How are these two things similar in my perception?
I feel as if they are things that people portray as something you have to have struggled with to have.
You always hear how the woman overcame her body image issues after the trial of an eating disorder or being chased around the playground by her sister's friends being called Miss Piggy (I haven't told you the Miss Piggy story yet? Shame on me).
You always hear how someone who hasn't had their testimony tree tested, requiring them to dig their roots deeper into the ground, will just fall over if a strong wind/trial ever comes along.
Tell me, can't a woman simply have great body image? Can't someone simply have a testimony? I know the whole bit about "no witness until after the trial of our faith," yet I can't help but think of my own situation.
Many Sundays I have sat back listening to testimonies of absolutely amazing and spiritual people, thinking, "Wow. I haven't been through any severe trials lately...or ever (I've had plenty of trials, don't get me wrong, just nothing I would call substantial). I don't have anything to bear my testimony about." The sarcastic side of me the thinks, "Guess I can't have a testimony if my life is good!" Then you walk into the next meeting and you hear, "We need to thank the Lord in the times of happiness more often." But...wait...how do we gain a testimony in times of happiness if we only have testimonies to bear in times of trial?
More recently, body image issue after body image issue has come to the surface in the media. Women are fighting stereotypes more fiercely than ever before and reclaiming their love for themselves that they somehow lost over the "years of male oppression and stereotyping." (yes, insert sarcasm here - there is much more than just the natural man to blame)
But here is where I have a very unique mind frame and feel I am one of a few out there who can say this honestly and without bias. I've been both places. I've been obese. I've been 17% body fat. I am currently neither. I don't care how proud of your body you are, if you are substantially overweight or out-of-shape, your health is in jeopardy. Period. End of story. Exclamation point.
I listen to all of these women talk about how they are proud at their 200 pounds and saying men are pigs because they won't love them at their size. Seriously? Sounds to me like you need to work more on whatever it takes to make you a person you love yourself! First of all, if you think that being unfit is the reason men are not dating you, then change it. You have control. I'm not saying that is the reason men aren't dating you at all, I'm simply stating if you have control over something that bothers you so much you can't quit talking about it, then quit complaining and just do something. I know it is hard. Second, there is some natural instinct within each of us that triggers an internal alarm about certain things regarding "natural selection" of potential mates. For me, that's obesity. For some guys I've dated it's my sense of humor or interest in theater or, well, I'd be lying if I said I haven't been told more than once in the past four years that I'm not thin enough. I've been there. I know the health problems it causes. I've watched my mother battle this monster her entire life and the resulting health problems that are slowly and prematurely killing her. I do not want those issues in my future. Why would I willingly jump into a situation with a partner who clearly has those issues? So, men, judge away if you think I'm a terrible person for not dating someone who doesn't take care of their health. Ladies, judge away if you think I'm a terrible person for telling you to take care of your health. To clarify, I'm not making a blanket statement that overweight is bad. You can be healthy and overweight or thin and unhealthy, so what I'm saying is to simply be active, eat right, and take care of yourselves.
I know many, many of my readers are currently trying to conquer their battles with the obesity monster or the lack-of-testimony trials and I am practically brought to tears each time I think of what you are battling every moment of every day. I wish I could take some of those burdens for you. Please do not feel as if I am judging you, I'm simply trying to get a point across.
I've had a testimony my entire life. I've always had a perfect love for my Heavenly Father. Never have I had a huge trial of my faith other than a bishopric from the land of you-have-no-life-obligations-outside-of-church-and-are-a-heathen-if-you-pretend-you-do. Ah, yet another story for another time. Anyway. I've always known God loves me. I've always known how important I am to Him and how intricately His hand is in my life. Always. I've questioned other things gospel-related, but this love I know. Of this love, I am always sure.
Yet some people will say, "You can't really know unless you've had this trial."
I have struggled with my body image from the age of...as long as I can remember. I've never had a perfect love for my body. This is a battle I have to fight (and I win!) every day. If you come to know something through a trial, then I should have the world's best body image!
Can it be okay to simply have a testimony and to simply have a good body image? YES! Don't make someone feel like they just don't understand and can never be on your level because they know God loves them without having to have had a trial of their faith. Don't think someone is a conceited snob because they know they are a beautiful human being inside and out without ever having to have battled internal monsters.
Something to think about.