So I don’t typically title my blogs after pop stars like Justin Bieber but this lyric seemed fitting for today. I talk a lot about living in freedom and walking out this earthly journey in a spirit that is “freed up”. Freed up of the world’s opinion, freed up of what they say you should be and do & freed up from whatever your vice is in this life. As women, we also need to be freed up from self-condemnation, specifically the ugly words we speak to ourselves about our bodies. I have not mastered this at all but I’m trying and I think it is a topic worthy of discussion.
I ran across this quote recently: “I wish you self-esteem so high that you’re humble.” Wow. Because here is the thing, we were created by a King, we could have no higher value in His eyes and we are adored, every inch of us. I have been highly critical of my own body for as long as I can remember and it just serves no good purpose. It is actually kind of awful because I have a healthy body. I don’t have a perfect body but I have a body that is healthy. I am not sick, I can run and exercise and this body helps me get a lot done every single day. I was reminded recently that a healthy body is such a gift. So what if it doesn’t look perfect? Who cares if my thighs don’t shrink or my arms never get toned enough for my liking? Nobody but me because I promise nobody is going to remember the size of my thighs, arms or any of these superficial things when I die. They will remember how I treated them and how I lived my life. I have been reading about organs and bodily functions and human bodies are pretty amazing. The blood in my body provides me with oxygen and nutrients. My heart receives the blood from my body and pumps it into my lungs. My lungs allow me to take in air and breathe it out. My kidneys filter hundreds of quarts of blood on a daily basis and help me rid my body of waste and excess fluid. My arms & hands help me in most every exercise routine, they have held my babies and countless others, they have held grieving loved ones, they have held flowers as my best friends got married, they have cooked (a little), and allow me to write and type. My legs hold me up each day and support me as I walk, run, and exercise and those limbs make sure I get from point A to point B. I know every mother who has ever written or blogged on body issues says something like this but it is pretty awesome so I am gonna say it too – my body housed two humans for 9 months and then my body was the vessel used for those humans to safely arrive in this crazy, beautiful world. God chose women to be the carriers of life. That is super humbling and super awesome!
The bible tells us that the body is our temple so we are meant to care for it and make responsible decisions that will lead us to experience healthy life – life to the full. Our bodies being temples does not mean that we are to worship them or obsess over them. After all, bodies are only one part of our triune being which also consists of our mind and soul. (some say spirit but I grew up Baptist and that still freaks us out a little:) All three of these components need to be healthy so in the case of our bodies we have to focus on what we put into our minds about our bodies because that will then affect our soul. If you are a mother and still have body issues, you have a double whammy because the things you believe and say about your body are affecting your daughter and shaping her thought pattern about what it means to be a woman and how she should look. It is no secret that our attitudes and our words affect our kids and for Moms, that is also true regarding the words we use to describe our bodies. For example, I try to never use the word “skinny” because it is misleading to a kid. I opt for words like “healthy” and “well-balanced” because skinny should not be the goal but healthy should. Try never to let your daughter see you look in the mirror and belittle any part of yourself because of what you see. I guarantee that all she sees is beauty. The world has been telling us our whole lives what beauty looks like & we see women baring their seemingly perfect bodies all over t.v. and magazines but now it is also all over social media. The social media age has created a generation of kids that take the Bieb’s lyrics to a whole notha’ level. They really love themselves or at least want us to think they do because they drive to locations to get the perfect pic and post a million selfies a day to show us. They are craving something and they think it is “likes” on social media but it is so much more. We were made for love and we need it shown and spoken into our lives. That is probably a different post for a different day though so back to our bodies:)
Love is a strong word so can we just begin by liking our bodies? By just being thankful for all the functions they perform every day? Even if you currently have some sickness in your body there are probably still some parts to be thankful for. I do an intense boot camp class three days a week and yoga on the other days and I have tried to get into the habit of thanking God for my body because it allows me to do these rigorous workout routines every day. I even try to be thankful that I can to do burpees:) It puts the focus on the positive instead of focusing on the things I dislike about my body. The world feeds us this image of what beauty is and what we “should” look like and the truth is that there is no one way to beauty. I know beautiful women in every shape, size, and color and you probably do too. The devil is a liar and he would love for us to see all the images around us and think we have to achieve that because if we focus on that it will consume us and there won’t be time for much else particularly thankfulness or real relationship. In the war against our bodies, we also have to protect our minds & keep our focus in the right place. We should strive to eat well to fuel our bodies and we should strive to exercise to keep our muscles active and engaged so that our bodies are strong for tasks that require strength. That strength may be needed for rearranging the furniture in our living room or it may be that we will need that strength to combat disease one day. We should strive for excellence in all we do, including our physical apperance but we should do that not so we are favored by people in the world but because we are protecting and loving what we have been given. Our bodies are our vessel to the world and if we want to accomplish the desires of our hearts we are gonna need our mind, body and soul along the way.
Hopefully some of you can relate to this & maybe together we can take back our bodies and we can each be proud of what we have and not constantly try to change it or belittle it. Those negative voices in our heads about our bodies can get louder and louder and gain way more power than we should ever let them have. I am going to be over here trying my best to not be so critical of my own body and teaching my daughter to love her body too. I am teaching her to fuel it with healthy things to be healthy and I am standing against that she has to look a certain way or to be a certain size because society says so. Will you join me?
I plan to expand this blog in the near future to include fashion as well as some other projects I am working on so please keep reading and following and invite your friends to join us too! Excited for all that is to come! God Bless & have the best week of your life!