Rejecting my body
In high school I didn't love my body like I should have. I fed it artificial food, lots of sugar, and lots of things I thought were healthy but lacked important nutrients it needed. I worked out because I disliked my petite/boyish figure and wanted some muscle to give me shape. I envied my curvy friends. I rejected the way God made me and focused on the (unrealistic) images I saw around me as the "ideal body".
The year before my wedding I was obsessed with having the perfect body. I wanted to look perfect in my wedding dress. I wanted to look perfect on the beach during my honeymoon. I wanted my hubby to look at me and say "wow". (Even though he already loved me the way I was!) I worked out 5-6, sometimes 7 days a week. I ate little to nothing to try and keep any "fat" off my mid section. There's nothing wrong about working hard towards a goal, like a wedding, or trip. But I went about it all wrong, in my head AND HEART. When I look at pictures now, I admit that I looked good in the dress and good in the bathing suit, but I went about it the wrong way. I idolized my body by perfecting it.
In my early 20s I found out I had (very) high cholesterol. I was shocked. I worked out regularly and I thought I ate good. I found out it was hereditary and was given a plan of attack to keep it in control through exercise and what I ate. Through that experience, I realized what I knew about food was wrong. I had been neglecting all the important nutrients I needed. I neglected the proper education to keep my body healthy. I thought "low fat" or "fat free" on the label meant it was fair game. And I thought if it was packaged in a cute container, it was perfectly appropriate for my full time schedule. While I looked healthy on the outside (except for that awful tan...yikes!) I wasn't healthy on the inside. I neglected to educate myself on what exactly my body needed to grow, to heal, to be healthy.
When I became pregnant, everything changed. I went from never wanting my belly to "pooch" to checking weekly to see if I had a bump yet. I couldn't wait! I realized that pregnancy is a miracle. I realized God made my body to carry Landon. To be the protection for him as God made him inside me. I realized my body was an amazing creation, made by God, exactly the way it was for a reason. I embraced my flaws, I saw them as things that made me unique and set me apart. I protected my body as it created the little human that God had blessed us with to raise and love. Once I had Landon, my viewpoint on my body became the healthiest it's been yet. I saw my body feed Landon for over a year through breastfeeding. I watched as my body adapted to what was needed for him. I realized that my body is made exactly like it is for a reason. And while it's not "the perfect/ideal body" and I still have times when I revert back to unhealthy views, I now accept it, love it, and am so stinkin' proud of what it's done! I work very hard to protect it. I can better accept (I'm still human, it's still a struggle to accept at times) the imperfections. The wrinkles, age spots, sun damage, scars, stretch marks, jiggles - all of it! Because each "imperfection" has a story.
When I look at the woman in the pictures above, I see a happy person who exercised and watched how she ate. Somebody who was "fit" by the world's standards. But she went about it with wrong motives. When I look at the woman in the pictures below, I see a person who exudes confidence and TRUE acceptance of the body God gave her. A woman who has educated herself on what honors and glorifies God by protecting the body he's given me. A woman who has surrendered her body over to Him to use as HE sees fit. To love that body the way he loves it. And not because of the outward appearance, but because of what's on the inside - the heart. And not because of my own efforts, but because of God's work IN me. I see a woman who strives each day to protect the body that God has given her to do HIS WORK here on Earth.
God created our bodies. Jesus died for our bodies. And for those of us who have surrendered our lives to Christ, the Holy Spirit lives INSIDE our bodies. (see 1 Corinthians 6:19-20) Our body is a big deal to God.
Think about all the ways you reject, perfect and neglect your body. Now take those to the Lord, admit defeat and failure, repent and ask for strength and guidance in protecting your body instead. Ask Him to help you see your body as beautiful as he does!
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14