Most of us are sending our kids off to their last day of school today then, when the clock strikes 3, we are in full-blown summer mode.
My friend and fellow For Every Mom blog contributor is talking about the love hate relationship we have with swimsuits and body issues.
I have something to tell you that you might not believe.
I hate wearing a swimsuit.
Yes, I know. It’s really hard to imagine why anyone wouldn’t love the opportunity to put on a Lycra version of their underwear and go out in public. It’s not like we live in a culture where perfectly shaped, cellulite-free bodies are praised as the ultimate. It’s not as if we who lack space between our legs and still carry the baby weight (those pounds that the baby forgot to take along to elementary school) aren’t made to feel like second class citizens every time summer comes around.
Oh wait. Yes we are.
But, as I stood at a local waterpark a few weeks ago, a thought occurred to me: I’m in the majority.
I looked to my left and saw women with dimply thighs. I looked to my right and saw other women with saggy boobs. I looked straight ahead and saw dozens upon dozens of women of all ages who didn’t have perfect bodies either.
In fairness, I did spot two women whom I would have guessed appeared in the latest Victoria’s Secret catalog. But, only two out of hundreds.
Oh, and did I mention? They were likely nineteen years old.
My observation is backed up by statistics—like the real kind that someone actually paid someone else to figure out. Data shows that only one out of every 100 women has a model-like build. That matched my observations.
I worked in politics for a stint (before I decided to madly pursue raising babies and blogging my crazies) and during that time I learned something that I believe applies here.
Let me recap: Ninety-nine percent of women look like you and I and one percent does not.
Wait! Doesn’t that make us the majority?
So, my friend who also hates to wear a swimsuit, why do we feel oppression every summer? Why do we feel shame and beat ourselves up for not having the same genetic composition as Heidi Klum? How is it that we allow the one percent to define what we “should” or “should not” look like in our public bathing attire?
Why do we act like we are in the minority, when, truly we are not?
It’s because of the beauty lie.
Beauty whispers in our ears that the one percent has it better. Beauty convinces us that if we looked like her, or her, or her than we’d be happier, more loved, more accepted . . . we’d be free. Beauty teaches us to objectify the few and covet their more shapely assets. And, beauty tells us that we are in the minority, not the majority. It says that “everyone else” is more beautiful than we are.
Beauty is a great big blasphemer.
The truth is that beauty isn’t where freedom or love or acceptance or even lasting joy comes from.
Nope, Jesus is the only one who offers us that for real.
Friend, if this summer finds you wrestling your body image to the ground, frowning in the full-length mirror and hiding in an over-sized tee and black yoga capris at the pool, can I encourage you with two things?
First, remember that you are in the majority. You aren’t alone in your lack of swimsuit-model-esque shape. Don’t believe the beauty lie that tells you that life is a beauty contest you aren’t winning.
But, second, and most important, know that physical beauty doesn’t really matter. At least not in the way we are trained to think it does. God has a great purpose for our lives no matter what we look like on the exterior. His word never tells us we have to love our bodies, nor does it tell us that the hottest woman wins.
We don’t need more self-acceptance. We don’t need to love our cellulite. We really just need to love Jesus.
And, if you do, can I promise you one thing?
You will find that freedom and joy and contentment and acceptance and love. It’s not all waiting for you as soon as you can fit in a size six, it’s available now.
Ask him to help you through the temptation to prove your worth through physical beauty. Ask him to free you from the beauty lie.
And, ask him to fill you up–so much–with His love that even when you spot your swimsuit-clad self in a photo taken from the back, you don’t freak out. You know your worth is settled.
About Heather Creekmore:
Heather never expected to have a ministry that helped women with their body image. The issue is something she personally struggled with for decades. Trying everything from diets to fad exercise programs, she even became a certified fitness instructor thinking that would help solve her body image woes. But, it’s only been by God’s grace that he’s shown her the path to new freedom in this arena. Before marriage and motherhood, Heather spent a decade working in politics—including a stint on Capitol Hill—and in non-profit management. Now she’s a pastor and church planter’s wife, a mother of four, author, speaker and blogger primarily focused on helping
women overcome their body image struggles through her ministry called “Compared to Who?” or on Facebook at Compared to Who?