Our story today is from Ginny Yttrup, the author of Words, Lost and Found, and her latest just released April 1, Invisible.
I just received an e-copy of her book last week, and I'll be reviewing it later this month. The story is a reprint from another blog, Novel Crossing, link HERE. Ginny's website is http://ginnyyttrup.com.
“Do you hear voices?” The psychiatrist looked at me over his reading glasses. As I hesitated, he scrawled a note on the form he’d attached to his clipboard.
“Sometimes I do. They’re not audible, but... They’re loud in my head.” I laughed. “They’re just the normal kind of voices though.” The doctor was a Christian, so I figured he’d understand. However, instead of an affirming nod and smile, he jotted more notes.
So I babbled on, which, in hindsight, didn’t work in my favor.
I was sitting across from a psychiatrist because I was struggling with depression and my general physician prescribed medication that hadn’t helped. So he referred me to a psychiatrist. I walked into the mental health professional’s office that day feeling a little blue. I left feeling a lot crazy.
But I’m not.
You’ve heard the voices too, haven’t you?
Like when you’re standing in front of a mirror and you’re dissatisfied with the reflection staring back at you. Your hair is a mess, why can’t you ever get it right? And is that acne? Acne and wrinkles? Nice. Looks like you’ve put on a few pounds too. What’s wrong with you? The voice hisses.
Maybe it’s condemned you in other ways. Why did you say that? How stupid are you? Now, she’ll never like you. Or… Now, you’ll never get the job. Or… Now, they’ll never invite you to join their group.
Then another voice intervenes. But it’s quiet, gentle, like a summer breeze. And it’s easy to miss if we aren’t tuned in. I knit you together in your mother’s womb. I know the number of hairs on your head. You are perfect in My sight. I love you.
For most of my 50 years, I’ve heard the voice of condemnation—the accuser’s voice—loud and clear. That voice has worked overtime attempting to discourage me, defeat me, and knock me down. And for many years, it accomplished its goal.
Coming from a childhood of abuse, the accuser’s voice sounded familiar, so I listened, until the other Voice, the Voice of Love, wooed me to pay attention to something new. The longer I walked with God, accepting His invitation of intimacy, the less I heard and believed the accusations.
But last week, as I stood in front of a mirror, the old voice intruded again. I’d sat for almost two months straight as I finished writing my next contracted manuscript and during that time I’d gained some weight. And the old weight I carried had shifted to the nether regions—and the shift wasn’t flattering. At least, not in our looks obsessed culture.
At 5’ 1” and one hundred and too many pounds, I’m occasionally still susceptible to the condemnation and lies of the accuser. You’ll never lose weight. Why can’t you exercise and make better food choices? You’re such a failure.
And I started down the road of beating myself up, searching for something, different to wear, anything that might make me look better, and then… I remembered.
I am created in the image of God.
Latin for: Image of God.
Imago Dei, the words tattooed on my left wrist. Permanently inscribed where I see them daily.
The antidote for the accusations.
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:27).”
Whether we’re physically created in the image of God or not, is debatable. Many theologians claim it’s our souls that are created in the image of God. But we know for certain that God did create our bodies to house our souls—He, as Psalm 139 reminds us, did knit us together in the womb.
And if we hate the body we’re in, then how can we nurture the soul it houses? It’s difficult to separate the two this side of eternity.
And the accuser knows this.
These days, more often than not, when I look into a mirror I see an image of God. I look for the glory of God shining in me and through me. I acknowledge myself as one created by God in His image.
The reminder of that truth trumps fretting about the size of my thighs any day.
This doesn’t mean I don’t consider my health and care for the body God has given me. No. The freedom that comes with truth leads me to want to be a better steward of my body. To care for it in a way that honors the God who created me.
Freedom comes as I replace lies with truth. It comes in letting go of a cultural standard I’ll never attain and seeking something greater.
Intimacy with my Beloved.
The One who created me.
And thinks I’m beautiful…