Ashamed of your body? Stop! A pep talk on how to accept yourself.

Does feeling “fat” stop you from enjoying sex?

Back in February I wrote the 29 Days to Great Sex here on this blog. If you didn’t participate, it’s not too late to start now! Just go back to day one, and work through everyday’s challenges. They’re fun!

But many people had a lot of problems with one challenge that I thought was rather tame. Compared to the ones that actually had to do with the physical side of sex, this one wasn’t so bad. I simply asked women to name five things they like about their bodies. After all, we’re so quick to list off the things that we hate about our bodies, but what do we actually like?

So I said to the women: if you can figure out what parts you like, you’ll feel more confident. Play them up! See the effect they have on your husband. Instead of always reciting to yourself your litany of physical flaws, start telling yourself your good features.

Women couldn’t find five things thy liked about their bodies.

They wrote comments, and sent emails, saying “this is too hard.”

What has society done to us that we can’t even find five things that we accept about our bodies?

We don’t have to be supermodels; we just have to say, I think this is attractive.

Last week author Jennifer K. Hale wrote a post talking about my challenge, noting how much difficulty she had with it, too. And Jennifer, to me, looks like a lovely woman. She says:

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

We’ve heard it and said it a zillion times.

We talk about how important it is for all people, not just Christians, to keep from judging one another. We live in a world of political correctness where all are supposed to be equal. We fight for respect and acceptance.

But not for ourselves. It seems we can’t grant ourselves the very thing we fight to give everyone else.

Why is it that we can train ourselves to refrain from judging others, but when it comes to what we see in the mirror, we’re our own worst critics?

And then she admits that the challenge stumped her, too.

Ladies, we really need to stop this.

We are letting our culture tell us that only a very narrow range of body shapes and hair types are attractive.

Anything that falls outside of those parameters is ugly. But it isn’t true!

Don't let our gross culture make us feel so badly about our bodies that we rob ourselves of the joy of sex!

When we feel ugly, we hide. Jennifer says,

Some women turn into recluses, covering themselves from head to toe, hiding. They over-compensate for their looks by drawing attention away from them–covering up, or on the other side, distracting from their looks with funny faces, wild personalities, crazy antics. Then there are those who take matters into their own hands and seek medical correction for the “flaws” they see. Still others, try to “correct” their problems with too much exercise and too little food.

Don’t get me wrong– I think being healthy is incredibly important.

But I don’t think any of these actions are healthy.

I think healthy begins with acceptance.

She’s right. We all know she’s right. But that doesn’t make it easy, does it?

I don’t want to live like that.

I don’t want to give the impression to my daughters that our worth is based in our bodies.

I don’t want to always feel like I’m inadequate, that I’m not exercising enough, that I shouldn’t enjoy food. God created food! And it’s good.

I want to be able to enjoy my body. I want to have fun in my skin. I want to feel like I can get excited by it. I want to look forward to my body experiencing pleasure. I want to rejoice in what my body can do–from running errands to swimming to make my husband happy.

Look, ladies: our bodies are amazing gifts from God to us.

Are we going to see our bodies as gifts, or are we going to live our lives in guilt because we’re not thinner?

I’m thinking of a particular woman I know in her early 60s. She has cancer right now, and is wasting away. But for the last twenty years that I’ve known her, she’s been pleasantly plump. Maybe she hasn’t been happy with her body; I don’t know. But what I do know is that she has been a model of a wonderful woman of God. She has mentored so many young women. When her husband was alive, she stood side by side him in his ministry, taking over a lot of it after he passed away. She was a prayer warrior. She cared about her grandkids. She was always, always on the move, and she always gave the impression that she loved life.

She could have spent an hour at the gym everyday instead. But she didn’t. And honestly, I think her time was well-spent. She devoted her life to God and to others, and she radiated joy and confidence, even without a perfect body.

I think what we often forget is that having a perfect body takes a LOT–and I mean a LOT–of work. Some people will choose to do that work. Some people will say, I can’t do it. I honestly don’t have the time. And I honestly think that’s okay.

The problem is that we make that decision–I honestly don’t have the time–but we still feel guilty for it.

Let’s stop that! I am here to proudly say that I have tried, off and on, to go to the gym regularly, and I have realized I never will. I don’t have it in me. And so I am rejoicing that I know that about myself, and I am concentrating on the things that I do feel that God has called me to do.

Will you do the same thing? Sure, maybe some of us can jog for an hour everyday. That’s wonderful. But if you’ve decided you can’t, that’s okay. It really is.

Now, embrace that decision, and start thinking of what you are doing instead. And realize that  you do not have to live your life by other people’s standards. Go to God, set your own, and then be at peace with it. Embrace what you have. It really is okay. And don’t condemn yourself–and your husband–to a life of guilt and little joy because you feel like you don’t measure up to what’s on a magazine.

It’s time for this to stop. Let’s take joy in ourselves, and our bodies, once again! As Julie Sibert said on her guest post that day, sexy is as sexy does. Good advice. Now go out and DO sexy, don’t wait to BE sexy!

[adrotate group=”18″]

Tags: , , , ,