So, this post has been long overdue. Perhaps it is because of a variety of other distractions that have propelled me into obscurity, or perhaps it is because there just hasn’t been much inspiration for me to take hold of. Regardless, it’s finally time to go through the self-conscious catharsis that is writing and talk about what happened during my Lent period.
Since my last Lenten season, I had lost around fifty pounds as a direct result of what I sacrificed for Lent: sugar. However, this time around, I’ve taken on a completely different lifestyle, getting subtly obsessed with body image and physique. Therefore, this Lenten season was all about removing myself from being consumed by how I looked – specifically the number on the scale. I vowed to not weigh myself for forty days. What I found during this seemingly carefree time was an agonizing period of insecurity about weight and body image. Every day I went to the gym, I gazed longingly at the scale, wishing to know how much weight I had convinced myself I was putting on. In the bathroom, I would poke around and see which places got softer – eventually this began happening regardless of location. I spent a lot of time locked in a constant internal turmoil over whether I should take the time to relax and let go of body image for a bit or feeling like I needed to tighten up my discipline even more during this time when it was difficult to truly ascertain how “fit” I was. Some days there would be a profound sadness in myself realizing that I was slowly losing all that I worked so hard for in the past year, and that somehow, I was gaining weight no matter what.
However, I’m thankful that the God I love is one who provides peace in my heart when I need it. Days when the struggle was particularly hard were turned over to the Lord in prayer, and eventually, the violence in my heart subsided and settled down. Days when I let the anxieties overwhelm me were filled with tinged with the melancholy that comes with insecurity and acknowledgment of letting myself go. But God, in His infinite love, says in His Word, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3). During this Lenten season, I experienced firsthand the peace that He provided because I stopped gazing at myself and fixed my gaze on Him. It’s probably easy to think, oh, look at this guy, he’s not even that aesthetic, how dare he be filled with pride. And to some extent, you’re right. But it’s just another part of my humanity showing when I want to celebrate the progress I’ve made because only I know the amount of effort put into it to get to where I am. Nevertheless, it’s the mercy and grace of the Lord that delivers me from myself because He knows that what I really want to do is forsake my insecurities and quell the prideful uprising in me to pay more attention to myself than to Him; the flesh is weak, but the spirit remains willing. Everything I learned in the gym hasn’t gone to waste, however; straining under weights can be applied as a spiritual concept – God is the only spotter you’ll ever need, and you lift with your prayers, not with your legs. May I continue turning my inwardly critical eyes onto Him and fully enjoy His love and mercy towards me.