I used to take horseback riding lessons and my instructor was constantly shouting, "Keep your gaze on the fence! Where your gaze goes - the horse goes!" And then, when I did my yoga training my instructor said the same thing, "Keep your gaze on the mat/on the wall/directly in front of you. Your gaze determines where you go." It seems to be a reoccurring message in my life. You will always end up where you set your gaze.
It makes sense, no? I think it's a huge part of why we keep cycling through our body shame. We set our gaze on what we think we SHOULD look like, think like, feel like, act like... We pick up magazines, and watch movies, and surround ourselves with people who reaffirm our misdirected gaze. We keep spiraling because we expect to. We're not allowing for the possibility that we are what we are. We aren't going to grow taller, or magically demolish our stretch marks. We aren't going to suddenly feel cool and like we fit in everywhere we go. We aren't going to convince people to see us differently because it's not how THEY see us that is the problem. The problem is our gaze. The problem is that we've been focusing on everything BUT life and healing and truth. We might glance that way every now and then, but we aren't living with a singular focus. As long as we allow ourselves to look everywhere BUT the fence, we're going to keep on wandering. As long as we are fearfully watching other people in their crow pose, we won't make it into our own crow pose. Make sense?
Paul had something to say about this too.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Peace. That's what we're searching for isn't it? Peace in our hearts, in our bodies, in our minds. We're doing this because we want to stop raging against ourselves. We want to find level ground and a deep inner peace. Maybe the only thing standing in our way is our own gaze.
*Today's challenge: Make it your intention to redirect your gaze. Even before you start wandering, turn your inner focus to whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. Ask God for the ability to recognize those things in you - as the perfect creation of His own hands. Start writing those things down. Put them on post it notes so you don't forget them. This isn't easy, but it's worth it.