Kate says . . .
I think almost all wives will admit that they struggle with their physical appearance or have at one time in their lives, this topic probably hits home for most wives. How much do we care what society says about how we look as woman and wives? What does the Bible say about physical appearance? What truly matters?
These are all great questions that most of us have asked ourselves at some point or another.
- The voice that says, “You will never be good enough or desirable until you look like a model.”
- Or the voice that says, “God made you and loves you just the way you are.”
I think sadly we are going about figuring this out in the wrong way. It is similar to how we think about our relationship with Jesus, we tend to think that we need to be all cleaned up and doing well, before we can go to Jesus. The message Jesus preached was exactly opposite. He asked that we follow Him no matter what our lives look like, then through Him we are cleaned up. Yes, we have to do a lot of cleaning up once we follow him. But it is through Jesus strength, peace and grace that we can get there. Without those, we will always fail.
It is the same way with how we feel about ourselves and how we look. We want to lose weight and exercise regularly, thinking that when we look fantastic we will finally feel good about ourselves and we will finally feel beautiful. Yet we are stuck! The extra pounds just don’t seem to come off, no matter how much we starve ourselves and no matter how much we try to workout, it doesn’t seem to help. We have trouble with consistency and beat ourselves up for not sticking with it. Then we feel awful and don’t have the energy or motivation to change. So we just hang out in our frumpy sweatpants all day.
I have to say that I have been there ladies. Especially after I gave birth to our two biological kids. Those were hard times! I did not like they way my body had changed and shifted and gained excess pounds. Then God spoke to me heart, telling me that he always sees me as beautiful, and . . . I accepted it! Then and only then did I start to have a healthy, happy view of myself, my physical self and everything else. That is when I started loving myself, the way God wanted me to, the way He loves me. It was after this that I wanted a healthy lifestyle and had the motivation to get there. It was after this that I began to exercise regularly and take good care of myself. I wanted to be a stronger, healthier version of myself so that I could serve God at my best. I wanted to serve God by having time and energy for my hubby. I wanted to be able to feel energized and enjoy physical activity with my hubby, including sex! I wanted Brad to see and experience me as a confident woman, in the bedroom and in all things God has called me to.
So how do we get to a place where we love who we are?
The reality is ladies, that we tend to set our standards on things that are just not realistic. Looking at women in the media and comparing ourselves is only going to hurt and keep you in the cycle of dread about your physical appearance. In the same way, comparing yourself to others in your life is also unrealistic, simply because God created us all to be beautifully unique individuals. Instead of looking at others, look at yourself. Know where you should be as person. What is a healthy weight? Not what society says but what you know to be healthy for yourself. How much exercise and activity do you need? How do you look when you are taking care of yourself? Think about these questions and set you standards from there. Not from any other standards!
Be Motivated by God
I believe that God wants all of us to be happy, healthy and active. He wants us to love ourselves and care for ourselves. Just as we would not neglect the health of our children or family, we should not neglect our own health.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says: “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”
This is one of the most common verses shared when we talk about how we should treat our physical self. The better you care for yourself, the more you can do for God’s kingdom. Nothing done in excess is healthy for your body. We hear all the time that overeating regularly is bad for us! But on the other hand, crazy amounts of exercise are also not what God asks. When we focus or allow ourselves to become fully immersed in anything, our focus shifts from God’s purpose to our own. God wants us to do all things in balance as they are appropriate to our individual bodies. Be motivated that God wants all of us to take care of ourselves, he wants it to be an individual, spiritual walk with Him. While we can seek advice and help from experts and those around us, ultimately it is between you and God.
Be Healthy and Active!
I have always known that I feel best physically and emotionally when I am active. Although there were many years, I did nothing about being active! I try my best to eat healthy and I run three times a week. I also enjoy certain food that are not good in excess, but I still enjoy them here and there. Depriving yourself always, gives me the potential for falling off the wagon big time. God wants us to enjoy the things he has blessed us with, including food. But food is mainly to give us energy and keep us going. As for exercise, I know that I need to work out three times a week, to feel good and strong. I don’t do more then that! I may do physical things with my kids and family, but I do not work out any more then that. There are also times where I miss a day here and there, I don’t beat myself up and make myself run twice as far the next time. I just move on and work out the next time. For me it is all about being healthy and active, yet setting proper boundaries in all things.
Look Good for Who You Are Supposed to Look Good For!
When I was still a young bride, a wise wife shared with me that it is important to be looking good for your hubby when he comes home. We all have our days where comfy clothes are the best, but they should not be ALL the time. Yes, it is wonderful to hang out in sweats with your hubby and know that he thinks you are super sexy no matter what. But baggy sweats are just not all that attractive when worn on a daily basis. Spend time taking care of yourself daily so that you will catch your hubby’s eye when he comes home. Wear clothing that is flattering to your figure, things that make you feel sexy and confident. I have no doubt your hubby will thank you for your efforts. Your dress should fit your personality. For me, I am a jeans and t-shirts kinda girl. So while I do enjoy dressing up for Brad, most days I am in nice jeans and nice figure flattering shirts. You know what, he loves me that way because that is truly me.
If you met me you may not think that I am what society says I “should be”. But I am happy with me and I will continue to have balance in my life. I want to enjoy life while being everything God wants me to be. I believe that is what the Bible supports and society resists. As hard as it is to shut out society’s thoughts on what you should look like, it is essential to being who you are. Throw out society’s vision and start a conversation with God about what he desires for you.
Then listen! Hear what God places on your heart. It is through that love, that you can find the healing and healthy life you have always wanted!
I believe I am beautiful. I believe I am beautiful in my hubby’s eyes and in God’s. No other opinion matters.
Wives, share with us how you have overcome societies pressures and embraced who God created you to be physically!
As God was writing this post on my heart, He was also working in the hearts of a dear friend and marriage blogger along the same lines. Lori shares from her heart and I know many of us wives out there can relate! Take some time and read Lori’s post, In Their Eyes.