Wishful Thinking

I wish I could do that…

I want to have a body like theirs…

I have to do whatever I can to change…

Why is it that whenever I see someone who has smooth skin, toned arms, or beach wave hair, I feel the need to do everything in my power to become just like them? Comparison is so ingrained in our culture that it feels almost impossible to break, and it means that a lot of us have been at war with our bodies for as longer than we can remember. So how do we get off this never-ending treadmill of always trying to act and look like everyone around us? It starts with realizing that we weren’t created to be living in a constant state of comparison. We were designed to be unique and to use our differences to raise others up and point them back to the Lord. And yet sometimes we still get overwhelmed with the need to conform to the world’s version of perfection.

I Wish…

Whether it’s watching movies or standing in line at the grocery store, we’re bombarded with images of “perfect” people. You know the ones that I’m talking about, the models and actors who are so photoshopped and manipulated you wouldn’t recognize them if you passed them on the street. These images trigger something in my brain which causes me to go from loving my body the way it is, to having an insatiable urge to Google how to lose thirty pounds. Wishing that I was created differently only serves to drive me deeper into negative self-talk and to twist the knot of body shame tighter and tighter.

I Want…

Wishful thinking can so easily turn into obsession. Whether that means planning on working out twice a day, only eating half of what you usually do, or buying the next miracle product, our lives are consumed with trying to reach something that was never intended for us. And it’s no surprise that after a few short days our bodies and souls beg for us to stop fighting them and instead treat them with kindness. We weren’t meant to be continually abusing our bodies, constantly trying to change and conform ourselves into the shadows of a person the world tells us to be. That is not the kind of life that God intended for us to live. Obsessively wanting after something doesn’t increase our worth, it only serves to strengthen our unhappiness.

I Have…

Somewhere after all the wishing and wanting have left me high and dry, I look in the mirror and see that what I have is what I get. As this thought crosses my mind, I can choose to curl up on the bathroom floor in tears and admit to myself that I’ll never be like the perfect people I see around me, or I can decide to see myself as the beautiful creation of a brilliant Creator. We are fearfully and wonderfully made… am fearfully and wonderfully made.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works my soul knows it very well.  My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.”

Psalm 36:13-15

This verse is one that you’ve probably heard many times before, but how often do you pause to think about what it means? As my mentor pointed out to me, knitting something takes a lot of time, patience, focus, intention, precision, and consideration. I certainly do not have the concentration to finish a knitting project; but God had the focus, attention, desire, and creativity to not just come up with the idea of me, but to actually complete the project. And to finish it perfectly.

I am not stuck with this body; this is not as good as it gets, I have been blessed with this magnificent body, I have been given an exceedingly good gift. Taking a statement of defeat and turning it into a cry of victory is possibly one of the hardest battles to win. But when we no longer see ourselves as the imperfect person amongst a crowd of perfect people, but rather see everyone including ourselves as flawed, the tables begin to turn. It doesn’t matter how small of a step you take towards accepting and appreciating who God created you to be, so long as you keep moving forward. It’s time to embrace and thank our bodies for all that they do for us. It’s time to come home.

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