Does anyone else remember this book? I don’t know that the content has stayed with me, but the title definitely stuck in my head. Recently, I was thinking about body image and how what we see isn’t always what’s there. When trying to think of a way to describe my own process, the title of this book came to mind.
First, though, here’s a recent picture.
I’ve reached the point that I’ve been dreading. The point where people realize I’ve lost weight and start commenting on it. I’m not really sure why that bothers me, but it does. Maybe it’s a fear that it won’t stay this way. Maybe it’s because I know myself all too well and know that I will always have to think about what I eat and can’t really guarantee that this “new me” will be the ongoing me.
Or maybe it’s because I don’t think it is a new me. Maybe it’s because it makes sense to me that I look like this, because this is the picture I have in my head anyway.
That’s where Inside, Outside, Upside Down comes in. Yes, I was like all other teenaged girls who thought, “I wish I could lose a few pounds,” but honestly — I don’t know that I’ve ever seen myself as an overweight person. Ever. When I looked at pictures, it surprised me to see what I saw. The image that showed up in pictures didn’t match what I had in my head or what I saw in the mirror. That’s why I always said, “I want my outside to match my inside.” I wanted the physical representation to match how I view myself.
That’s how I’ve viewed this process — as finding a way to extend those internal qualities to my outer appearance. I believe our culture has it upside down. You cannot fix the outside and change what’s inside. You have to work on the internal. Find your strengths. Acknowledge that you already have the capability to be who you are called to be. When you do that, you’ll be able to be your authentic self both internally and externally. If you’re trying to fix problems, you’ll wind up focusing on what’s WRONG. That is only discouraging. Focus on what you are. What you are capable of. What you have already accomplished. If you have the strength and discipline to raise children, you have the strength and discipline to say no to a brownie or yes to healthier food choices. It has also helped me tremendously to frame this in terms of positive choices. I am eating lots of wonderful, tasty fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s really a luxury. Indulgent. It is not deprivation.
Embrace the grace, y’all. Let it fill you and run over and extend from every part of your being. God created you to be who you are, and God does not make mistakes. Listen to your strengths and allow them to be what others see. Let your outside match your inside and take joy in this upside down world that we’ve been allowed to have. See the upside down-ness for what it is, but don’t let it define you or entrap you.