This is to the woman who struggles with insecurity.
I see my reflection in the bathroom mirror, grab my stomach and immediately put my face in my hands, clenching my fists with frustration.
I hear my husband sigh, as he repeats the same lines that I’ve heard over 100 times by now. “Lindsey, you’re beautiful. You’re perfect the way you are. And you just had a baby. Give yourself grace.”
I roll my eyes, partially encouraged, but not fully receiving his wisdom simply because my unrealistic expectations – which both myself and the whole of society have perpetuated – don’t allow me to.
Some days, I’m starving for affirmation. Deep down, I know that I need to find my identity in Christ, but I’m struggling.
And I’m thankful that God speaks through my husband to help dispel the lies that I’m believing and to replace them with truth when I feel most defeated.
But some days it’s just hard because the body I’m walking around in doesn’t feel anything like my own. And it doesn’t change the opinions that people have of me, whether I want them to have them or not.
I don’t feel like I’m alone in this struggle.
To be honest, I don’t think I have ever met a woman in my entire life who hasn’t struggled with body image in one way or another.
Whether it’s a postpartum body, weight gain, wrinkles, skin problems, health issues, hair loss, too much hair – we all have our ‘thing.’
As women of God, we should strive to cherish and take care of our bodies. But instead, we are destroying them with image-altering plastic surgery and fad diets while pursuing unachievable and empty goals.
And one thing is absolutely guaranteed:
For the rest of our lives, there will always be something that we’ll be able to criticize ourselves about if we choose to do so.
And as time goes on, we will only find more and more things to be unhappy about. Our looks will never be faithful to us, they will never be preserved despite any and every attempt. We have to come to terms and believe that this striving for perfection is like chasing the wind – in a moment’s notice, anything that we once cherished will be different than what it was before.
So what if we stopped this cycle now?
Stopped setting unrealistic and unachievable goals for ourselves that only create a heavy burden.
Stopped walking away from the scale as if our joy and quality of life depend on that number.
Stopped thinking about ourselves more than we think about others.
Stopped comparing ourselves to our prettier / younger / curvier / thinner / more fit / more beautiful-skinned friends and chose contentment in the woman that God has specifically designed us to be.
Stopped breaking promises to ourselves when it comes to health and fitness.
Stopped finding our worth and value in a body that will one day turn to dust.
What if, today, you chose to take captive these negative, self-deprecating thoughts that you have all too often?
What if you focused on the state of your heart and who God says that you are instead?
You would be free.
I honestly still have a lot of days where I feel as if I’m pursuing a battle that has already been lost. I hear myself thinking, “I’m never going to achieve this. I won’t ever be happy with the way that I look from head to toe. There will always be something that I will pick apart.”
And it’s true. I won’t achieve that contentment – and I can’t – on my own. And neither can you. Otherwise, you likely would have done it already.
Sweet friends, we have to fight daily for a better perspective.
And ultimately, that means believing the truth of the Gospel.
Do you really, truly believe it?
If we did – if we believed with every fiber of our being that the King of the Universe created us in His perfect image, that He thinks of us, loves us and died specifically for us, we would be far more content with the woman that He has made us to be – no matter what shape or size.
But instead, we lose sight of the truth of the Gospel.
We allow other people to define who we are and how we should look.
We spend far too much of our lives poking, prodding and botoxing ourselves.
I encourage you today to shift your focus toward using your body for God’s Kingdom, rather than displaying it for the approval of the world.
This blog was written by Lindsey Maestas. Click here to read a little more about her. She also has an amazing podcast called The Living Easy Podcast. Great to listen to while cleaning, cooking or driving.