Salzburg was not only filled with a singalong Sound of Music tour (yes, it’s a real thing), some needed & missed Starbucks runs, and days spent wandering the city, but also with emotional and spiritual battles. If we are being brutally honest, the past couple days have been tough. We have both been feeling the overwhelming weight of being told lies & listening to them. Lies that our bodies are not made in the image of God, lies that we aren’t thin enough, lies that we have gained weight (more than just the normal travel lbs), and the worst of them all: that that stuff matters most.
It has been a struggle to release and break free from the pressure of having to be a “certain” size, the guilt of indulging in a sweet treat or saying yes to the occasional, “do you want whipped cream?”. The fact of the matter is, none of those things define us. And they shouldn’t hold as much weight as we let them, or hold as much power as we give them. We will be the first to admit it is difficult to be a woman in this day and age, trying to keep up is exhausting. We are entrusted to live a healthy lifestyle with our bodies and while we are learning the balance of what that looks like throughout these three months traveling – the question remains, why do we let these things get to us? Why do we feel the need to constantly be better, to be smaller?
And since we’re being honest, we can’t deny letting how we see our bodies affect our moods, which then affects our days, and, ultimately, our lives. There have been several days in a row here where we have both felt the gravity of this. Days where it steals our joy and distracts from our purpose, leading us to be mean to other people, and even more so to ourselves. God has made us in His own image (Genesis 1:26), He put work and creativity into us and called us very good. We were not created exactly as we are by accident. Even between the two of us, we have different body types, different ways in which the Lord shows His creativity in our bodies. Who are we to say we aren’t good enough? Why are we not celebrating ourselves and others as being images of the Lord? Who are we to say His work isn’t pretty enough, thin enough, or even to call ourselves ugly? When will we finally stop and see the truth?
Yesterday, in Vienna, we spent the day sulking in our bad moods, led on by how we saw ourselves in the mirror that day (& shopping for a new pair of jeans). We were rapidly caught in the downward spiral of these lies and finally hit our breaking point. We stopped for a moment to pray over the city, when Jordyn posed the question, “what would my life look like if I used all the energy I put into thinking about my body image and put it into my relationship with The Lord?” This is a very convicting question, and led to a lot of prayer & time of sitting before the Lord desperately seeking His truth to resonate in our hearts. We prayed out loud against these strongholds and asked for grace when we hold too tightly to them. We thanked God that His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9) and for the ways in which He has continually shown us that His creativity extends beyond the places, the landscapes, and the landmarks. His creativity and beauty extends far more, and more importantly, into His people. To those we pass on the street, to those we sit across from on the train. Those are His children, those are the ones Jesus loves so deeply that He went to the cross for. It’s in those moments, the moments of looking outside ourselves and into the eyes of a stranger that brings new perspective and a new set of lenses.
To no surprise, our lives have become very simple since moving out here. We don’t have our usual distractions or idols vying for our attention to turn our eyes from the Lord. As we talked yesterday, we realized how much deeper this struggle goes & how much of a spiritual battle it has become as it seeks to fill our heads and hearts with these lies instead of the truth in Christ.
When it all comes down to it, what really matters? For us, it’s Jesus. It’s people & relationships. It’s loving God and loving others. How can we truly love others if we can’t love ourselves the same? We want to turn away from these lies, to call them out & strip them of the power we’ve given them, and rest in the truth that Jesus has broken these chains. But also, that were not fighting this battle on our own. It’s His strength made perfect in our weakness and while some days may be easier than others, we will boast only in the name of Christ.
The struggle may be real & raging at times, but we refuse to let this struggle steal our joy and turn our eyes away from what’s really important any longer. And our prayer is that whatever struggles may overwhelm you, that you stand in the strength of Christ and strip it of its power from this day forward. Let’s stand together, no matter where we are, and stop comparing ourselves. Stop comparing our bodies and our lives. Let’s celebrate each other, let’s turn comparison into connection, let’s see the creativity God has made, & let’s say yes to whipped cream.