Can you truly believe that your body is your friend?
On Monday I wrote a long post asking you all to help me synthesize something–how do we talk about body image, weight, beauty, and health in a good way? On the one hand we know that our culture puts way too much emphasis on a particular body shape, and God looks to the heart. But on the other hand, doesn’t appearance matter at least a little? And what about health?
I found the comments there really interesting, and after mulling them over I think I’ve found my synthesis! So since every Friday I write a quick 400-word “Marriage Moment”, I thought today I’d share what I learned.
Sheila’s Marriage Moment: Treating Your Body Like Your Friend
How many of you look in the mirror and feel like weeping? You hate shopping for jeans because nothing ever fits right. You do your best not to think about anything below the neck throughout the day. When you sit down on the toilet (let’s face it, we all do this), all you see is the rolls of fat.
You’re angry at all the jiggling. You wish you could remove all the mirrors from the bathroom.
When making love, it’s hard to enjoy it when you know your body looks nothing like the pictures of the old you in the wedding photos.
You’ve tried starving yourself (that didn’t last long). You took Lent as an excuse to quit chocolate, but you ended up raiding Haagen Dazs vanilla instead.
If that’s you, I’d say you’re the typical woman. You beat yourself up over your body.
But isn’t that the mindset of someone who sees her body as her enemy? If your body is your enemy, then your goal is to conquer it. You’ll always be at war–with yourself. That sets you up for a lifetime of hatred, failure, and even ingratitude. And hatred of self rarely led to a successful weight loss strategy.
What if there were another way? What if God wants us to see our bodies as precious and wonderful–as our friends?
If we were to treat our body as our friend, what would we do?
First, we wouldn’t hide from it. We’d be thankful for what it could give us without expecting more than it can give. We wouldn’t berate and lecture our friend; we’d encourage and cheer it on! We’d want the best for it, which means that we would feed it well, give it what it really needs, and exercise it.
We’d want others to enjoy our friend, too, so we would show off our friend in the best possible light. We would dress it well, not drown it in oversized, baggy clothes. We would be proud to be seen with our friend.
And we’d enjoy living life with our friend! We’d kick the soccer ball around with our kids. We’d stretch and lift weights and be amazed at how awesome our friend is. We’d cheer her on to get even better! And we wouldn’t condemn our friend to have no sex life until our friend shaped up; we would want our friend to live life to the fullest, right now, where she was.
Can you do that? Can you see your body as your friend rather than your enemy? Your body is an intrinsic part of you, and I truly believe that the more you can be grateful for and embrace your body in a healthy way, the more you can start living life to the fullest. And that, I think, is what God wants from us.
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