Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Last week I visited a shopping area in Naperville, IL. The first thing I noticed was the number of food places. I didn’t count, but by eyeballing I predict there were as many places to purchase food as all other types of shops combined. Grateful I had eaten my snack at the frozen yogurt place, I turned one corner to see a Haagen-Dazs, Cold Stone Creamery and a gelati place (Italian ice cream) all in the same block. I surely would have caved and sprinted toward the Haagen-Dazs if I hadn’t made the smarter choice already (which happened coincidentally since I was unaware of the impending temptations). Thank you, God. All of these food choices reinforced the thought that we are obsessed with food.

My friends and I walked into the Barnes & Noble and I headed for the discount table. I noticed a book entitled Thin is the New Happy by Valerie Frankel. Intrigued, I opened the book, and began skimming/reading. To be fair to the author, I should disclose I did not read the entire book. What follows are my impressions based on the little bit I did read. The author states that she hit one hundred pounds when she turned eleven. Her mother declared her obese and put her on a strict diet. Long story short, that event was the beginning of her addiction to diets. (She used the word addiction.) If I understand correctly, the author spent the next however many decades trying every diet in the world. The “high” came from dieting itself. At some point along the way she realized her eating patterns were connected to how she viewed herself. The Cinderella ending came to fruition when she realized all of this and dealt with it (don’t know the details cause I was skimming) and now she no longer diets, but parades around in a size eight anyway. I never did figure out why the book is entitled Thin is the New Happy.

What is my point? One, happiness is not found in a size. Two, Ms. Frankel (and her mother) bought into a lie hook, line and sinker. Health benefits are never mentioned as a reason for all this dieting. Instead, she dieted to look a particular way. For what purpose? To be loved by her mother and others. Truthfully, as I read, sadness crept in. Not just for this author, but for all of us who have felt what she describes.

My conclusion? The author has an identity crisis. She doesn’t know who she is.

Let me step away from this particular book before the reader misunderstands my intentions. The book is merely the catalyst to remind me that knowing who we are is vital to understanding and, especially, believing truth.

Each of us was created by The Creator. “For we are God’s workmanship . . .” Ephesians 2:10. Additionally, we are loved unconditionally by God. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” 1 John 3:1 When we believe He loves us as we are, there is no need to search for it from others.

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