The voice starts whispering to me as soon as my feet hit the floor and grows to a thunder as I near my closet door.
“You can’t wear half of the things in here anymore.”
“All of your clothes are too tight.”
“What woman has three different sizes of clothing, hoping that one day she will fit back into her old size? Give it up already. That dress is never going over those hips again.”
As I scrounge for something to wear the voice becomes louder and more sinister.
“You are such a failure.”
“You are so fat.”
“You are disgusting.”
Welcome to the voice of self-hatred. She’s not a pretty voice. This voice is downright nasty. She sneaks in at opportune times and brings with her unwelcomed friends of fear, shame and despair. That’s when the fun really begins.
Over the past few years, I’ve struggled with an endocrine disorder that has left my metabolism in ruins. Mix in a chaotic travel schedule that leaves little room for consistent workouts and you have the perfect cocktail for weight gain. As I watched the number on the scale go up, the taunts grew louder.
I’m sure I’m not alone in my battle against this voice. After all, aren’t we all swimming in the great big ocean of comparison? Speaking of swimming, don’t even get me started on swimsuit season. I’m fully convinced that dressing room mirrors are the gates to hell. Comparing our bodies to others who are younger, tanner, thinner and …well, more perfect than us. Not to mention the battle we face at the supermarket checkout line where perfect bodies are paraded on magazine covers ironically next to the same shelf that holds the Snickers Bars and diet pills.
I smell a conspiracy.
Here’s my dilemma. I don’t want to listen to that voice. I don’t want to become a woman who is consumed with how I look or what size I wear. I want my life to be consumed with Jesus …with His glory…with His matchless beauty. I don’t want to be consumed with me.
But at the same time, I would sure love for my clothes to fit.
Honestly, I have no misconception that I’m going to be the perfect size 2 and wear a bikini. For starters, I’m almost 6 feet tall. I would look like a skeleton at that size and I’m too modest for a bikini. I’m realistic. I just want to be healthy. I would like to fit into my normal clothing. I’d like to know that I am taking care of the body that God gave me. I sure don’t want to become a girl who obsesses over every calorie.
That’s not freedom.
But the voice doesn’t give a rip about all my good intentions. It doesn’t care if I’m a size 2 or 20. All the voice wants to do is to “kill, steal and destroy”—at any size. That’s why a perfectly healthy young woman who weights 130 pounds could hear the same taunts as a woman twice her size.
Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
Behind this voice of self-hatred is the voice of my enemy and yours. The voice of the Father of Lies (John 8:44) who wants us to hate ourselves, who wants us to live in bondage to a number on a scale. Nothing pleases Satan more than the thought that we would be captive to a size rather than captivated by the Glory of God.
Can I get an amen?
You probably know me well enough to know that I’m not going to sit around and let Satan win. After a few weeks of wallowing in shame I’m so sick of myself that I’m ready to fight. Today, I don’t fight the scale. I fight the voice.
The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5
As we stand against the voice of self-hatred we must remember that our enemy has always sought to establish strongholds of lies that hold us in bondage. The mind is the battlefield. The reason we “take our thoughts” captive is so that they do not rule over us or lead us to unhealthy choices. For a woman who struggles with self-hatred, she could be tempted to take harmful measures to lose weight or wallow in shame with a pint of Blue Bell.
What does “taking a thought captive” look like?
I’ve discovered that I can’t control whether or not the voice speaks, but I can control whether or not I listen to it. Rather than engaging in a conversation with a voice of self-hatred, I choose to tune into the Voice of Truth.
Friends, Jesus is the Voice of Truth.
Therefore when the enemy comes assaulting my identity, I must choose to listen to the ONLY ONE WHO HAS THE RIGHT TO DEFINE ME—THE ONE WHO CREATED AND REDEEMED ME! Girls, only Jesus has the right to define my worth and identity and the last time I checked, He is far more concerned with who I am than what size I wear.
Since we can’t stop the other voice from speaking, the only way to “take the thoughts captive” is to change the channel. If I’m driving my car and a song comes on the radio that I don’t like, what do I do? I switch stations. The same is true for my mind. If I am bombarded with the voice of comparison or fear, self-hatred or shame, then I must choose to change the channel.
How do you change the channel of your thoughts?
- Take a walk and confess your fears to Jesus.
- Meditate on scripture, especially ones that speak to your struggles.
- Blast a worship song.
- Tune into a Bible teaching podcast and soak in the truth.
- Speak out loud the ways God has blessed you.
- Think of ways to minister to someone else so that you can take your mind off of yourself.
Guess what? The last thing in the world that Satan wants us to do is focus on Jesus. He would much rather you and I stand in front of a mirror and focus on the size of our love handles. When we shift the focus of our gaze off of self and onto Jesus and onto loving others, our whole world turns right side up!
And here’s the beautiful bonus of changing the channel—freedom! When we choose to take these thoughts captive and redirect our focus off of ourselves and onto Jesus, the shackles of fear and shame lift off of us. We are free! There is freedom and joy in the Presence of God. The only way to win the battle against the voice is to choose to tune into the Voice of Truth.
Marian Jordan Ellis
RGM Founder and President
©Marian Jordan Ellis 2014