I saw a weight loss commercial on TV recently that grabbed my attention. The middle-aged woman in the advertisement was reminiscing about how she had missed out on taking so many pictures with her son because she was overweight and didn’t like her body. It wasn’t until she lost the weight with this miracle program that she was able to capture her memories with her son in pictures.
This commercial, like so many other messages we hear about our bodies and weight loss, troubled me for many reasons. Sadly, I have been there. I have missed out on pictures with my son because I felt fat and unhappy with my body. I have refused to put on a bathing suit to swim with him because the thought of wearing that dreaded suit was unbearable. I have let the way I feel about my body keep me from experiencing life, which has naturally had an effect on my relationships. Consequently, I know that even if this woman loses weight with this program and feels good enough about herself to take photos with her son, we are still missing the heart of the issue. It isn’t the weight that has kept this woman hiding behind the camera. It is a matter of where she finds her value.
Unwillingness to take a picture with someone you love because you don’t like the way your body looks, or spending 15 minutes to stage a picture that captures you in the most flattering angle, has more to do with where you find your worth than it does with the numbers on the scale. You are believing that the way you look is more important than your relationships. You are believing that if you can change the way your body looks, you will be more desirable, more loved, and more worthy. Sweet sister, these are the lies the enemy of our soul wants you to believe. I get it! I have lived life locked away in that dark place, where nothing in life has mattered to me more than what my body looks like. It’s a lonely, hard, and suffocating place.
How did I break free from the prison of fixating on myself and my body? It didn’t happen overnight. After years and years of searching and trying to change my body, I finally came to a place where I started to ask myself, What if I could find beauty in my body just as it is right now? For those of you who have struggled in this area for most of your life, you know this is a scandalous way to begin thinking. But I was tired. I was done trying to “fix” my body and continue putting life on hold until I reached that perfect weight. I started to look at my arms, my thighs, my tummy, and my hips and ask God to help me see them in a different light. At first, I felt like I was giving up and settling. I was afraid this type of thinking would lead to lots of weight gain and complete disregard for myself. Then I remembered that all the years of restriction and self-ridicule hadn’t saved me from weight gain and despair either. So I kept praying, and I kept challenging myself to see my body differently.
Can you find beauty right now, just the way you are? We all know diets and restriction only work for so long. Most of us understand that the picture society paints for us about what a beautiful woman looks like, is unrealistic, unhealthy, and very narrow. No matter how many hours I clock in at the gym, I will never have long slender legs. I am 5’ 2” with thicker thighs. That is the way God created my body. Can I find beauty in my shorter stature and more shapely legs? Years ago the answer to that question would have been, “NO! Absolutely not!” Today I am proud to say that with Christ I have fought to answer, “YES!” I am still fighting every day. However, now I understand that I am beautiful because I am God’s daughter. I was created in His image. Psalm 139:13-14 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Have you ever praised God for how He has created you???
Sisters, your beauty, inside and out, is from Christ and Him alone. Until you are able to find beauty in yourself just as you are—simply because you were formed by the loving Creator to whom you now belong—your value will always be based on the standards of this world. You can never live up to the world’s standards, but in Christ you are already enough! You are already redeemed, worthy, and valuable. Dare to believe that you can find beauty in who Christ made you to be, even in the midst of brokenness. You will not always love everything about yourself or your body, but you can find love and grace for yourself in Christ. Ask Him today to help you change the way you think about yourself and where your value comes from. Keep fighting. I am cheering you on and praying for you always!