I have a confession. I am broken and I am flawed. By the world’s standards I am lacking in so many ways and far too often I let that idea control WAY too much of my thought life. I do not have the body I had at nineteen or heck even at thirty and probably never will again. Yet I allow the world to make me feel like I am less valuable because I can’t fit into a pair of size two jeans. Oh who am I kidding, I haven’t worn a size two since I was a toddler. I see so many of my beautiful friends fighting this same battle every day as well. They feel defeated and depleted because they don’t look like the world has convinced us we should look. We run ourselves ragged trying to have it all. By today’s standards the modern woman should have a lucrative career, be a perfect mother carefully balancing between being the overly protective helicopter mom and the laid back free-range mother and that’s just to keep DHR off of your doorstep. We should be carefully nipped, injected and tucked so no one really knows how old we really are and we should have a beach body that would rival Jillian Michael’s. Thanks Gloria Steinem, high five on the feminist movement. On top of all of these “standards”, we should all be “Pinterest perfect”. Come on, you know what I mean. Your house should look like it just appeared in the latest edition of Southern Living complete with a new farmhouse table you built with your bare hands in your spare time and your children’s birthday parties should rival most weddings. Because seriously, what kind of mother just orders pizza and grabs a cake from Publix?
Well I am fed up. I am tired of having my joy robbed and seeing my precious friends’ spirits diminished by this pursuit of ridiculous perfection, especially when it comes to body image. Now before I go ruffling the feathers of you fitness gurus & goddesses, please understand this is in no way a criticism of you. I truly admire my friends who have never battled weight issues because they have always remained active- kudos to you. I have two friends who every year when we have a girl’s weekend CHOOSE to go for a run while the rest of us veg in the spa. Yes, this is mind boggling to me- sweaty run vs. mimosas in the whirlpool. However, fitness is an integral part of who they are and I am proud of them. And a thumbs ups (or it might be another finger depending on the peri-menopausal mood swing of the day) to those of you not in your forties or fifties fighting thyroid, hormone and hereditary issues that make this battle feel impossible. That’s a whole other topic for discussion. I’m fairly certain an exorcism is needed on some days. LOL! This is more of a letter of encouragement and declaration of a reality check to those seriously struggling to feel like they are enough because of a damn number on a scale or size of their pants. ENOUGH girlfriends! Do you hear me when I say- ENOUGH! You are enough JUST THE WAY YOU ARE! Fleshy thighs, chunky butt, flabby arms and all!
A friend of mine once said something to me I try to recall whenever I am feeling less than fabulous. We were talking about the struggle with weight and she said “you know my grandmother had these arms. But when I recall memories of her, her arms are not what I remember”. Friends, this is SO true. When we are dead and gone, no one (well except maybe a few superficial friends we really shouldn’t care about in the first place) will remember the size of your rear or your flabby arms. What they will remember is the way you made them feel, the compassionate things you did for them and how you blessed their lives. Both of my grandmothers conjure images more consistent with Cinderella’s fairy godmother than Goldie Hawn. You know what, that didn’t make me love them less. I don’t look back and think “gosh, I would’ve enjoyed being around her more if she had just had a smaller waist”. My memories of them have more to do with who they were as women and the time they spent with me. The shape of their figure is NEVER what I remember.
Samuel 16:7 says “…The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart”. How often is this drowned out by the flood of messages telling us we have to be all of these things- mainly possess a supermodel’s physique? How many of us have known people who on the outside seemed to have it all yet inside have truly ugly spirits? How do those people make you feel? Somehow I doubt it’s full of joy and happiness. So here’s what I have figured out in my 42 short years on this earth. We are all just doing our best. Most of us are balancing a career, carting children from one activity to the next, and volunteering our time at church or in our community or at our children’s schools. On top of that we are trying to find time to squeeze in a date night with our spouse and if we are really lucky we can carve out time with our friends here and there. If you’re like me you feel like a hero if you actually feed your family a home cooked meal a couple of nights a week, much less be sure it’s all organic or considered gourmet. So I say all of this to say, give yourself a break. Keep fighting the healthy fight of trying to make good food choices and squeeze in that Tribe class before you zoom off to take your kid to football practice and I’ll do the same. But be kind to yourself. Worry more about what is on the inside. Heck, if we all obsessed as much about the state of our hearts as we do about the state of our thighs, we’d live in a very different world.