Door to Freedom
Body Image,  Eating Disorder Recovery,  Faith,  Shame

My Righteous Anger

In the past 2 days, I’ve spoken with 3 different, BEAUTIFUL, amazing women that I respect and love so deeply. These are women that are beautiful in every sense of the word…. They are strong, they are caring, they are deep, they are funny, they are brilliant, they are light in a dark world, they are a breath of fresh air to me…. and did I mention they are beautiful? Each one of these women that I love so deeply all have different body shapes. They all have different hair color, hair texture, eye color, pant size, weight, health struggle, body type. But they each spoke of the intense pain of living in bodies that aren’t deemed worthy. The question you may ask is deemed worthy by whom? The answer to that question is different for each woman, but each woman could easily identify a person (or persons) in their life that taught them from a young age that their body was not okay. That something was flawed about their body and that because of that flaw their personhood was flawed…. It meant that they were not good enough, that they were not and are not worthy. If only they were a little smaller or handled their food “well” or didn’t have this or that health struggle or looked a little differently, then they would be worthy.
What did I feel rising within me as I listened, and participated, in these conversations of shame?
I’m tired of this culture we live in that constantly sends the message that our value is based on the aesthetics of our bodies. That message is absorbed by pretty much everyone in some way, despite our initial reaction of denial when its brought to our attention. So many people I speak with say they aren’t on the weight loss journey for aesthetic reasons, their health is at stake! So now it’s this health concern or that health concern that has inspired them to lose weight or “get healthy”. But the fact of the matter is that it ALL stems from the diet culture we live in that screams at every corner “YOU AREN’T GOOD ENOUGH!!” That message of worth has crept from culture/media into our minds, into our souls, into our homes, into our families and before you know it, our CHILDREN are conscious that their value is based on their body. Even my 6 month old gets comments from family, friends, and strangers on his little “chubby” self.
Arise, my righteous anger!
The vast majority of us don’t look at our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, our dear friends and think “ya know, if she’d just lose a few, I’d love her a little more”. We don’t say, “if you were a little healthier then I’d love you more”. No, we wouldn’t consciously say that to our dear ones, but we sure say that to ourselves!! Have you ever stopped and actually paid attention to what you say to yourself? I have and let me tell you, I can be real nasty, real quick. I say the worst things anyone could say to someone, ever. (I’m serious here.) All because my gut pokes out or my jeans that fit last year don’t fit anymore! And when I put it that black and white, I think, “seriously?” Listen, I know I have a ton of flaws and we could talk all day about them, but also, I’m not a terrible person and my jean size or gut size shouldn’t have any say in determining my worth as a person. And I have to ask myself, “where does this come from?” Diet culture.
Arise, my righteous anger!
My work as a therapist, an eating disorder therapist, has called me to step into the worst of what diet culture does. It takes a beautiful creation of the Lord and breaks him or her down into nothing based SOLELY on their physical self. It says to that person, “you cannot be worth life and you do not deserve joy and peace if you do not fit a certain ideal”. That ideal is moving or has moved from “thin enough” to “healthy enough”. But there is still some ideal that is decided upon that takes away the essence of humanness and says “you are not okay”. The bottom line of diet culture is that you have to meet some pre-decided ideal to be worthy, to be allowed to love yourself or even accept yourself.
Arise, my righteous anger!
So, why do we participate in this sick twisted culture? I mean, would any human with even a semi-caring heart want to be party to such a twisted message? NO! That’s why there is so much push back when this is brought up- No one really wants to participate in it. So, WHY do we participate in this sick twisted culture? Because we are bombarded. All day, every day. Without even knowing it, we live entrenched and engulfed in a culture that tells us our body is our worth and food is the enemy. I’m sick of it. I don’t say “hate” lightly, but boy do I HATE diet culture! What do I hate even more than diet culture? Diet culture invading faith. Diet culture invading our churches. Diet culture invading our church family and relationships. Diet culture twisting and abusing the Holy Inspired Word of God. Repeatedly I see books, blogs, articles, sermons or just hear conversations where Scripture, SCRIPTURE, is used to justify this socially acceptable shame and prejudice and condemnation. And my blood boils.
Arise, my righteous anger!
Jesus Christ said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV) Diet culture steals. Diet culture kills. Diet culture destroys. As I’ve watched beautiful men, women, and children accept their “worthlessness”, I see Satan use diet culture as one of his greatest weapons. Satan uses diet culture and the preoccupation with weight and shape and health to remove our focus from HIM and put it on shame. Satan uses diet culture as an insidious way for our shame to engulf us and seemingly overcome us. The good news is that Jesus Christ HAS defeated him and there is VICTORY. The verse doesn’t end with what the thief does, the verse keeps going because HE CAME TO GIVE LIFE! And give it to the FULL! Hallelujah there is victory!
BUT we are in a battle, my friends, make no mistake. This is battle. So we have to fight. We can’t passively stand by and watch and “not participate”, we have to get dirty and get angry and get on our knees. So I pray- boldly and heavily and often- that this budding blog becomes a place where Christ shows HIS VICTORY over diet culture. Where grace wins. Where love wins. Where joy is found. Where freedom rings. Where peace settles.

Because Christ would look YOU in the face with the most tender eyes,
He would cup YOUR face in His nail-scarred hands,
He would breathe in the aroma of YOUR hair,
He would wipe YOUR tears away with His robe,
He would kiss YOUR head,
He would tell YOU that no matter what YOUR body looks like or feels like,
no matter what YOUR health is or isn’t,
no matter what YOUR food choices are or aren’t,
no matter how much weight YOU’VE gained or lost,
no matter how YOU’VE lost or gained that weight,
no matter what YOU’VE done to YOUR body,
He found YOU so worthy He died for YOU.