when you begin to feel better physically, your self esteem will improve and you will begin to see yourself as beautiful again. Personally, I’m much older than you but this illness has still taken a toll on my face! Even at my age (59) I still care about how I look! I love the Song of Solomon where God tells us how beautiful we are to Him. “You are beautiful, My beloved, you have dove’s eyes.” (Song of Solomon 1:15) Tell yourself that each morning when you look in the mirror!

I’ve started making videos for Rest Ministries and this is a huge step for me. Why? Because I have hidden from the camera for about 3 years. Let me tell you a little story.

In 2003 I was at my highest weight and feeling miserable from all the prednisone. I went on the lo-carb diet and didn’t eat more than 20 carbs for nearly 2 years, but lost 80 pounds. Even my doctors couldn’t believe it worked, but I truly stuck to it. Like an alcoholic, I knew if I ate 1 fry, 1 piece of candy, it was “all over.” I was at my healthiest weight and feeling so much better physically. Then I had wrist surgery. . . and someone brought breadsticks. . . with garlic butter. Everyone said, “Just eat 1!” Well, between that one breadstick and increased prednisone again due to extreme flares, that set me back on the weight gain. Now I am back where I was before. And miserable. But even my rheumatologist said, “Until you can get on other meds and off some of the prednisone, it’s an uphill battle.”

So, I primp, do my hair, put on some makeup and do the videos. I am what I am . Am I pleased with my appearance? No. Am I trying to both accept it and change it at the same time? Yes. Matthew 7:20 says, “Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” I hope that you will “recognize me” due to the spirit of the Lord within me. not because I am thin or have cute feet (which I will never have either.)

Proverbs 31:30 reminds us “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting: but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” I think many of us here are not spending more time on our hair then in fellowship with God. If your beauty regime takes longer than the amount of time you are spending in the Word, you may want to rethink your devotion time. And there is nothing wrong with listening to some praise music while you are flat-ironing that hair either.

Okay, need a laugh? Christian comedian Anita Renfroe has done a video that is a knock off of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” called “ Wrinkled Ladies .” If you are reading this in your email and the video does not appear, be sure to click on the link so as not miss it as we all need a giggle!

So, here is my challenge to you! Will you share with us in the comments what your biggest beauty hurdle has been? And if you’ve “gotten over focusing on it” what did you do?


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