Sunday, July 6, 2014

Who told you that?

***note before you even start reading. This is not about health. I support all of my friends finding health in whatever way works best for their bodies, their lives and their priorities. I have lots of friends who teach exercise classes, sell nutritional products, etc. This isn't about that. This is about image and shame***

I am disgusting.


(turns to the side to look in the mirror from another angle)


I hang my head and step into the shower. Frustrated once again with my body. I continue to assess my stomach....oh my dreaded stomach. The part I hate most about myself. Really the only part I ever see....funny how it works that way. Oh wait, sometimes I see if I have a double chin or maybe if my arms look flabby. Yes, sometimes I can see those things. But mostly, it's my tummy.

I straighten up in the shower and look down again at my stomach. Finally, dejected, I kneel to spend time with my Jesus and this is what I hear,

"Who told you that, sweet B? Who told you that your stomach was supposed to look any different than it does right now? Because it wasn't me. I don't speak shame over you. Who told you that?"

This is a subject I've been processing a lot lately. If you are my friend (in person) we've probably discussed this. My friend, Alicia, even made a declaration that she was going to wear a bikini to the pool every day this summer - to encourage other women that yes, this is what women's (especially mamas) bodies really do look like and we should no longer be ashamed.. She's brave and she teaches me so much.

Today I read an article by Momastery where she notes "Your body is not your offering....your life is."

My body is not what I have to offer to this world. My life is.
My body is not what I have to offer to a man. My life is.
My body is not what I have to offer to my friends. My life is.
My body is not what I have to offer to my friends. My life is.

And the chains fall.

Yes, my body is a tool. It is what my soul lives in right now. I want to take care of it. Heck, I just got back from a 10 mile run and am making a salad for lunch! I do not, however, want to work out or eat right because it will help me look a certain way. Oh Jesus, I don't want to have that be my motivation! I want to work out because it makes my body and my soul feel good. I want to run and do yoga because breathing in and out reminds me of my God and settles my soul. I want to run outside because I can breathe clean air and look at those mountains and pray over the people I love. I want to do yoga because it's time by myself, taking care of me. My prayer is that my motivation is never so that I can have a "perfect summer body" because

my body is not what I have to offer to this world. My life is.

I want to spend my time, my energy, my heart and soul on pouring out into this world. I want to lead others to freedom and healing and beauty. I want to be a voice of truth that shouts out the lies in my world. I want to boldly and gently walk into the darkest places on the planet with light and hope.

THIS. THIS is my offering to this world.

Honestly, a little pudge around the middle....that simply reveals my offering. It's a part of it. My pudge is because I drink a tad too much coke and I eat ChickFilA (also because its genetic and I've had 2 babies). I drink more coke right now because I work 18 hours a day because I'm a single mom and I run 3 non profits. I eat chickfila some days because I'm tired after spending hours upon hours in conversation with people about their hardest, deepest, scariest wounds.

Maybe, just maybe....this is EXACTLY what I'm supposed to look like.

And maybe, just maybe....when I wonder more about what I'm supposed to look like than who I'm supposed to be, it breaks my Jesus' heart.

Oh how my heart would break into two to watch my little girl look in mirror with a critical eye. Oh how I would want to take her face in my hands and say "that is not your offering!!!! Who you are, sweet baby girl, is what matters. You are kind and you are brave. You have an emotional intelligence that outweighs almost every 8 year old girl on the planet. You are compassionate. You know your voice and you use it. You speak life into others" I would whisper with tears running down my face. I would beg her to please never look at her body like that again. I would beg her to see her beautiful soul every time she looks into the mirror because that is what I see.

Your life is your offering to this world. Make that beautiful. Pour into that. Spend time processing that. Evaluate it and pursue change if necessary. Speak hope and life into this world. Be YOU.

You are beautiful, dear one. Go look in the mirror right now and ask Jesus to hold your face and tell you what HE sees when He looks at you. 

....and now I'm off to put on my bathing suit to head to the pool in a bit. And I will wrestle. I don't have this figured out by any means....but I will work on not judging my body for it is not all I have to offer. I am so much more and I am going to choose to actually believe that. Will you join me?