By Emily Sutherland
Nearly every woman I know has a complicated relationship with herself, specifically with her body. We are all over the spectrum, ranging from obsessing with our appearance to ignoring our physical bodies entirely. Sometimes all in the same day, if you’re anything like me.
When we made our New Year’s resolutions just a few weeks ago, many of us set goals that involved taking better care ourselves this year… getting in shape, eating more nutritiously, and so on. All those things are so good. But the promises we make to ourselves to accomplish them are constantly at war with the lies we believe about who we are.
I’ve neglected self care for long seasons, then wondered why I felt resentful and spent. I’ve then gone to great lengths to take better care of myself only to become obsessive and self-centered. Those extremes were evidence that I was focusing on my outward self while the real, eternal me was malnourished. I needed to feast on truth, bask in my Creator’s presence, and allow my thoughts, decisions, and actions to flow out of a healthy connection with the Lover of my Soul.
We are so much more than our bodies. But we forget to believe it. When we don’t feel beautiful, it’s tempting to go for all those marketing ploys that promise flawless skin, perfect bodies, and luscious hair. But really, what could be more stunning than the smile that comes from knowing in our depths that God is for us? A chiseled waistline can’t compare with the confidence that we are being lovingly embraced by the One whose face is so radiant, we can’t even look at it without falling in our tracks.
Our brains and bodies are specifically wired to fulfill the purposes for which we were uniquely created. Yet we easily get sidetracked when we compare ourselves to so-and-so. If we truly know that the Creator of the Universe is singing over us at this very moment, why are we so hard on ourselves?
No one does you better than you. Friend, believe it. Being beautiful is who you are, because you were created just as your Savior saw fit. The world needed a you. And here you are! What could be more beautiful than living your story, knowing it is all part of His eternal story?
It’s about believing the very words of God after He created woman and said she was “very good.”
When you understand the love and care with which you were created, if you believe God when He says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love,” and when you live in awareness of His presence, the temporary stuff doesn’t matter quite so much. You may even find yourself living in a spirit of gratitude that causes you to nourish and care for your body, mind, and soul in healthy ways. But those things are simply the result of a healthy relationship with the One who crafted you with such excellence.
Real change doesn’t happen merely through behaviors or habits, but through our deeply held beliefs. Your heart, like a compass, leads the rest of you to a place where you find peace with yourself—every part of you. Let it lead you to the throne of heaven, where all things are made right.
“…There’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master: Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him.” (Phil. 3:20-21 MSG)
Emily Sutherland is a wife, mom, and professional writer whose life has been an adventure in trusting God to open doors far better than she dared to dream. Whether she is creating voice-overs, magazine features, product packaging, or web content, Emily digs for the heart of any subject, seeks the Eternal in the mundane, and finds humor wherever possible. She blogs at emilysutherland.me.