Joy for My Arms.
Cute pic right? We were celebrating my BFF on her birthday. It was such a great evening! Great laughs, great food. But the second I saw this photo all I thought was:
“My arm looks fat. Why do I always mash my arm into my body? I need to hold it out away from my body so it doesn’t look so big. Maybe I need to just get a trainer and work on my arms specifically so I can lose the flab.”
Seriously! Y’all. That’s what I thought. Nothing else.
My journey to joy process included (and still includes) a lot of freedom in the areas of food and body image. It’s a struggle that began for me at a very early age.
In 6th grade I discovered the scale. My weight at the time was two numbers. But I soon realized it was going to be three numbers at some point. I didn’t want it to ever be three numbers! Well as luck, or rather genetics, would have it, I was destined to be 5 feet and 8 inches tall. My weight was never going to remain just two digits! And pretty soon it wasn’t.
But I was aware of it all now. I felt big. My feet were big. I was tall but I felt big. So, I started monitoring what I ate. Trying to control the number on the scale. And thus began a journey I am still on today. Praise God in heaven because I have experienced SO MUCH deliverance in this area of my life! But occasionally, I still get confused and think my worth and value are tied up in how I look and what my size is.
What I would give if we could abandon the numbering system for our sizes in clothes! Why can’t they just be random words? Or types of fruit. “Excuse me, do you have this in a lemon?” Of course they'd end up replacing size 2 with a grape so then we'd all just be striving to be grapes. I guess a size zero would be a raisin.)
But I digress. Shocker.
What I have to come back to is God’s truth. Thankfully it never changes.
"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14
I have to choose to stop and change my thinking. I AM fearfully and wonderfully made. I am one of God’s many works and his works are wonderful. I am wonderful! My body is wonderful! Flab and all!
Did you know God never talks about our body size or weight in the Bible? Never. Not once. I checked.
He does not ever set any kind of standard for our physical appearance. He very much cares about everything on the inside though. If we have an unhealthy relationship with food he actually does care. He cares about our health and our bodies, but he never tells us we need to aspire to a particular size or shape.
He definitely wants us to be healthy. But he knew “healthy” would look very different on everyone! So he didn’t get anywhere near dealing with the physical. He addresses our hearts. He asks us not to overeat. Not to overindulge. He recommends we don’t drink too much alcohol. He doesn’t want our bellies or taste buds to be gods to us. We should exercise self-control. He covers all of that. But those are all heart issues not weight issues.
So, I have chosen to fall in love with and find joy in my awesome arms! They are wonderful works of God! 🙂
My encouragement for all of us is this: Can you identify your “problem” areas? I know you can. And change them from “problem” areas to areas you love and cherish and find joy in? Will you try? You are a wonderful work of God! All of you! He loves you and he loves your body! So you should too!
(We’ll talk more about the heart issues that relate to food in the future. They are real and they matter but today, just love and find joy in all of you!)
Right now, name your area out loud, or write in your journal if you're at the office or something, but name your area and say you love it! Say it brings you joy! I love my arms and they bring me JOY! Now say it every time you look at your phone for the rest of the week. 😉
Have fun you wonderful work of God!