Today, I completed the best workout that I’ve done in a while. I felt so accomplished (and tired) when I finished – like, I could move mountains. Then, I looked in the mirror. Yikes. I am just not one of those girls who look super cute and put together after a workout. I look like I barely survived dying.
Truthfully, I have always struggled with my physical appearance. I have always wished that I was skinnier, that my complexion was more even, that I was more athletic and coordinated. For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with this. There have been a few moments in my life where I was satisfied with my appearance, but they were short lived.
When you add to that insecurity the fact that my ex-husband left me for a younger woman, my perception of myself bottomed out. When he first left, I couldn’t eat and I lost around 20 pounds in less than a month. Granted, I WANTED to lose 20 pounds, but I was not healthy. I know people tried to help me with this, but emotionally I couldn’t do anything about it.
I’ve had an ongoing battle ever since. I’ve gained that weight back, and I’m back to feeling very self conscious about my size and appearance. But, I’m healthier. And I feel better. And I’m happier. Sometimes I think, do I really have to pick one or the other? How fair is that? Can’t I be the size that I want to be AND be healthy and happy? I’m working towards that goal now- the goal of liking my size while being healthy and active. It is a slow process (the process was so much faster when I didn’t care about the healthy and happy part). But, I also have a new sense of determination. Because now I’m setting goals for myself, instead of to please someone else, or to convince someone that I am worthy of his time and attention. There is great freedom in my new perspective.
As I was cleaning today, I found this notecard. The verse is Psalm 84:1 (NIV). I can’t remember which Bible study this came from, but I remember the message very clearly – our bodies are the dwelling places of the Holy Spirit. They are lovely. Stop nick-picking every flaw and praise the God who created you. I needed this reminder today. Maybe you do, too.
This doesn’t mean that I worship my body and make an idol out of physical improvement. This also doesn’t mean that I stop trying to improve myself. I am responsible for my body. I want to be healthy and make sure I am physically capable of doing whatever God calls me do. It does mean that I stop comparing myself to others, and stop letting others decide how I view myself. It means that whether I eat or drink (or go to the gym, or run, or hike, or take a day off to rest), I do all for God’s glory and not man’s. And that is truly a lovely goal.