You are Worth More than the Number on the Scale
Body image. I am just going to come out and say it, being a woman, in today’s culture is hard. Really hard. It seems like everywhere I (we) go, there are countless, hundreds of images begging for our attention. Hundreds of expectations and lies claiming to tell us what a beautiful woman should look like, does look like and the said thing is, I believe now we are almost used to it.
I will be honest, I’ve struggled with body image for a good portion of my life. I don’t remember many insecurities popping up until puberty or so. Let’s be real, those junior high years are tough and even though I was home schooled and missed out on some of the terrible things people go through in a typical junior high experience, I still felt award and clumsy in my changing body and I believe, that is where the lies started.
Lies like, “You need to lose weight,” or “You are worth more if you are beautiful,’ etc. It amazes me that even when surrounded by truth (my parents were always great at encouraging us) how easily the lies can still creep in and overtake. Slowly, my eating disorder and body image obsession began taking over and I found myself believing and acting upon lies that I thought were truth.
Through the dark days of an eating disorder, Christ still showed Himself faithful by slowly, gently, revealing truth to me in his Word. Verses like, Isaiah 43:4 which says, “You are precious and honored in my sight and I love you…” or “You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.” (Song of Songs 4:7) reminded me of where my worth was found and started to change my corrupted thinking.
It took time (if you want to read more about my eating disorder and my biggest tips on recovery you can find the posts here and here) but through accountability and conscious efforts of replacing lies with truth, I started to see my body not as Christ sees it.
Precious. Honored. Loved. Designed by Him. Capable of great things. Strong. Unique.
And when I began realizing His unique value and worth He had stamped on my life from the beginning of time, my mindset began to shift and it was easier for me to see myself in His light. After I got married and then got pregnant, I became even more amazed with my body and grateful that I could carry a baby in my womb, give birth, and grow stronger from the entire experience. Watching my body change and grow and shrink and sustain life confirmed the ever growing truth in my mind, that are bodies are amazing and designed with purpose. And as I think more and more about these truths and look at just what my body can do (instead of the number of the scale, the size of my pants, the amount of muscle in my legs, etc.) have a baby, run a MARATHON, run errands, cook and clean, etc; I find myself less concerned with what I look like and more with whose I am and what I can do with the body I’ve been given.
Is every day feel as good as I just described? No. There are days that I don’t feel pretty or am discouraged with how my body feels/looks/etc. BUT, it is usually those days too that I am battling comparison or my period is about to come, or I’ve lost my focus and am obsessing over the number on the scale, etc. And when those lies come, I battle the lies with truth.
The truth that I am designed with purpose. That my value comes from who made me and not my image. That my body can do amazing things. And that my hope is not in what I look like, but in Jesus. And it’s it when I realize and again, confirm and accept, these truths as truth, that I can press on, put together a pretty outfit, run 10 miles, or curl my hair and truly feel beautiful.
Eating disorders and body image struggles don’t always magically disappear, most times it is a daily choice of what I am going to choose to believe and hope in and act upon. Some days I still struggle with body image, like I know most women do, but my encouragement to myself and to you (if you are struggling) is this: Remind yourself first of where your worth truly comes from and secondly: appreciate just what your body can do for you. In the words of pro runner, Lauren Fleshman, “Think about what your body can do for you, rather than what you want to take away from it…”
As a runner, I want to focus on what my body can do, how I can run a marathon and how as a wife and mom I am strong enough to have energy to take care and love my family.
Does this mean that I shouldn’t have fitness goals and only focus on this sort of ambiguous ‘healthy lifestyle/ body appreciation goal?’ Not necessarily. I believe that chasing down big fitness goals and running goals (hello, Boston) is totally awesome, as long as the goal isn’t to change a part of the body because I don’t like it or because I want to look like the air brushed model in the magazine. As long as I can focus on fitness goals while loving my body the way it was designed and finding my identity in Christ and not in the number on the scale, then I will go for it.
It is a constant, continually thought process that I need to keep in check. And as Christ continues to make me more like Him, I become less and less worried about what I look like and more concerned with who He is.
So friend, if you are struggling or have struggled, I say this to you (and to myself) that you are worth so, so much more than the number on the scale and more than the size of your pants. You are not only in this struggle that so many women go through too. Remember to celebrate what your body can do and find your hope in what Jesus says about who He created us to be.