Friday, November 13, 2009

Freedom. {from pants. kinda sorta.}

Oh boy, there is just so much going on! How to sum it up in one blog post? It may or may not be impossible. In fact, it probably is, so...I will pick one thing and write about it. I want to write about it, because there are so many women struggling with this, and God is doing a work in my life, that I hope will be used to be a signpost to others that there is freedom and peace to be found in Jesus.

The amazing lady I live with and her friends have a ministry called "Am I Beautiful?" They do a set of four sessions for girls, with worship, teaching, and prayer. Calling it a ministry makes it sound so official...basically they each have their stories of the way Jesus set them free. Yes, set free from body image and self-hatred, but I love that when they talk, those issues are only the beginning. When it comes down to it, these women are full of life and overflowing from being in love with Jesus, and they get to tell younger women about what it's like to live for Jesus and know His freedom.

They did an Am I Beautiful? series at my college last month, and one of my friends got saved!! Is there a way to describe with words how wonderful that is??

Jena and the ladies finished the series at UPS, and then last Tuesday began another one for girls from a local high school. I went to it, and heard Jena's testimony again. It is POWERFUL! She challenged: you are made in the image of God! You can look at the mountains and see God's creation, and be moved to praise Him, but the mountains weren't made in His image! How many times have you looked in the mirror and praised the Lord: "Wow, God! You did a GOOD WORK here!"

So my story is that while I listened to Jena's testimony, I was convicted over something, something I had forgotten, something I hadn't even thought of before: the pants. Those brown ones, sitting in the bottom of my drawer. Let me tell you the story of the pants.

I began struggling with self-hatred at a VERY young ago (think 4). You can look at my school pictures, I was a stick through 2nd grade, because my mom couldn't get me to eat anything; I still don't have revelation of why. A few years ago, what was it -- my 2nd/Junior year of high school -- I began to exercise hard, and started limiting what I ate. I never stopped eating completely, but I most certainly was not just "being healthy." While I physically got thin, I was terrified on the inside. Absolutely terrified. I felt like I was on the edge of the cliff of an eating disorder, and I thought over and over and over again: "What in the world?! How can Anna Peterson be struggling with this?" I felt like I had such a reputation to hold up, and this most certainly was not the way to do it. Terrified really is the word. People tried to reassure me that I was just being healthy, but I just knew that it was more than that.

On the outside, I seemed fine. It made me smile when people told me how tiny I was. I could outrun all the boys at school. And the pants...I went shopping with my sister one day to one of the cutest stores I know of, and on the clearance rack found these brown pants, in a smaller size than I'd ever worn before. After trying them on, I went up to buy them, and I remember my sister looking at them, looking at me in shock, and whispering: "'re a size _??" with concern. I bought them and went on my way.

When I moved to Kansas City, things got better. I stopped restricting what I ate, and generally the Lord brought healing and restoration to every area of my life. Things got better in the physical (glory!), but I still thought about it, and I held myself to standards that were not from the Lord.

This is where the pants come in. Since then I have had more and more breakthrough... Let me just take a moment and say to the ladies: be bold about this! You were not made to meet a standard the world sets; you were made in the image of God, and He did a GOOD work when He made you! You are beautiful. I absolutely recommend practically walking this out. Stand in front of the mirror and praise the Lord, look at yourself and say with your mouth (the power of life and death is in the tongue) that you are beautiful, and perfect just the way you are. It will affect you! Guard your eyes, when you walk past the windows and the mirrors, from sizing yourself up for the 20th time that day. Encourage other women that they are beautiful, tell them their eyes shine, turn the focus off yourself!

So fast forward to Tuesday night...I realized that I have kept those pants in the bottom of my drawer, even though they don't fit anymore. Every time I saw them, I would think: "Well, not today, but maybe some day again..." That was not freedom! The Lord convicted me on Tuesday on this piece of it all...I am not going to be held to that standard! I had to get rid of the pants. As soon as we got home, I ran downstairs, grabbed them and handed them off to Jena. It was so freeing to be able to say "I never need to be that size again ever. Ever. Ever. Ever." I never want to live in that bondage ever again, ever.

Thank you, Jesus! Thank you for FREEDOM! Thank You for freedom. Thank You that you call me lovely. Thank You that You set Your children free. Know the truth, ladies! You are beautiful, created to display the glory of God. You, right now, no matter what size you are, no matter how straight your hair is, no matter how defined your cheek bones are (oh, I know the thoughts) display the glory of God! Live it, because you do. You have a purpose, and the enemy has stood with his foot on your neck for too long, trying to subdue that purpose. You are made to radiate who Jesus is, and who He made you to be shines to glorify Him. Self-hatred has no place in you. No place at all.

You belong to Jesus.

1 comment:

Amy Rachel Peterson said...

Amen, Amen, and Amen!! I think this is one of the things that kicked off the current ihop renewal --
girls being healed of self-hatred :)

Annie-darling, you ARE beautiful. So much so that I'm tempted to model a character after you, how's that?!

And hooray that the pants are GONE. That was the best $10 you ever threw away.

You know how prevalent, how often it is, that the enemy tries this attack on us? I went to ballet class today, where I am the one curvy adult among 12 stick-thin pre-teens, and the teacher kept telling me not to look down to see if I'm doing things right, but to look in the mirror. But I don't WANT to look in the mirror, for reasons that seem obvious to me. I'm frustrated by my lack of muscle, flexibility, balance, and shape. Home again and putting the garbage out on the wet street curb, I have this sudden thought: "I'm pretty good at doing garbage. Not beautiful things like ballet."

The thought was so shocking I was shocked out of thinking it was normal, and I snorted (yes, actually snorted) at the obvious tactical lies Satan tells. It's just, sometimes they aren't as obvious.

Lord Jesus, heal every heart so that the lies become OBVIOUS and snort-at-able, and the truth becomes believable!