I struggle with my body image, more so than I have admitted to anyone in my life.
I don’t like how I look, body or face, and I am constantly thinking of how different my life would feel and look if I had a flat tummy, perkier butt, smaller waist, and a lighter or darker skin tone.
Every time I play my mental comparison games, I come up short; next to my family and friends I’m always at the bottom of the totem pole.
Mind you, in my mind, they are all equal parts beautiful, charming, witty and kind – but me on the other hand, my shortcomings are just overwhelming.
I have tried (and want) to exercise and eat well; I have set my alarm for many an early morning, gotten a workout in, managed to have a good break and spent the better part of my day walking to and from the bathroom because of the amount of water I’ve consumed.
It goes great for a few days and sometimes even weeks, but it never lasts. I get discouraged or distracted or bored, convincing myself that I’m not making difference and then I quit.
The cycle of shame and self-hatred starts all over again, this time fuelled by the voice of failure.
I retreat into my shell once more – imagining the girl I want to (and know I can) be; telling myself that only when I look like her will I finally have the happiness and self-confidence I desire.
But Psalm 139 says:
… Body and soul, I am marvellously made! I worship in adoration – what a creation! …You know how I was sculpted from nothing into something
[portions of Psalms, 139:13-16, MSG translation]
I shouldn’t be working out with the desire to finally feel beautiful or worthy of adoration.
I shouldn’t want to look a certain way or have a certain body shape so that I can be admired/applauded for my form and fit a particular (man-made) standard of beauty or finally accept my body the way it is.
Yes, I can take care better care of myself. Yes, I can set and work towards health and fitness goals and YES! I can desire to achieve those fitness goals.
I am not perfect and there’s always room for improvement but I am ALWAYS wonderful whatever shape, size or skin tone I am. My Maker says I am good and loved AS I AM – the WAY I LOOK.
The words of Psalm 139 are not yet the truth I live out of, but I want them to be.
I want the words of this Psalm to be etched onto my heart so that I can see myself in the mirror and worship God for what He has made. Even as I work towards any goals I set, may the Holy Spirit take away the lies that I have bought into, about needing to look a certain way and teach me to work from a place of gratitude and wonder; gratitude for the body He has created and childlike wonder at all of its GOD-GIVEN strength and abilities.
May I wake in the morning being content with who I am, and go to be bed happy with how I am.
Above all, may my sense of beauty and worth be defined by Jesus and Jesus only, no matter how I look, where I am or who surrounds me, let my confidence come from Him.
And may I always acknowledge the beauty He has chosen to express in the body and soul He gave to me.
I love You Lord, and want to live life defined by You.