“How can this be my reality? How can this be?”
These were my thoughts as I sat on the beach – 34 weeks pregnant, 30 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight, and sweating like a pig. These were my thoughts as I considered the possibility that the Lord may never take away the struggles I have with my body.
Sitting in my beach chair, looking out at the horizon, I was reminded how amazing of a creator our God is: the breathtaking blues of the sea, the plentiful grains of sand, and the extraordinary creatures that live under the water. I was admiring His incredible design, yet I was angry at Him. I was angry and annoyed that I still faced many struggles with my figure. I was angry that I could wake up everyday and look in the mirror and not like what I see. Honestly, I was angry that God wasn’t working in the way I wanted Him to. I was confused at God’s reasoning and plans for my life. Anger because I’ve been praying for this struggle to be taken away since my senior year of high school; 5 years ago.
I was angry at the creator of the ocean that I was praising. I was angry at MY creator.
This feeling isn’t new to me. And unfortunately, most girls I know have this feeling too. The feeling of being unsatisfied, unhappy, and upset with the way my body looks. The battle of knowing my worth is in Christ but sometimes feeling like my worth is in the way I look.
Why is this such a common struggle? Why are so many girls plagued with this illness of worshipping our bodies instead of our creator?
And friends, I feel like the “Christiany” answer is seemingly simple – we are sinful. The world we live in and the culture we are surrounded by doesn’t push us towards worshiping God. It doesn’t push us towards setting our mind on Christ and fighting to live a set- apart life as believers. It pushes us to idolize our bodies and worship the way we look. I have seen this in so many areas of my life. I sit and try to focus on spending time with the Lord but I grab for my phone – scroll on instagram – and see people showcasing their bodies. I go to Kroger and see the checkout lane lined with, “Be Your Best Self” or, “Lose 20 Pounds in 1 Week” magazines. And then I see the tabloids – the ones that openly shame celebrities for the way their bodies look. And soon enough, I’m bought in. It doesn’t take long to forget about my worth in Christ and place my worth in the way I look.
One day I want to be able to say that body image issues are a part of my past, but that day is not today. Today I want to be able to say that God is enough. I want to be able to say I am satisfied with the way my creator knit me together. I want to be able to confidently say these things everyday for the rest of my life.
I must preach this to myself when I sit on the beach – heavy, sweaty, and swollen. I must preach this to myself when my mind starts to wander and I begin to go down a self- destructive path. I must think about things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
Philippians 4: 8-9
This is what I must think about when I roll my big pregnant body out of bed to pee for the 50th time at night. This is what I must remember when thoughts of comparison and issues with my body cross my mind. I must think about Jesus. I must think about the beautiful truth that my Creator gave me a perfect way, through the blood of Jesus, to spend eternity with Him. The God of peace loves me and cherishes me, His child, and this is what I will fix my mind on.
How amazing would it be to spend everyday of my life in peace and joy? I have to think that the reason I don’t always feel this peace is because I am not meditating on God’s truth. When I am comparing my body to others, or wishing my arms would flab a little less, or wishing my thighs would be a lot smaller – I don’t feel peace. I’ve never felt peace from comparison but I have felt peace from God.
These are parts of my journal and parts of my heart that I prayerfully pour out to my friends on the internet, all in hopes that it encourages someone who is struggling with the same things I am and to lean on the Lord. To help myself and someone else see that these struggles may never be taken away in this life but that does not mean God is ignoring us or that He doesn’t care – it means that it’s not part of our story just yet. Our story is already written by the holiest of holies and to experience true peace we must believe that His story for us is much better than one we could ever write for ourselves. His promises to us are true and they are beautiful.