I recently came across this piece, and was so challenged by it I shared it with a couple of close friends that I knew could relate to it just like I could.
The expectation of physical perfection. It strikes early, and with the explosion of social media the expectation only seems to grow. Comparison is one of the biggest, or possibly the biggest, form of war/idolatry in the lives of women today.
We’re constantly doing it. Comparing. Getting discouraged. Looking at our bodies with grief. Looking at others with envy. Waging perfect vs. imperfect.
“In this as in all things, there is hope and good news for the believer: one day we will be free of our self-loathings and will live in harmony with our physical appearance. We will be given new, incorruptible bodies—bodies that are no longer on a collision course with the grave. We dare not reduce this future hope to that of an eternity with thinner thighs or a smaller nose. We must celebrate it as the day when vanity itself is dealt a fatal and final blow.” via
January. The month of “I’m going to lose 10 pounds” and “An hour at the gym everyday.”
But Jen, the author of the article I mentioned above, challenges us with something different, and I absolutely dig it.
“What if we didn’t? What if we didn’t talk about body sizes at all? What if we made it a point not to mention our own calorie sins or victories in front of our girlfriends and daughters? What if we started living in right relation to our bodies now, instead of at the resurrection? What if every time we looked in the mirror and were tempted to complain, we said “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” laying claim to the future hope that our bodies will one day celebrate function in right relation to form, living in the glorious truth of that future hope now?”
In the past few months, I have steadfastly prayed for the Lord to right my view of exercise, body image, food, etc. And He graciously has… more than I ever could have imagined. So much so that I get aggravated when other people speak negatively about their bodies, or when I catch myself saying “Man, I shouldn’t have eaten that.”
What if this New Year we decided to fast not from food but from body talk?
Jen elaborates this way,
“Sure—hit the gym, eat the Paleo diet, run six miles a day, wear Spanx from neck to knee—just stop talking about it. Stop telling your friend she looks skinny—instead tell her you love her sweet spirit. Choose compliments that spur her to pursue that which lasts instead of that which certainly does not. If someone comments on your own shape, say thanks and change the subject. Banish body talk to the same list of off-limits topics as salaries, name-dropping and colonoscopies. Apply the discipline you use to work out to controlling your tongue. Do this for your sisters, and by the grace of God, we could begin a legacy of womanhood that celebrates character over carb-avoidance, godliness over glamour.”
Marvelous. Can’t you already taste the freedom? The joy?
A diet from discussing shape and size.
In the book of James, we are vehemently warned about the things that come out of our mouth. I believe what we say steers of reality. Your post is so timely and is a reminder that our perspective of the present should always be in context of the eternal. Thanks so much, Chelsea!
Love, love, love this! Such a good take on a healthy New Year’s resolution. Thank you for sharing :)
Wow… I could not agree more! My husband and I listened to a sermon by Matt Chandler this weekend and he shared that statistics show the two main buckets that women’s sin fall in are perfectionism and comparison. Sadly I knew it was true. As someone who has always fluctuated and struggled with weight, it has often times defined my confidence. After getting fit and smaller than I had been in years I realized I was consumed. All I could think about was what I was going to eat and when I would work out. The compliments of “you look so good” rang in my head at night but I knew that’s not the compliments I wanted. Thank you for sharing this…. I will be sharing it with my readers.
Chelsea B.E. says
I listened to that same sermon a couple of weeks ago. A great word and challenge for sure. Friend, I have been in those shoes. I struggled with an eating disorder in college — graduated last May — and to be honest, only am now feeling the freedom in Christ. It is possible, friend!
I love this so much! We are quickly consumed with body image thoughts, and we lose focus on what is important. This is the best new year’s resolution!
Anna @ The Beauty Section says
This was absolutely beautifully written and so inspiring. Every woman young and old should make this their New Year’s Resolution every year to come! Thank you so much for sharing what was on your heart!
Chelsea B.E. says
I agree, Anna! I wish I could have a moment to look every woman in the eye and help them believe their beauty. Glad you stopped by :)
Chelsea B.E. says
I agree, Jessica! I’ve been challenged recently to fill my heart and mind with things that build me up, not that which tears me down.