We can’t run away from it. We can’t get away from it. We can’t live up to it. Well, what is it?
IT is the silent but deadly notion that we must be a better version of ourselves to be adored, loved, and cared about.
How many subliminal messages have you seen, heard, overheard, participated in, flipped through that relay this message?
Everywhere we look there are advertisements telling us what we need to look like in order to fit in. There are products we need to buy to get going. There are blogs that tell us if we follow these five things or X, Y, Z that we can then measure up. There are sundry commercials that remind us that we just don’t conform to society’s mold. There are coworkers who degrade other coworkers who are trying to win this battle. Then there are friends who altogether ignore the call to care for the body.
There is a battle going on, and I feel we can win.
however, we are at a place in society that we can’t talk about getting healthy without being labeled a judgmental fat-a-phobe, and on the other hand, we can’t talk about just loving our body as it is without being labelled lazy and a slob.
Stay with me here.
Where is the medium, the common ground of loving ourselves and keeping ourselves in good health while not succumbing to the mental breakdown of hating ourselves?
I want to challenge you, reader. Regardless of what the media, friends, family, coworkers, check out cashier, and 2-oclock infomercials tell you. Regardless, I want us to practice loving our bodies.
You see, this hits a soft spot with me. I suffered from an eating disorder for years and disordered eating for years more, and now. You can read parts of my journey HERE. However, every now and again, I get down on how I look or am reminded that I don’t fit the mold of my collegiate track runner body. If I get down, I know you get down. Please don’t let me be alone in this. We need each other in order to stand. I’m not looking for a pity party and I’m not looking for sympathy. I want us to stand together, loving ourselves. We cannot marry our self-worth and self-image into one.
So how do we beat this? How do we love ourselves? Do we just not care anymore? Do we workout like fiends? Do we turn of the TV? Do we crawl into hole and just sit there?
Ok those might be starts. Kidding, no. Not starts.
Here is how we can win at this torturous battle.
We must remember that our identity is NOT in what we look like. It isn’t in how many stretch marks remain after our 3rd child. It is not in how much money you make. It is not in what size of clothes you have to buy compared to your sister. It is not in what car you drive. It is not in your husband. It is not in how many cat-calls you get while working out. It is not in your ability to blog. It is not in the number of retweets you get. It’s not the number of likes and followers you have on Instagram. It is not in the TV shows you watch or don’t. It is not in the number of friends you have. It is not in how many bible verses you have memorized. It is not in how spiritual you appear to be to others. It is not in how many hours you have racked up volunteering at local humane society. It is not recorded in how much you saved by penny pinching at the grocery store. It is not in how many calories you burned or consumed. It is NOT in any. of. these. things.
So where is our identity?
In order to beat this struggle, we have to find our identity in Christ.
God made us in his image. He didn’t look at a cow and say, “well, that’s fitting, you should be a cow.” He didn’t look at a tree and say, “well, that’s nice, be a tree.” No, he looked at himself, and looking at himself, he fashioned us perfectly in his image. We, as humans, are unique to every other creation, because we are designed in his likeness.
When we surrender our lives to Christ and confess our identity crisis issues among other things to Christ, we are made new. Brand new creations perfected in the love of Jesus. See 2 Corinthians 5:16-21
We are made in the likeness of God himself. We no longer have to succumb to how the world wants us to be and what we think we need to see ourselves as. We can get rid of our old identity that is so laborious and unfulfilling, and cling to Christ. See Ephesians 4:20-24
You were not only designed in the image of a perfect God, but you were selected by God himself! See 1 peter 2:9
You are God’s workmanship. His handiwork. His prized possession that he would gladly show off to everyone and say, “LOOK AT THIS BEAUTIFUL PIECE OF ART I CREATED!” That is YOU! See Ephesians 2:8-10
I need this reminder more than anything. Day in….and day out. Every moment of every day, because I am a self-deprecating woman who forgets so easily where her worth resides.
I hope this post has encouraged you. You are beautiful, not because your selfie got 154 likes and not because you bought a new dress, but because the creator of the universe has knitted you together in perfect love and desires to have a relationship with you.
Let your self-worth and your identity reside in Christ. Only here is there perfect harmony between self-image and self-worth.