I recently came across this piece, and was so challenged by it I shared it with a couple of close friends that I knew could relate to it just like I could.
The expectation of physical perfection. It strikes early, and with the explosion of social media the expectation only seems to grow. Comparison is one of the biggest, or possibly the biggest, form of war/idolatry in the lives of women today.
We’re constantly doing it. Comparing. Getting discouraged. Looking at our bodies with grief. Looking at others with envy. Waging perfect vs. imperfect.
“In this as in all things, there is hope and good news for the believer: one day we will be free of our self-loathings and will live in harmony with our physical appearance. We will be given new, incorruptible bodies—bodies that are no longer on a collision course with the grave. We dare not reduce this future hope to that of an eternity with thinner thighs or a smaller nose. We must celebrate it as the day when vanity itself is dealt a fatal and final blow.” via
January. The month of “I’m going to lose 10 pounds” and “An hour at the gym everyday.”
But Jen, the author of the article I mentioned above, challenges us with something different, and I absolutely dig it.
“What if we didn’t? What if we didn’t talk about body sizes at all? What if we made it a point not to mention our own calorie sins or victories in front of our girlfriends and daughters? What if we started living in right relation to our bodies now, instead of at the resurrection? What if every time we looked in the mirror and were tempted to complain, we said “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” laying claim to the future hope that our bodies will one day celebrate function in right relation to form, living in the glorious truth of that future hope now?”
In the past few months, I have steadfastly prayed for the Lord to right my view of exercise, body image, food, etc. And He graciously has… more than I ever could have imagined. So much so that I get aggravated when other people speak negatively about their bodies, or when I catch myself saying “Man, I shouldn’t have eaten that.”
What if this New Year we decided to fast not from food but from body talk?
Jen elaborates this way,
“Sure—hit the gym, eat the Paleo diet, run six miles a day, wear Spanx from neck to knee—just stop talking about it. Stop telling your friend she looks skinny—instead tell her you love her sweet spirit. Choose compliments that spur her to pursue that which lasts instead of that which certainly does not. If someone comments on your own shape, say thanks and change the subject. Banish body talk to the same list of off-limits topics as salaries, name-dropping and colonoscopies. Apply the discipline you use to work out to controlling your tongue. Do this for your sisters, and by the grace of God, we could begin a legacy of womanhood that celebrates character over carb-avoidance, godliness over glamour.”
Marvelous. Can’t you already taste the freedom? The joy?
A diet from discussing shape and size.