Body of Content
I was recently in a conversation with several close friends who are all 1) thinner than me and 2) on diets. My friends are beautiful. They take care of their bodies. I like that. I love them and I want them to take care of themselves. But I'm ambivalent about what diets have meant in my own life.
Before you email an "eating plan that's a lifestyle, not a diet" to me, let me explain.
I have finally, finally arrived at a place where I like my body. I really do. Moreover, so does my husband (He always has...but I'm finally believing him). Also, I am eating better now than I have been in the last 10 years. Consistently. Happily. I haven't lost much weight. And yet, I feel happy, content, and relieved to actually like my body and to treat it with the respect it deserves. I've spent decades questioning my looks, my weight, and my body frame. It's been wearisome. I'm sick of trying to measure up to a standard I place on myself, then constantly shift around so I perpetuate feelings of insecurity no matter what the mirror reflects.
I believe my relationship with Jesus Christ has been the source of my unfolding body contentment. The longer I walk with Him, the more I experience His constant love and acceptance. It's sunk deep into my bones. And mind. And even the cellulite on my thighs. Furthermore, it's His deep love for me that makes me want to honor my body by taking care of it.
Whether we attack ourselves with self-criticism and condemnation or ignore the proper care of our bodies, both are equally damaging. Neither are what a life of freedom looks like. You can find and enjoy "contentment with care" for your body. For some, it will mean ceasing the harsh judgment about your looks and learning to trust His pleasure in you exactly how you are. For others, it will mean an honest look at how you might be disrespecting your body by not caring for it.
Perhaps you've been far too hard for far too long on someone Jesus loves very much. You.
May you experience anew His immeasurable, abundant grace every single day. And may you grow to love your body and treat it well. After all, it's a beautiful thing. Just like the rest of you.
Melissa Maimone is a Christian speaker and author of the book "Gathering Dandelions: Meditations and Musings on Faith, Fracture, and Beauty Mistaken for a Weed"She resides in Southern California with her husband and children. Subscribe to the Sparrow Sisters Monthly Journal HERE