Body image is something I have always wrestled with in some shape or form. I am incredibly quick to see every fault of my body, only focusing on the parts I don’t like. It’s easy to see the blemishes. It’s easy to see the scars. It’s easy to see the effects of age. Do you ever struggle with the same?
I can’t say I’ve always been comfortable with how tall I am. I am 6’1″ and not getting any shorter (yet), but the older I get, the more I have learned to embrace my height. In middle school, I felt like a giant. I was lanky, didn’t feel coordinated, and really, it wasn’t a pretty picture. By high school, I started to become more comfortable with it, thanks to others who were just as tall. And now, I love getting toothpaste or the can of tomatoes off the top shelf for people – I say that with all seriousness! I’ve learned to embrace it.
Then there is the mid-section. The “trouble zone” in my book. The muffin top, the extra skin from pregnancy, and now aging isn’t really in my favor either. It’s just not what I “think” I want it to be.
And then my heart. I know, shocker, right? It’s just not what I thought or hoped it would be. The organ that is keeping the rest of my body alive, that is supposedly supposed to pump blood efficiently throughout, isn’t doing that. And not doing it well at all. It’s frustrating.
My body just sometimes isn’t what I WANT it to be.
Okay, let me step down from my self-pity mode box, and speak truth to myself. God has given me the gift of height for a reason. I can name countless times when it has been super helpful for others, a conversation piece in the grocery store, and it has taught me to be confident and try and walk upright, not slouched, embracing how God created me. And now, I couldn’t be more thankful – thanks too, to stores that now make tall jeans so that I don’t have to buy men’s jeans or spend over $70 for a pair, just so they are long enough. Thank you trends that consist of rolling up the bottom of jeans – please don’t ever lose your coolness!
The truth about our mid-sections. If you are a woman, I’m sure you’ve had the thought run through your mind at LEAST once…guy I wish my stomach were flatter, more in shape, more muscular, and more skinny. Thanks to being tall, Mazy had a lot of room to grow when I carried her, so I haven’t had to deal with stretch marks, but I know that’s a struggle for many. I used to get downright upset, when people complained about their stretch marks, before I could get pregnant. I WANTED stretch marks because that meant I could have my own child. I have since learned that it was part of my grieving process, but also there is truth about the struggle it is to see our bodies changing.
But here I sit, preaching on this blog that we have to embrace our scars. My friend, I’m preaching to myself too. We need to embrace the beauty of motherhood scars. The reality of crazy days that don’t allow us to do 200 sit-ups a day (no worries, never did…), but you get my drift. Now don’t get me wrong. God does care about my body. For it is a temple of the Holy Spirit and we are supposed to be stewards over what He has given us. But do you think God cares whether or not we have a 6-pack stomach? Or does He care more that we are reflecting His image as mothers and daughters of the King? We all put different priorities on different things and we often feel our ideas have to be everyone else’s. But really though, God just wants us to reflect Him. It’s what’s in the heart that really matters. It’s seriously that simple. Our bodies will deteriorate, so what will be left? Our souls. And THAT will last forever. Nurture your soul; don’t obsess over things that will eventually pass and be put in a casket.
Is your body what you want it to be? I’m going to guess that the majority of you will say no. There is always ONE thing that we don’t like, right?
But this too, needs to be brought before the throne of grace; to the foot of the cross. God wants all of our struggles. All of our frustrations. Including something as simple as this. And daily, I get to wake up, look in the mirror, and choose what attitude I will look at myself – with an attitude of gratitude to God for another day to serve Him? Or with an attitude of ungratefulness for how I look? I challenge myself to continue striving to reflect the image of God, and not the image of others. To reflect His character and not let shame, guilt, lack of confidence, and lack of self-worth, get in the way.
The day is coming, my friend, when God will bring full redemption, even to our bodies. In the meantime, we can do our best to be good stewards of our bodies – but remember, this too, they will be redeemed fully when Christ comes again!