by Andrea Stunz
Volunteer Wives Care Leader
Growing up in Brazil, I was the little girl they propelled through the wrought-iron burglar bars on the windows when a neighbor locked their keys inside. I was small, and I liked it.
Now, I’m not small. But you know what? I love and respect my body more than I ever have. I have lingering issues from sexual abuse and betrayal trauma, but, most days, I can love myself more than I ever imagined. I see my body with gratitude and thank her for carrying me through my years of tears. She consumed too many convenience foods and endured countless sleepless nights. It’s been a brutal ride. My body has definitely kept the score, but she took one for the team. I love her for that! She deserves all the grace.
I’ve been a size ten, and I wasn’t happy about my body. I was a size six, and I wasn’t satisfied. A size zero? Not content. Now at a size eighteen, I’m more confident than ever before.
It has taken a decade of healing to come to terms with how fully Jesus loves me. In that love, I now have the freedom to love myself. I am his child, his beloved daughter. He created me, and he can’t not love me. My body needs some attention, and now that I’m more settled in other areas of my healing, I have the margin for that. For a while, I didn’t; there were other more pressing matters.
Those of us who experience betrayal and/or other sexual wounds have been fed lies about who we are, and many of us have believed them.
Whether spoken to us or perceived by us, many of us have come to believe negative messages about our bodies. In most if not all of us, trauma from addiction and abuse produces a broken identity; our body image is definitely a casualty.
I can’t heal your negative body image, but I can offer a few tips that have helped me.
When thinking negatively about your body, ask yourself these questions and consider your motivation.
In keeping with the 4 C’s for Betrayal Trauma that we learn in our Wives Care Groups, I came up with 4 C’s for Body Image Recovery:
If you are on the path of not accepting your body – you are in for a very long battle – against an enemy you have no power to defeat. Nature, time, biology, fate…
You don’t have the weapons to fight those powers.
Wave the white flag.
It is then that your life will truly begin.
An excerpt from, Wave the White Flag, by Donna Ashworth
I believe negative body image messages are fear-based. We fear not being enough, being too much, not fitting in. We fear not belonging, not being desirable, or not achieving a certain level of success.
Love is the antidote to a negative body image. Perfect love casts out fear. God alone helps us become who he created us to be. Choose the love you are worthy of! You are beloved.
It is my prayer that the words of this song will wash over your beautiful body.
Belovedness, Song by Sarah Kroger
Resources to continue the journey:
Breaking Free from Body Shame, Jess Connelly
Surrender to Love, David G. Benner
The Cure, John Lynch
The 4:8 Principle, Tommy Newberry
The Dream of You, Jo Saxton
Try Softer, Aundi Kolber
The Truth in the Mirror, Karla Downing
Song: Masterpiece, Sandi Patty
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