I listened to an excellent podcast the other day on ‘She proves faithful’, about body image. I don’t remember the specifics on the podcast but I know it was so great and really got me started thinking about what is important to me. What kind of a woman do I want to be in this world? What kind of mother, sister, wife and friend? Here is the link if any of you want to listen to the podcast, you can also download on the apple podcast app – She proves faithful podcast. I have listened to a few of hers and really love how they challenge me and put my mind on things that matter.
This goes hand in hand with me giving up my obsession with weight and dieting. Now that I am done wasting my time and emotional energy on trying to bend my body to be what I want it to be, I can put my focus on getting my heart and mind where I want them to be. These are a few things I have been thinking.
I want to spend as much time on my inward beauty as I do worrying about my outward.
I want to spend more time talking about our dreams, our ideas and things God has been showing us than we spend talking about diets, fashion, perceived body flaws, and other people.
I want to worry more about how people feel in my home than what they think about my cleaning and decorating skills (or lack thereof). I just want my home to always make people feel welcome, safe and loved. I want them to never feel like a burden when they visit, but to truly feel like it was a joy to serve them.
I don’t care if people never describe me as pretty, or skinny, or nicely dressed. What I care is if they think I am loving, and welcoming and life affirming.
I want to stop spending time on things that do not fulfill me or lift my spirits. Which is why after listening to another great podcast from the same program, I decided to delete Facebook from my phone. I realized I was spending so much time on mindless scrolling that I could be spending truly connecting with friends and family, reading a book, crafting, blogging, cleaning or cooking. Things that give me a purpose. I still have it on my computer so I can use it once or twice a day but I am done letting it consume my days.
But most importantly, I want to start helping women realize we are more than our bodies. I want to praise them for their mothering skills instead of dieting skills. I want to praise them for how they didn’t lose their sanity instead of how they lost the baby weight. I want to tell them they are doing a great job, instead of wearing a great outfit. I feel that as a culture we have started to place so much emphasis on the way a women looks and less emphasis than we should on who a woman is. Especially as Christian women, I fear we have lost sight of the verse, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised!” I see so many moms around me who spend their lives feeling like they are failing at everything. And I can’t help but think maybe it is because we have failed as encouragers. Not to mention the pressure we put on her to look a certain way, and to keep her house a certain way, and her kids looking a certain way, as if that is of the greatest importance. Nothing makes me more mad than when someone says a women has let herself go. Either because she gained weight, or wears yoga pants every day, or keeps a messy house. Maybe this isn’t a sign that she let herself go at all, but a sign that she is no longer letting what people think define her. That she is realizing at this time in her life there is more to worry about than a number on the scale, or a sticky floor. That there is only so much of her to go around and she is putting her energy where it matters.
So, to you, mom in your messy bun, I see you! And I say thank you for sacrificing your hair style to snuggle your baby a little longer on the couch. To you, mom in tennis shoes, instead of high heels, thank you for wearing shoes you can chase your crazy toddler in. To you, mom who is drinking a coffee and taking a break in the midst of a messy house and messy life, I say take the break, put your feet up and rest. The rest is so often more important than the work. You might not look like a fashion model as you tiredly slog your way through the grocery store, but I see the way that you love your kids and your husband and from my perspective that it is the most beautiful thing there is.