If you’ve been a Christian for any amount of time or even if you haven’t, you may have heard this verse from the book of Psalms, chapter 139 quoted: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” In this and surrounding verses in this chapter David is acknowledging that we are made beautiful because our Creator is beautiful (not the opposite way). And y’all, I believe this verse almost half of the time, until I’m standing face to face with my cellulite and thunder thighs in a swim suit.
I remember seeing a picture of myself from Wisconsin Dells when I was younger going on a ride with my dad. To me that picture was of joy- simplistic, child-like joy- until I checked in the middle and saw something sneaky show up. My stomach. Exploding. From my swimsuit. Everywhere. I remember thinking I would sneak every picture of that which was printed and shred it. I hated my stomach.
It was only my middle school years where I decided to start dabbling in diets. Weight Watchers to faked “fullness” to even at one point punching myself in the stomach to make it go away. Through high school, I sort of yo-yo-ed through seasons of up and down weight loss and gain depending on what sport I was or wasn’t in. In college, I pretended to like the gym and eating well. I’d practice being a “gym girl” only to realize I just wanted to be home reading books. Then after college, I started running and ran a half marathon and actually really loved it. But life changes and our hearts do, too.
Over the past year, I’ve been so inflicted with heartache when I’ve noticed women who are “good at working out”. I’ve wanted to be “good” at it, but y’all, I’m just not. And I am so thankful for these women who are modeling beautiful bodies so wholesomely cared for by a wonderful workout regimen. I’m so envious, too, but mostly thankful.
So this summer came and I knew I had missed out on the opportunity to grow a “summer body” and I was scared. I was scared when going to the beach with my friends that I’d be the “fat” one. Worried that I would be the one who stuck out- literally- with my stomach rolls. But friends, here’s what actually happened:
- I went to the beach. ALOT. Still going often.
- I wore a two piece tankini swimsuit.
- Nobody stared at me long enough for me to notice.
- Nobody called me “fat”, at least not to my face.
- I yearned for more hours at the beach and loved prancing in my swimsuit.
- I started to love how pale my skin was and continued to care for it by wearing sunscreen every beach trip. ( I still get the occasional spray tan 😉 )
- I stopped thinking about my stubborn belly fat and started dancing in the grace of my Creator!
I never thought I’d post a picture of myself on the internet in my bathing suit, but I have something to share with you. I think David was onto something in Psalm 139 when he points all beauty and wonder to God. Here’s how I know and believe this to be true. I’m still a 150 pound woman, still learning to love the skin I’m in, still annoyed that I don’t love working out, and still madly in love with learning how to love myself more. God looks on me with delight and with love- and I’m sure He does the same for you. Your body isn’t just something that gets to lose and gain weight, that gets to be trim or flabby. Your body is made to love insanely well and to laugh often. Your body is made to run if you want, but to also just stretch if that feels good, too. The Creator loves you and I’m not saying that you’re going to instantly love yourself because this was and still is a process for me. All I’m saying is that, I never looked at my friend and wished they didn’t have belly fat. I never looked to my friend and was disgusted over the size of their arms or their thighs. And if I’m not looking at my friends and doing that, then the Creator of the Universe- with so much on His plate- is certainly not looking at me like that and if He isn’t looking at me wishing I had less belly fat, then I should stop looking at myself like that, as well.
Praying for you this summer, dear girl. That you can dance in the grace and freedom of the body you were given with all of its marks, rolls, and toned areas!