Slowly but surely our society is adapting to the larger size of today’s “average” woman. Plus-size clothing is becoming increasingly available, even trendy (it’s about time!). Plus-size models are becoming celebrities in their own right and inspiring “everyday” plus-size women to celebrate and display their own beauty on social media. This burgeoning culture of “beauty beyond size” is freeing women to accept themselves as they are, heal their relationships with their bodies, and hopefully recognize that it is meant for so much more than just being attractive.
Accepting ourselves as we are doesn’t mean
we don’t strive for greater health,
it’s actually a catalyst for positive change.
Our bodies are the vehicles that we experience the world through, and how well we take care of them will determine how fully we can enjoy our lives. Accepting ourselves as we are doesn’t mean we don’t strive for greater health, it’s actually a catalyst for positive change. When we love our bodies, we want to do the best we can for them. We need to take good care of our bodies so that we can live our lives with joy and fulfill the purposes for which we were created. Jesus said…
“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that (you) may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance.”
A lack of health steals our enjoyment of life, kills many of us and seeks to distract the rest of us from God’s calling. This life is meant to be a grand adventure, but how can we put on our adventurer’s hat and enjoy the journey if we can’t tackle the first flight of stairs put in our path?
“Since we stand surrounded by all those who have gone before, an enormous cloud of witnesses, let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace, and let us run with endurance the long race set before us.”
Made for a Purpose
Those of us who know and follow Jesus are ambassadors on this earth, we are here with a purpose. We are meant to bring God glory by doing the things He created us for fearlessly and without restraint. We need to throw off anything that’s holding us back (yes, even the excess weight on our bodies) so that we can get to the top of those stairs and reach the people waiting there who don’t yet know Him.
Health in our bodies is physical peace.
This is not a message meant to bring shame or condemnation on anyone. Being thin is not a guarantee of health either. And of course I am not saying that people with handicaps or chronic health problems can’t fulfill their purpose. What I am saying is that each of us are called to do our best with what we have and will give an account for it. When we trust God and persevere through health trials, He will meet us with His peace that surpasses understanding. We often think of peace as only a mental or emotional thing, but health in our bodies is physical peace. God wants to restore us with an all-encompassing peace that unburdens our minds and our bodies.
Appreciate Your Body
As you begin to accept your body and stop measuring it against outward standards—you can begin to appreciate it in a new way. Your body’s value will begin to flow from how you can use it rather than how it looks on any given day. You will discover inside yourself a new desire to take care of it—to move it, nourish it and rest it. Things that you may have tried to force in the past will begin to happen naturally.
The more you invest good things like sleep,
quality food and exercise into your body, the better it
performs for you and the more enjoyable driving it becomes.
You might notice how much more productive you are when you’ve had enough sleep and decide it’s worth it to skip that extra hour of television at night. You might notice how great you feel when you choose foods that regulate your blood sugar, and how your day is so much more enjoyable when you’re not “hangry.” Suddenly those foods that you thought you couldn’t give up just aren’t that attractive anymore. When your body is a vehicle and not simply ornamental you’ll develop a “need for speed!” You’ll want to take that thing out on the open road and do so much more than idle in neutral. It becomes a positive cycle in your life, the more you invest good things like sleep, quality food and exercise into your body, the better it performs for you and the more enjoyable driving it becomes.
Enjoy Life to its Fullest
I know this from personal experience. For the majority of my life I was the one who opted out of anything requiring physical exertion. When the other kids at camp played sports, I sat on the sidelines. When my friends went to the beach I stayed home, not wanting to put on a swimsuit. When my family hiked to the top of the Diamond Head in Hawaii, I sat in the car. I told myself I was ok with that. I was ok with not seeing the stunning view that awaited me at the top of the stairs. I guess when you’re young you feel like there is nothing but possibility ahead and certainly plenty more accessible views to be had.
I don’t want to miss a minute of the story written for me.
Well, I’m 36 now, and let me tell you something: I’m not ok with it—and the older I get—the less ok with it I become. I don’t want to miss a minute of the story written for me! I want to make healthy choices for myself so that my body hums along as I go out to be and do everything God created me for. Recently I came across something I wrote in my journal in 2012:
“With God’s help I will stop obsessing about my weight and settle into a lifestyle that partners with God and HIS plan for my body – loving it, feeding it well, exercising it, watering it, resting it, using it to bless others rather than focusing on myself.”
By giving my desires for my body over to God and trusting Him with it, I’ve learned to accept it where it’s at and value it for what it enables me to do. I am grateful that my body was capable of carrying three full-term pregnancies. I am grateful my body can meet the demands of daily life; like waking with kids in the night, running errands and keeping house. I am grateful that my body can do fun things like hiking, bike-riding and making memories with my family. The better I care for it, the better I feel, and the less it holds me back from serving those around me and enjoying life to its fullest.
Embrace the Adventure
This past September, my husband and I managed a quick getaway to Banff National Park with our bikes. There is a great path beside the highway between the towns of Banff and Canmore. Only months before I had driven past it on a road trip with friends and they were remarking on how much they would like the opportunity to ride it. In my head I was thinking, “Not me. That doesn’t sound fun at all.” Well, fast forward through the summer and my husband decides to buy us both bikes to keep up with our sons who no longer require training wheels. And I discover a “need for speed.” Biking is so much more fun than walking! You can see so much more and get there faster! I was still hesitant about the 22km trail between Banff and Canmore though. In the past it wouldn’t have even been a possibility, my body was carrying too much extra weight and just not capable. As we started down the path, my hesitation melted away and I began to simply enjoy the views, the amazing mountain air, the wind on my face. I became overwhelmed with gratitude. “I actually have a body that can do this now. I didn’t even know I wanted to. Thank you so much, God.” Because I have begun to invest in my body, I can now embrace the adventure in front of me. I can run my race better and be ready for each challenge that comes along the way. I can enjoy the thrill of the ride and the breathtaking views as I go further and higher than I ever thought possible. There are always going to be challenges, the return trip was definitely difficult for me, but it motivates me to keep going and be in better shape for it next time!
“Now to Him who is able to carry out His purpose and do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
Will you join with me in this prayer?
God, please help me stop obsessing about my weight and settle into a lifestyle that partners with You and YOUR plan for my body – loving it, feeding it well, exercising it, watering it, resting it and using it to bless others rather than focusing on myself.
Infinitely Beyond Your Greatest Prayers, Hopes or Dreams
As you commit your desires for your body to God, He will do superabundantly more than all you would dare ask or think, infinitely beyond your greatest prayers, hopes or dreams. He will help you begin to accept yourself as you are, celebrate your unique beauty, and love your body for everything it enables you to do. The more you come to appreciate it, the more you will seek to care for it. You will want to move it, nourish it and rest it. You will reap the benefits of a body that will progressively perform better for you and keep up with you on the adventure that awaits! Begin to be brave and tackle the things you once opted out of. Don’t miss one more minute of the story written for you. God calls us to live a joyful, peace-filled, abundant life because it brings HIM glory. He empowers us to go out and fulfill the purpose He created us for because a healthy, thriving, grateful creation makes its Creator famous.
“Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.”
What are some things that you’ve opted out of in the past? What kind of adventures are looking forward to tackling in the future? Let us know in the comments below!