Preface to the preface: I wrote this about two weeks ago. Then I scheduled it to post later. Then I unscheduled it because I’m not super comfortable, for whatever reason, with putting this all out there. And I sat on it, but I saw multiple posts on Instagram of women struggling with how they looked, with body shape and size, and just overall with how they feel about themselves. So I’m putting it out there on this Friday morning because I don’t think I’m unique in this struggle. I think it’s a weapon that satan uses against most women at one time or another. It may seem shallow, but when he attacks our confidence in this way, it affects every area of our lives. It affects how we relate and respond to others. So here you go . . .
Preface: Vulnerable is not my favorite word. It is not my “word of the year” nor do I plan on it EVER being my word of the year. And I did not want to write this post. First and foremost, because it is a level of vulnerability with which I’m not really comfortable. Second, because I know it opens me up to judgment, and while I’ve come a long way with caring a lot less about what other people think, I still don’t enjoy putting myself front and center for being judged. But all of this has been running through my mind for weeks, and when I found myself standing in front of the mirror and saying, without a second thought, “I hate my body . . ., ” I realized this needed to be written. Having said that, I need neither comments nor compliments correcting my feelings past or present. If you dislike what you’re reading, that’s fine . . . move on. But if you’ve ever struggled, in any area, with feeling as if you don’t measure up maybe this will speak to you.
I have, for most of my life, had a precarious relationship with my body or maybe I should say, a precarious relationship with loving the body God gave me. I’m very short . . . and inevitably someone will say they’re short too, followed by telling me they’re 5’2″ or 5’3″. Let’s just put it this way, from where I stand, 5’2″ is tall. I’ve also always been relatively petite, and being short has never been an issue for me (except when I have to climb store shelves . . . that’s frowned upon), but I’ve often thought maybe God could’ve given me a slightly smaller frame given my height (and a smaller head . . . definitely a smaller head . . . it’s okay to laugh). I’ve run the gamut on what is considered my healthy weight range, but in the scheme of things, I’ve never really struggled with my weight. Yet, I have struggled greatly with liking what I see in the mirror. There were times, I would have settled for just not hating what I saw in the mirror. Because actual body weight and size and statistics have zero, zilch, nada to do with how we see ourselves. Big or small . . . tall or short . . . I’d venture most women have struggled with this exact thing.
There was a time when the only purpose in exercise, at least for me, was to control my weight. There was also a time when I didn’t think a ton about what I ate as much as I thought about how much I could (or couldn’t eat) to make sure my body stayed exactly the size it “should”. These are not healthy lines of thinking. Just in case you’re wondering.
In keeping with my other unhealthy schools of thought, in the past the words and thought, “I hate my body,” would’ve sent me spiraling through the day . . . obsessing about calories . . . changing clothes multiple times but never finding what looked right on me. And there was a point when those words were a very normal part of my day. But like so many things, God is working this out in me, and instead of changing my clothes or having a meltdown which would’ve meant I was in a terrible mood for most of the day, I felt a check in my spirit that called me on my words.
There’s no need to tell me you’d kill to be my size or I should be thankful or whatever it is that is at the forefront of your mind and on your lips at the moment. Believe me. I know. But see, that’s the thing . . . the way we feel about ourselves doesn’t always make sense. And we live in the age of “love yourself” and body positivity and “just be you”. Yet, it seems like we struggle more than ever. And I have to ask why???
I think the reason is, it’s not really about loving your body . . . or realizing you’re smart enough . . . or being popular and well liked . . . or whatever your particular struggle is. It’s about realizing who you are in Christ. I can repeat all the perfect body positivity mantras. I can exercise and count all the calories. I can read all the books and do all the things to make myself feel and look better. All of that will only carry me so far. But when I think about Who my creator is . . . knowing that I am fearfully and wonderfully made . . . knowing that when I say, “I hate my body,” I’m telling God I hate His creation, that turns the tables in a whole new way.
This realization has been years in the making and will probably continue to be developed in me for many years to come. I will not lie and say that I always look at myself and like what I see. I won’t say that I’m never overly critical or never pick apart my body, but these are the truths I now have . . . I work out because I want to be healthy, physically and mentally. I will continue to exercise because I want to take care of what I’ve been given. I (try to) eat right for the same reasons, but also, I enjoy food. I want to set an example for my children that we take care of our bodies because they are a gift from God rather than killing ourselves just to be skinny or look a certain way. I was created with a purpose, and I am beautiful because I am a daughter of the most high King. Same goes for you, whoever you are and whatever “it” is you struggle with. You are enough because of Jesus in you so when you have those moments where your self worth is in the trash and your self doubt is breaking all time high records, take a minute and remember Whose you are. You are valuable. You are loved. Don’t ever believe any less.
Copyright 2020, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved
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