Day 7: Finding my beautiful
Thought for the Day: “Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
I don’t know a woman alive who is completely happy with her body. No woman I’ve met has ever said, “I eat healthy, I exercise, and I love the way I look 100 percent.” Not me, and I doubt you do either. Some perceived flaws are related to weight. But just as often, we find imperfections that exercise can’t cure, such as body shape, height, genetics, or signs of aging.
We tend to focus on what we see wrong with our bodies, including negative impressions and comments that stick with us from childhood. In middle school, weight wasn’t my biggest concern, but rather my ankles . . . yes, my ankles! A boy I liked once called them “tankles.” You bet that left a scar.
I will always have cellulite, stand 5’7, and have a low waistline. In the grand scheme of life, I know these are shallow concerns. But if I allow my brain to park in a place of dissatisfaction about my body, it gives Satan room to strip me of motivation by whispering, “Your body is never going to look the way you want it to look, so why sacrifice so much? Everyone eventually falls apart. Your discipline is in vain.” That’s why I have to seek the Lord’s perspective, such as the reminder in Psalms:
Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name . . . and forget not all his benefits — who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:1 – 5)
I’ve learned through God’s Word that the body He gave me is good. It’s not perfect, nor will it ever be on this side of eternity. But my body is a gift, a good gift for which I can be thankful. Being faithful in taking care of this gift and walking according to God’s plan gives me renewed strength to keep a healthy view of my body.
God didn’t curse my body with tankles and cellulite, and He has not cursed you. When I chose to view my body is as a good gift from God, I thanked Him for making me just the way I am. He revealed some benefits of my larger ankles, such as: I can hike with my husband, stand cheering for my kids at multiple sporting events, chase my dog through the yard, and never have a sprained ankle. Oh, what freedom! What redemption! What a sweet gift! I am able to look at those airbrushed, skinny-ankled women on TV or on the magazine covers and be happy for them without loathing myself.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” I’ve found my beautiful. And I like my beautiful. I don’t have to hold my beautiful up to other people’s bodies with a critical eye of judgment. I pray that you see your beautiful today and enjoy the blessings of the body that God gave you.
It’s hard to see one’s body as a gift – especially when you really, really don’t like what you see. I have never liked what I see – not when I was skinny, and most certainly not now when I am fat. Which tells me that weight (gaining or losing) is not the solution to my negative self-image. The solution is learning to trust what God says about me – that He loves me, He gave His son to me, I am precious, I am part of a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Will this immediately change my perspective on myself? Perhaps, but more than likely it will be a process as I continually submit myself to God’s truth and learn to trust what God says.