I see my reflection in the bathroom mirror, grab my stomach and immediately put my face in my hands, clenching my fists with frustration.
I hear my husband sigh, as he repeats the same lines that I’ve heard over 100 times by now. “Lindsey, you’re beautiful. You’re perfect the way you are. And you just had a baby. Give yourself grace.”
I roll my eyes, partially encouraged, but not fully receiving his wisdom simply because my unrealistic expectations – which both myself and the whole of society have perpetuated – don’t allow me to.
Some days, I’m starving for affirmation. Deep down, I know that I need to find my identity in Christ, but I’m struggling.
And I’m thankful that God speaks through my husband to help dispel the lies that I’m believing and to replace them with truth when I feel most defeated.
But some days it’s just hard because the body I’m walking around in doesn’t feel anything like my own. And it doesn’t change the opinions that people have of me, whether I want them to have them or not.
I don’t feel like I’m alone in this struggle.
To be honest, I don’t think I have ever met a woman in my entire life who hasn’t struggled with body image in one way or another.
Whether it’s a postpartum body, weight gain, wrinkles, skin problems, health issues, hair loss, too much hair – we all have our ‘thing.’
As women of God, we should strive to cherish and take care of our bodies. But instead, we are destroying them with image-altering plastic surgery and fad diets while pursuing unachievable and empty goals.
As women of God, we should strive to cherish and take care of our bodies, rather than destroying them while pursuing empty goals. Click To Tweet
And one thing is absolutely guaranteed:
For the rest of our lives, there will always be something that we’ll be able to criticize ourselves about if we choose to do so.
And as time goes on, we will only find more and more things to be unhappy about. Our looks will never be faithful to us, they will never be preserved despite any and every attempt. We have to come to terms and believe that this striving for perfection is like chasing the wind – in a moment’s notice, anything that we once cherished will be different than what it was before.
So what if we stopped this cycle now?
Stopped setting unrealistic and unachievable goals for ourselves that only create a heavy burden.
Stopped walking away from the scale as if our joy and quality of life depend on that number.
Stopped thinking about ourselves more than we think about others.
Stopped comparing ourselves to our prettier / younger / curvier / thinner / more fit / more beautiful-skinned friends and chose contentment in the woman that God has specifically designed us to be.
Stopped breaking promises to ourselves when it comes to health and fitness.
Stopped finding our worth and value in a body that will one day turn to dust.
What if, today, you chose to take captive these negative, self-deprecating thoughts that you have all too often?
What if you focused on the state of your heart and who God says that you are instead?
You would be free.
What if we chose to take captive our negative thoughts on body image that we have all too often? What if we focused on who God says that we are instead? Click To Tweet
I honestly still have a lot of days where I feel as if I’m pursuing a battle that has already been lost. I hear myself thinking, “I’m never going to achieve this. I won’t ever be happy with the way that I look from head to toe. There will always be something that I will pick apart.”
And it’s true. I won’t achieve that contentment – and I can’t – on my own. And neither can you. Otherwise, you likely would have done it already.
Sweet friends, we have to fight daily for a better perspective.
And ultimately, that means believing the truth of the Gospel.
Do you really, truly believe it?
If we did – if we believed with every fibre of our being that the King of the Universe created us in His perfect image, that He thinks of us, loves us and died specifically for us, we would be far more content with the woman that He has made us to be – no matter what shape or size.
But instead, we lose sight of the truth of the Gospel.
We allow other people to define who we are and how we should look.
We spend far too much of our lives poking, prodding and botoxing ourselves.
I encourage you today to shift your focus toward using your body for God’s Kingdom, rather than displaying it for the approval of the world.
I challenge you to stop with the endless, defeating comments about your beauty and your body. Instead, speak boldly about things that actually last and focus on bettering the brokenness of your heart.
Let us stop with the defeating comments about our body. Instead, let's speak boldly about things that last and focus on bettering our heart. Click To Tweet
Let us start today:
Start taking care of our bodies in order to better serve our children.
Start using our fit and able bodies to love strangers in need who may not be as fit or able.
Start treating our body as the temple that God created it to be – not worshipping it as an idol, but instead embracing it as a gift to be taken care of.
Start having conversations with our friends that focus less on our hair and clothes and more on how we’re loving and who we’re serving.
Start thinking of ourselves so much less that we don’t even have time to critique, adjust and fix whatever it is that used to bother us so much.
In the moments when we want to criticize the state of our appearance, complain or pay money to ‘fix’ what we consider ‘broken’, let us focus on praying for God to fix our hearts instead.
Let's begin thinking of ourselves so much less that we don't have time to critique or fix whatever used to bother us about our bodies. Click To Tweet
I remind myself regularly that when I’m 70, I don’t want to look back to see that the majority of my life was consumed by beauty when that no longer matters.
As much as we try to avoid it with procedures, makeup and Spanx – beauty still fades. And that, sweet friends, is absolutely and completely inevitable.
(One more time.)
But your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, is of great worth in God’s sight. (1 Peter 3:4)
We won’t find peace on our own. We won’t even grow to love our bodies by reminding ourselves that we are special or beautiful. We will only find that freedom by abiding in God every morning, every afternoon, every night.
When we are constantly looking in the mirror at ourselves, we lose sight of what’s important around us. Loving people is all that will last when our lives inevitably come to an end.
Resolve to begin this journey today.
Choose to get rid of whatever criticisms that you have of yourself and live comfortably where God has you. Resolve to spend more time thinking about how you can love much instead of impressing much. Resolve to pursue God above all of your other desires. Listen to your own convictions that God has placed on your heart. Pray, read, meditate on who God is and who He says you are.
You will find your ‘beauty’ far, far easier that way. <3