Love the skin you’re in. We’ve all heard it. Its a wonderful theory. Sometimes though, its not quite reality.
Good morning mamas and other readers! Today I’m going to talk about something we all probably deal with pretty often if not on a daily basis. How could we not in our beauty crazed, body obsessed, size does matter after all, culture? Love the skin you’re in. Its a nice token, but really now, is it even possible??
I am 5’8″ tall give or take an inch depending on my posture. I weigh well over 200 lbs. (something that shocks me every time I hear it or say it) I wear anywhere from a Large to a 2xl and I’m currently in a size 16 jeans, that is if the jeans are true to size and I don’t have to run around the store like a chicken with my head cut off trying to find one blasted pair of pants or shorts that fit; but I digress. And don’t even get me started on bras; talk about a struggle, just try finding a good sports bra now days that effectively holds everything in without making you look like someone’s lopsided Italian sausage. Not pretty. So according to my doctor, my FitBit, and every health tracking app out there, I am obese. Just like roughly 1/3 to 1/2 of our population today, probably more if we are being honest.
That all being said, loving the skin I am in isn’t something I excel at right this very moment. Especially when I have been working my butt off (unfortunately not literally) to lose the weight I gained after Hashimoto’s and three pregnancies took their toll on my body. I am not the only one out there who struggles with this. I know I’m not. My best friend is way down at the other end of the scale. Literally. It barely registers past 100 lbs. when she steps on it. And she has heard every manner of seemingly well meaning comment about whether or not she is sick, has an eating problem, needs to see a nutritionist, or gets enough meat in her diet (another issue I will tackle on another day).
So here we are. Women of all shapes and sizes. From all walks of life. From all circumstances and all manner of various health issues. Having countless responsibilities aside from the daily struggle to make ourselves look and feel beautiful and not go out looking like a hot mess walkin. And society tells us to love the skin we’re in. HAHAHAHA
Sardonic, slightly jaded laughing aside, how is this even possible? This is a question I have been struggling with for roughly the past 6 months. Longer to be honest but lately its been something I can’t run from or hide from or pretend I am cool with, its cool, it doesn’t bother me none.
Poor hubby has been amazingly supportive through all of the crying fits, angry ranting and raving, despondent moments of chocolate ice cream bingeing, and obsessive weeknight health and food documentary watching. He’s amazing ya’ll. Seriously. So he loves me in spite of this all. He desires me in spite of it all. And he values me in spite of it all. He sees me as more than my weight. My dress size. My ability or failure to get under ten minutes a mile when I go running pushing my two tots in the double stroller that is now tipping the scales at almost 75 lbs. combined. He cares about it don’t get me wrong. He wants me to be healthy and happy and content with myself almost as much as I do; but he doesn’t obsess about it. Because to him I am more than all that. How amazing right?
But wait, it gets better. So much better. Because try as he might, my amazing hubby can’t be my champion all the time. He can’t be there in the dressing room with me reminding me that I am more than the number on the tag, or at the LuLaRoe party with me and all the skinny girls trying on clothes I would look like a whale in, reminding me that I am working with a personal trainer, eating healthy, and exercising every chance I get and I wont be here in this place forever. He just can’t. And he’s not supposed to. Imagine how exhausting it must be for him sometimes? Then imagine if he had to do it all the time….
Thankfully, I have a personal champion who never gets tired of telling me that I am beautiful. That I am valued. Loved. More than all of those things that I let label me. You guessed it. Jesus. Jesus is constantly whispering edifying words of support and encouragement into my mind and heart whenever the issue of my body threatens to take me over and swallow me whole.
Society screams at me that I need to fix myself, that I am not doing enough, that I am unhealthy. Or it tells me to be complacent. That I am just fine. That I don’t need to change. And that anyone who dares offer health advice is body shaming me and should be ashamed of themselves in turn. Jeez o peets. How are we supposed to contend with this bipolar world we live in?
Jesus. Jesus offers us, offers me, the truth every time. He says to us,
“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself” 1 Cor. 6:19
“I am fearfully and wonderfully made” Psalm 139:14
“We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
“I sought the Lord and he answered me, he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” Psalm 34:4-5
These are just a few of the truths that God’s Word has to offer us about this topic. There are so many more. Verses that remind us that we are wonderful, beautiful, radiant, made for a purpose, created by a God who does nothing on accident and has a plan for each of His creations.
So yes, it can be impossibly difficult to feel valued and beautiful in a world where our flaws are constantly being picked at and examined, a world that contradicts itself time and time again, a world that values the plastic air brushed bodies of celebrities in magazines more than the bodies of women who have sacrificed of themselves to help bring life to beautiful children. A world that will tell you that you are the sum of the numbers used to measure breasts, hips, waist, thighs… But these are lies.
The truth is easily accessible; and while God desires nothing more than for us to be our healthiest selves and to treat our bodies as the temples He has designed them to be, He does not shame us when we lose our way and the number on the scale begins to creep higher, or lower, than is healthy for us. He simply beckons us to begin again our journey towards optimal health all the while whispering to our hearts and minds that we are beautiful, valued, loved, purposefully made.
This is what makes it possible for me to love the skin I am in. Because it may not look like the skin I so desire to be in down the line; but this skin, this body, has done so much good. Birthed two amazing children. Ran countless races and miles upon miles of trails. Lifted my child in the air like an airplane. Provided a soft landing place to recover from bumps and scrapes. And offered comfort, solace, and satisfaction for my husband. My body has done all of this and more, and while I may not be where I want to be right now; this body is more than capable of bringing me to where I need to go.