Define Y O U cont.

So in the last post, we established that there is freedom in accepting your body and focusing more on cultivating your inner beauty. I can remember trying and striving with all my efforts to try and replicate my body image into what I would see on bikini models and so forth, leaving me feeling more disappointed and not ever feeling like I was physically 'good looking enough.' That is all that it does to you, leaves you disappointed because you're trying to be someone else instead of just being you, which doesn't require you to 'try'. I am glad to have made that decision to wake up and accept my body for what it was and am choosing to focus more on the inner self and also choosing to focus on the health and well being of my physical body.

When I was growing up, in primary school, I was one of very few asian students in my year. I found it hard to keep a certain group of friends as each year I found myself in a different group of friends which made me feel a bit insecure about myself even if I didn't know it at the time being so young. In those younger years, I discovered what it meant to have a 'crush' on someone, as you do. I watched others around me begin to 'date' which didn't really mean anything. All that had to happen was for you to tell someone that you liked them and if they liked you in return, then you were dating. None of the boys liked me because I was asian. I felt like I didn't fit in.
One day, I was out in the playground and the school yard had a fitness area where there were monkey bars, swings, hurdles, chin up bars and so forth. I remember being around the chin up bars attempting to do a chin up (lol) when this boy, Jason, came around. I thought he was a nice boy and I thought he was coming around to play on the chin up bars too. Much to my delight, he looked at me and said, 'HEY CHING CHONG,' and used his index fingers to stretch out his eyes to resemble what he thought looked like me. After he had finished and got his point across, he left. 'What did that mean?' I thought to myself silently and over the next few days. That little incident added another load on top of my insecurities of looking different. After Jason had directly made that comment to me, I felt as if everyone around me felt and saw me that way too. I remember that I used to wish so much that I wasn't asian. That I had blonde hair and came from a different family or that I could gain super powers and show everyone at school that I was more than what I looked like.

High school came soon enough, a breath of fresh air. I don't know what happened exactly but out of my shy, insecure and reserved nature, arose a bright and hopeful young girl hoping to make good friends. To my amazement there were more asians in the world than I ever thought there were and I was beginning to feel not so different to everyone else. I began to fit in. Still though, the 'white' boys didn't like me if I had a crush on them again making me feel like I wanted to be another race, another skin colour.

The purpose for sharing some of my experience is to show you how far back my body image insecurity had began. Aside from the physical image of being lean and fit, I struggled with my race and ethnicity image. 

Although that 'ching chong' name calling affected me a lot back then, I can laugh about it now. Writing about it reminds me of the hurt and displacement I felt back then which brings me to this verse:

"But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)

Yes, children can be cruel and don't realise the impact of their words on people. But I am thankful that I am loved and accepted for what I look like by a God who sees my heart and knows it's worth. If you have ever struggled with your image in anyway, physically or because of your race, or gender, take heart. Take heart in what God says about you. He sees past what others see and He sees what is in your heart. If you have been hurt by others because of your image then you can find healing, acceptance and wholeness in Jesus who is trustworthy to keep and hold your heart. When we are singled out because of how we look, our heart is directly targeted if it is not protected by an identity in Christ. It leaves us vulnerable to being defined and told who we are by the way others perceive us and not by what we truly are. Don't let your joy be robbed by the lies and deceit of harmful words. Define yourself by how God sees you and not others. I hope you can find encouragement today.