I find that I have hit a spiritual puzzle that I can’t seem to solve. It’s no secret to anyone who has been reading this blog over a period of time that I have taken up running, which has led to a much healthier lifestyle. That lifestyle, of course, has led to a pretty dramatic weight loss over the past two or three years.
The problem is that I can’t see it. I can feel that my body has more ability than it used to, and I can feel my energy and passion for life are increasing again – I feel like I have a second chance at life when I’m older and wiser and ready to use this chance wisely! But, when I’m out running and someone stares as they drive past, or people make comments at the gym, I feel a little creeped out and it’s hard for me not to respond negatively.
Overall, I’m fine with the fact that I can’t see that my physical appearance has improved. I don’t mind being surprised when I’m confronted with old pictures and the change is actually apparent for a while. The Holy Spirit actually witnessed to me a long time ago that my physical appearance has nothing to do with my value to God, his plans for me, or my ability to contribute to his kingdom. I then settled for a phrase from the Book of Mormon, and modelled myself after the standard of being “plain, but comely.”
No, the real issue is that sense of creepiness because the person talking to me (or staring, which is actually rude and a bit creepy) sees something that I can’t. So the question then becomes what to do about it? I don’t want to lash out at someone or be rude. I also would prefer to not be at a loss about what to say.
Here are the ideas I’ve come up with so far:
- Remember that I am conversing with a fellow child of God. That means that my job/goal is to lift, encourage, and point to Christ as much as possible.
- Take a deep breath and remind myself that the problem is mine. The fact that I can’t see the changes or that any physical ability I have is all that remarkable doesn’t mean the other person is wrong.
- Focus on being an inspiration to other people and use it as an opportunity to reaffirm that following the process really works and that God has been good in providing help for me so I just want to help others.
- If all else fails, be polite and say thank you. Assuming the best in people usually is the right answer.
Any other thoughts out there about living the gospel when you have a body image issue?