Psalm 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well (TNIV).
I don’t know anyone who is totally content with their appearance. Do you? I can remember growing up and constantly being critical of my hair, my body shape, my teeth, my eyebrows, and anything else I perceived as less than perfect. Of course, into adulthood I carried these same insecurities about the way I looked. In fact, for many years, every time I looked into the mirror, my eyes were inevitably drawn to whatever part of my body I most disliked at the time, which I must say was/is typically my thighs. Little did I know that having children would only serve to remind me all the more of my flaws, not because of the physical changes exacted by childbirth but because of my children’s brutal honesty regarding my appearance. I remember once when my youngest son, who was about six years old at the time, was following behind me as I walked up the stairs. I heard this little voice say, “Wow mommy, you have big thighs; actually… they’re huge!” It was relatively easy for me to just laugh off his comment because he meant no harm and was simply speaking from a place of child-like innocence, not to mention I totally agreed with him. Of course, my insecurities often left me searching for affirmation from others in hopes they would say nice things that would make me feel better about how I looked. One time in particular I asked my husband, “If you could change anything about my body, what would it be?” I knew it probably wasn’t a good idea to ask a question like that unless I knew for sure I could stand the answer. I was prepared for whatever he might throw my way, or so I thought. I just knew he was going to say something about my thighs; after all, I figured everybody in the world could see how ridiculously out of proportion they were to every other part of my body. In my wildest dreams, I never would’ve predicted my husband’s answer: “I’d give you broader shoulders.” I just had to laugh! Of course, I convinced myself the reason he said I should have broader shoulders was so they would match the width of my thighs. Pitiful, huh? Nonetheless, his answer was eye opening as it made me realize just how off we sometimes are in how we view ourselves as compared to how others see us.
As life has moved on, I’ve come to realize that no one’s appearance is perfect, regardless of who we are, how well conditioned our bodies are, or how young or old we are. And no one is immune to the voice of deception telling them they’re not pretty enough, not thin enough, not buff enough, not masculine enough, simply just not enough. So, who told us these lies that plague our existence and reveal themselves in the form of excessive dieting, bodybuilding, aerobic exercise, liposuction, botox, gastrointestinal bypass, butt, breast and body implants, caked on makeup, etc.? You don’t have to look very far to find the answer to that question. We see emaciated, physically flawless women in magazines, on runways, on billboards, on television shows, in infomercials, on perfume advertisements; we see the parallel for men in shows like Manhunt: The Search for America’s Most Gorgeous Male Model, in advertisements for everything from cologne to cell phones, in sports-centric films focusing on male strength and physical fitness and, of course, those infamous abs. Undoubtedly, the media plays a significant role in the shaping of our perceptions of what it means to be beautiful, physically well defined, and appealing to the other sex. Truth be known, we’re all desperately trying to measure up to airbrushed versions of the human body that are perfectly proportioned with no visible flaws whatsoever; bodies, and faces for that matter, that in no way reflect reality.
This begs the question: How can I possibly escape these unrealistic, self destructive messages that only serve to lessen my own self worth?
Limit exposure to the messages that drag you down.
- Don’t buy, view, or read content touting messages of perfect bodies
- Spend time with positive people who encourage and uplift you
- Make it a habit to compliment yourself on at least two things a day
- Offer a rebuttal to self criticism – write down the criticism and make an argument against it
Take to heart the portion of the Serenity Prayer that reads: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
- Change those things about your body over which you have control
- Reduce body fat
- Exercise a minimum of 30 minutes a day, five days a week
- Take dancing lessons
- Join a health club (and actually go)
- Exercise in your home with DVDs
- Do a blend of aerobic and strength training
- Stop yo-yo dieting
- Find a nutritional diet that meets your needs and satisfies your taste buds
- Get an accountability buddy to help you keep your focus
- Reduce body fat
- Accept those things about your body over which you have no control
- Learn to love the skin you’re inn
- Get rid of clothes that no longer fit you
- Wear clothes that fit and flatter your body type
- Focus on your body as a whole unit rather than dissecting it into parts you do and don’t like
- Stay away from the scales -they will only make you cry (lol)
- Measure success by how your clothes ffit and feel
- Measure success by how you feel
- Look around you to see that the world is filled with people of all shapes and sizes
- Learn to love the skin you’re inn
Realize your value doesn’t reside in your body alone
- Your being is made up of multiple parts
- Nurture all parts of yourself to find balance
The voice of deception says, “I’m just not enough the way I am…” But the voice of truth says… No body’s perfect! Psalm 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know full well (TNIV).