37 In Body Image/ Health

To The Girl Who Hates Her Legs (or anything about herself)

 

There are three parts of my body I always find myself wishing looked different: my thighs, the back of my arms, and my hands.

I do this weird, awful, sickening thing and I want to share it with you because maybe, just maybe, you ride the same dang struggle bus that I tend to board each morning.

Last week, I looked over at the dainty hands of a woman sitting next to me on the plane and legitimately thought to myself, “If I had hands like that, I would never have to hide these little sausages in pictures ever again.”

Weird, right?! Hold on, it gets weirder. I looked at my own hands, started tugging at the ‘fat’ on my fingers, envisioning what it would be like to have more slender fingers. I even began to imagine her hands on my wrists. I looked at her long, slender fingers and then squinted one eye, cocked my head to the side, attempting to visualize my hands with those same dainty fingers.

Unfortunately, I hate to admit that that’s only one out of a million times this month I’ve thought and done something like that.

On Saturday, I grabbed my towel and made my way down to the pool at our apartment. I had been working at my desk all morning while my husband was out of town and needed a little bit of a breather. Sadly, I didn’t breathe at all. I didn’t expect to see so many people. The pool typically isn’t busy but on a Saturday afternoon at 92 degrees in Arizona, I guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised.

I looked around, flexed my abs, sucked in my gut, and covered the tiny stretch marks on the top of my thighs with my soft cotton towel as I analyzed the innocent women in the pool. It went something like this, “Ugh, her legs are thinner than mine…. Oh, and so are hers!” and “I think her legs are thicker than mine. Phew. At least I don’t have the biggest legs here.” (thanks to ComparedtoWho for the inspiration here).

I know, it’s awful. But I have to be honest and say that I do it, too. I catch myself doing it at church (shame on me, right?), on the stinking internet as I scroll (aka creep), at the grocery store, and it’s even happened when I’m about to take the stage and speak to hundreds of girls.

Ick. Ew. Ugh. Pathetic.

I have so many girls email me about their struggle with body image asking for advice. Recently, I received a message that read, “How can I learn to see myself as God sees me?”

Most of the time I just want to reply, “Girl, me too. I don’t have a solution.”

Like you, I fail to see myself as God sees me sometimes (okay, real talk: most times). Either I think far too highly of myself or far too little of myself and honestly, both are wrong.

It’s as if I’m trying to find a solution to just how I measure up.The math just doesn’t work.

But even when I have all intentions to build community and to let myself breathe in God’s grace, comparison creeps up at the most inconvenient moments and then I divide and suffocate myself into a space of complete isolation, feeling trapped in my own head.

Maybe you don’t struggle with body image but maybe you isolate yourself by comparing your work to other women, or your family, or your style, or a combination of all of the above. Maybe you look at others and think…

“More Successful/Less Successful”, “Prettier Instagram Feed/Uglier Instagram Feed”, or maybe even, “Better Christian/Worse Christian.”

We all do it in some capacity. We know that. I think I’ve actually done all three of those, multiple times, on multiple occasions.

Maybe you’ve heard phrases like, “Jesus loves your hot mess” or “Comparison is the thief of joy.” You maybe you’ve been told that you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139) and really love the idea but have a really stinking hard time believing it.

So if you’re one of my many sister-friends out there that struggles with  seeing yourself as God sees you, I don’t have a perfect solution for the problem but I am learning something important and I want to pass it on to you:

1. We know that it’s normal to compare. It’s normal to dislike something about our bodies or lives. But just because it’s normal doesn’t mean that it’s good.

You know, a few weeks ago, I grabbed a cotton ball and rubbed off my old toenail polish. As the paint faded to a light pink, I noticed something weird peeking through. I scrubbed harder, wearing away the last of the polish, and gasped.

What in the world?!

Do you want to know what I discovered beneath that chipped layer of red paint?

To be honest, you probably don’t but I’m going to tell you anyway because I don’t believe in hiding real life and it’s important.

Hiding beneath that nail polish was an absolutely disgusting infection. My toenail had turned a greenish color (and so did my face when I saw it!).

I sat on my bathroom floor and just stared at my green big toe for ten minutes contemplating how to fix it. I reached for the Google machine (aka my iPhone) on my countertop and searched all the remedies in the book…or internet — same thing. Anyway, I learned that my toenail infection was pretty normal and that I could treat it at home.

Phew!

However, I needed to treat it quickly or it could destroy the entire nail bed, leaving me without a toenail for the rest of my life. I had to cut back the nail as short as possible and then drop the liquid medicine beneath the surface of the nail into the nail bed so that it could work it’s magic on the infection. I’ll spare you the details but I’m happy to say that my toe’s treatment is going strong and we’re on the fast track to recovery. 😉

I know it’s gross but I think it so accurately illustrates the way my heart looks – pretty and painted on the outside but so often infected with comparison and jealousy on the inside.

When I think about what others may see on the outside, it would be safe to assume they see a girl who exercises regularly, speaks on stages, travels to cool places, and managed to get married in her twenties.

Great. That stuff’s about as good as chipped nail polish.

It covers up the rotten stuff inside of me… the heart that secretly celebrates when I feel like I look better than someone else but immediately grows sour when it sees someone with a better posture and prettier hands. The paint that covers my life does a nice job of hiding an infection…the infection that’s normal but definitely not good. An infection that’s normal but needs to be tended to and treated properly – before it damages the whole heart from the inside out.

2. We won’t ever see ourselves as God sees us by throwing inspiring quotes, feel good messages, or diet plans on the problem. We see ourselves as God sees us when  we stop looking so dang hard at ourselves and start looking at Jesus more.

We see ourselves as God sees us when we stop looking at ourselves so much & start looking… Click To Tweet

One study done in the UK found that on average, women look in the mirror eight times each day. If that’s true, then how much more do we need to be looking at Jesus. I’d say at LEAST nine times a day, right? But do we?

Because beneath the surface, on our own, we are full of jealousy and all sorts of other icky things that infects our heart (Jeremiah 17:9) — just like my toenail was. So then, we have to get beneath the surface and treat not just the feelings the infection brings with feel good remedies but actually give our heart what it needs: it needs to look at who God is in us, not who we are on our own.

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 tells us that if we are in Christ, we are a new creation.

The old has gone, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17)

This isn’t something that will happen when we finally stop comparing or read enough Bible verses to get through one day without tugging at our cellulite or envisioning someone else’s traits as our own. It’s something that has happened the moment we step into life with Christ and it’s not something that can be undone because through the One who was without sin or flaw, God was able to make us the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). From God’s perspective, when He sees us, He sees the perfection of Jesus. So then, we’ve gotta spend less time gawking over how much over God loves our mess but instead how much He loves us BECAUSE He sees Jesus’ perfect righteousness in place of our mess. He doesn’t love the mess. He loves the redeemed girl beneath that mess because He loves the Messiah who we have access to that same love through.

So, no, I haven’t defeated my struggle with body image or comparison or all that ugly stuff. I’m not sure you ever fully do on this side of heaven because sin and selfishness are real things. But maybe that’s not what it’s about. Maybe it’s not about winning or defeating anything because that’s already been done on the cross. Maybe instead, we just need to believe that we don’t have to live there, we don’t have to set up camp in the struggle. We can’t always avoid or prefect comparison but we can choose to change our focus.

Because tight abs, perfect legs (that don’t actually exist), and soft skin are simply a perceived reality of perfection that doesn’t actually exist. They are not the standard.

HE is.

Because tight abs, perfect legs, & soft skin are not the standard. HE is. Click To Tweet

XOXO,

Jordan Lee

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37 Comments

  • Reply
    haley @Cupcakes and Sunshine
    March 20, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    This is wonderful. Thank you for your encouragement and words! So good.

    • Jordan Lee
      Reply
      Jordan Lee
      March 20, 2017 at 6:50 pm

      Thanks for reading, friend! 🙂

      • Reply
        Kiki
        June 6, 2017 at 10:55 am

        You are amazing! Thank you. Question~ What Bible do you use? I love all the space in the margins!

        • Jordan Lee
          Reply
          Jordan Lee
          June 11, 2017 at 11:10 pm

          ESV Single Column Journaling Bible by Crossway Books!

  • Reply
    Anna
    March 20, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    Thank you so much for your transparency and authenticity on this topic Jordan! It’s so easy to get caught up in trying to fix the outside in any way that we can that we forget real change will come from the inside out with the help of Christ. Make-up, clothes, and diets can only do so much but when we focus on Christ, find our identity in Him, and remind ourselves that we have been created beautifully by Him can we really find freedom from comparison and embrace how God uniquely created each one of us. God bless you! ♥

    • Jordan Lee
      Reply
      Jordan Lee
      April 27, 2017 at 3:39 am

      Thanks Anna! You are so right, God has uniquely crafted each one of us!! Let’s celebrate that! Xo

  • Reply
    Caroline
    March 20, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    Love love love this

  • Reply
    Josephine
    March 20, 2017 at 9:18 pm

    I don’t usually read blogs, but for some reason I read yours today. This is the first post I’ve read of yours, and I read it all the way through without skimming (which is also rare). It was well-written and full of truth. Thank you for your ministry!

    • Jordan Lee
      Reply
      Jordan Lee
      April 27, 2017 at 3:40 am

      I’m so encouraged to hear that!! I pray you stick around and I pray it continues to bless you!

  • Reply
    Emma
    March 20, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    Love love love this blog, my favorite part of this one was the part about the study done about women looking in the mirror 8 times, so me must look at Jesus AT LEAST 9 times. WOW that was so important to me and really made me think hard. Thanks for the encouragement and wisdom behind such common topics that we could all use the direction on!

  • Reply
    Sofia
    March 20, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    As always, so so so good! Please come to Washington! My school would be so lucky to have you!

  • Reply
    Mattie Ramon
    March 20, 2017 at 11:35 pm

    LOVE this! Will definitely be thinking about this message, what a powerful one it is.

    • Jordan Lee
      Reply
      Jordan Lee
      April 27, 2017 at 3:42 am

      Thanks Mattie!! Glad to know it’s given you a little encouragement 🙂

  • Reply
    Cameron Kenworthy
    March 21, 2017 at 1:44 am

    THANK YOU Jordan.

    I’m a junior on college right now. I have an extremely small group of friends and feel so lost majority of the time. But with your posts, you have made me feel empowered, needed, encouraged, and wanted by Christ.
    I recently went through a horrible break up where a guy didn’t love me enough to be with me, even after 2 years of dating.
    But you…
    You have made me realize that I am more than enough for Jesus. He loves me just the way I am. Exactly the way I am.
    And I work every day to accept that.

    I just wanted to thank you for everything. You have changed my life. I hope that one day I will find the man I am supposed to be with.

    Meanwhile, I’ve found the Spirit. Thank you.

    Cameron Kenworthy

    kenworthycameron@gmail.com
    @cam_bam32

    • Jordan Lee
      Reply
      Jordan Lee
      April 27, 2017 at 3:42 am

      Oh goodness!! How good is God?! I’m so so glad to hear He’s used this blog to help your heart. That’s what this is all about!! Sending you love and a big hug. Xoxo

  • Reply
    Brooke Cowan
    March 21, 2017 at 9:02 am

    So, so, so, amazing Jordan. I love the inspiration that flows through you and the courage you have to be so transparent with us. It’s tough to admit you’re jealous/envious when you preach to do the opposite, but as you said in a previous post, it’s not about people looking up to YOU and YOUR example, but pointing others to Jesus, who is the example. I admire you so much. Always know that. Xx

    • Jordan Lee
      Reply
      Jordan Lee
      April 27, 2017 at 3:41 am

      Exactly!! We are not the point. We are simply pointers to He who IS the point! 😉

      Thanks for reading! Xx

  • Reply
    Jessica Daily
    March 21, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Thank you for letting me know truly I’m not alone but it’s my struggle everyday especially because I’m in a different season of life that I’m not liking. It’s so incredibly hard. What worked before is not working in this season of my life. So I’m struggling like never before.
    Thanks for the caring reminder of how Christs sees me.

    • Jordan Lee
      Reply
      Jordan Lee
      March 21, 2017 at 11:17 pm

      I’m so blessed to know you’ve been encouraged by this article, Jessica! Thanks for popping in and reading. XOXO

  • Reply
    To the Girl Who Hates Her Legs (or Anything Else About Herself) | Geek Daily
    March 22, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    […] By Jordan Lee […]

  • Reply
    Victoria
    March 22, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    Oh my goodness, Jordan…I just found your blog and love it. And love this post! Thank you for such truth spoken obviously from a heart after God’s. That is something I’ve majorly struggled with in the past and have just in the last year realized my sin in comparison and not accepting my beautiful body as the Lord God sees it.

  • Reply
    Victoria
    March 22, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    Oh my goodness, Jordan…I just found your blog and love it. And love this post! Thank you for such truth spoken obviously from a heart after God’s. That is something I’ve majorly struggled with in the past and have just in the last year realized my sin in comparison and not accepting my beautiful body as the Lord God sees it. Thank you!

    • Jordan Lee
      Reply
      Jordan Lee
      April 27, 2017 at 3:44 am

      Victoria, I’m so glad to hear this resonated with you and that God used it to touch you. Such a humbling thought. Wowza. Grateful for your comment and encouragement. Xo

  • Reply
    Abigail
    March 22, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    JORDAN! Yeah, there’s no such thing as perfect but this is pretty darn near close. I so appreciate the transparency of your struggles because it’s through your brokenness that I see the grace of Jesus shine the brightest. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! ❤❤

    • Jordan Lee
      Reply
      Jordan Lee
      April 27, 2017 at 3:43 am

      Thanks so much Abigail!! Glad to have you reading along ❤️

  • Reply
    Michal
    March 22, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    Wow! Thank you, I needed this.

  • Reply
    True Beauty – Wholly & Dearly Loved
    April 5, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    […] why am I exposing myself like this? I was reading a blog post by Jordan Lee (her blog is called SoulScripts) about body image, social media, & the comparison game. One quote really stuck out to […]

  • Reply
    Sarah
    April 6, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    SO SO good. Thank you for sharing. I’ve struggled with this all my life. Heck, I caught myself doing it just last weekend. I’m praying I learn to just take a step back and breathe. Just focusing on Him and not myself, resting in His love.

    • Jordan Lee
      Reply
      Jordan Lee
      April 27, 2017 at 3:45 am

      thanks for reading, Sarah! We all struggle with it somehow but that doesn’t mean we have to live in the struggle 🙂 praying you continue to live free of the shackles of comparison!

  • Reply
    To The Girl Who Hates Her Legs (or anything about herself) - SoulScripts
    April 7, 2017 at 10:39 am

    […] We see ourselves as God sees us when we stop looking at ourselves so much & start looking…Click To Tweet […]

  • Reply
    Nicole
    April 9, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    I encourage you to read the book “True Beauty.” I picked it up at IndyCC! The same one I met you at, haha! But anyway, it changed my life on how to view beauty. Too many words to say and no time to tell you all about it. JUST READ IT 🙂

    • Jordan Lee
      Reply
      Jordan Lee
      April 27, 2017 at 3:44 am

      I’ve read it! Such a sweet book! 🙂

  • Reply
    Lia Cesa
    May 30, 2017 at 10:45 pm

    Hi, Jordan!

    I just want to thank you for sharing that. I read through it with tears in my eyes because it hit on so many things that I feel on a daily basis. As a teenager, I was always a little overweight and I really let it hold me back from making friends. Then in college, I met my boyfriend Michael (we’ve been together for almost four years now!) and I thought he would fix all of my body issues. He definitely helped, but they didn’t go away. In fact, I got too comfortable and actually gained a bunch of weight, so did he. We did an INSANE crash diet for five months and I ended up losing 60 pounds and feeling/looking better than I ever had in my semi-adult life. But, as with most crash diets, we both gained all the weight back and then some. Now, I am bigger than I ever thought I could be, and slowly working my way back. I’ve been dieting and exercising the right way this time, I have lost about 37 pounds. It’s harder, slower and a little bit more annoying but I know that it’s the healthier way to do it.

    That being said, I still look at myself and pretty much hate what I see. I don’t even think of the 37 pounds I’ve lost because all I can see is the 90 I still have to go. I see the stretch marks across my stomach and on my arms constantly. I only wear my boyfriend’s t-shirts because I feel too embarrassed to wear anything else. I hardly see myself as anything important or attractive anymore. It’s a scary place to be sometimes.

    I have to admit, when I first started following you on Instagram, I thought to myself, “she is beyond beautiful! If I could look like her, I would be so happy.” 1. you are beyond beautiful! and 2. it was comforting to know that even you have things that you dislike about your body. So thank you, thank you, thank you for being so brave as to share with us your insecurities and to help to build me up. You are an incredible person, and I cannot begin to tell you what this post meant to me.

    Love,
    Lia

  • Reply
    Allie Battle
    May 31, 2017 at 11:42 pm

    Thank you for this Jordan. Having a difficult time with my self esteem lately to the point where I feel its controlling my life. I needed to hear words like this so badly. Thank you for being a christian woman that so many can look up too in a world filled with too many wrong influences that seem so tempting yet so shallow. Thank you so much <3

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