Psalm 139:14 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful.”
My insecurities of my body started in junior high school. I will never forget the moment that I was in the Nordstrom fitting room trying on jeans with my mom. She finally caved into my begging and decided to buy me a pair of designer jeans. However, after looking at my legs as I tried on pair after pair, I sat there in tears. My legs were not as small or as slender as the some of the other girls at school. My legs did not look the same in designer jeans as my smaller friends. I thought the fact that they were designer was going to make them look like everyone else’s, but that wasn’t the case. Two years later as I stood in line after track practice (in my running spandex) for $1 tacos at our favorite Taco Tuesday restaurant, a high school aged boy peeked around the corner and started to chant “thunder thighs” at me. I remember the car ride home, staring at the uneaten tacos, afraid to eat them and afraid to ever wear spandex again. Fast forward to my college years, I began to experiment with dieting. All I needed to do was to find the “perfect” diet that would finally get me to my “perfect” weight so I could finally have that “perfect" body. I began to learn about dieting and began the lifestyle of strict dieting along with the occasional crazy binge eating the day before I started my next diet.
I never knew that God had fearfully and wonderfully made me. I didn’t know that I was beautiful regardless of my body size. I had never been told that message.
In the middle of a diet, I LONGED for someone to notice. I wanted someone to say “Wow, Natalie, you look so skinny!!!”. The more I obsessed about my body size, the more it felt like the most important thing about me. Almost like, if I’m not admired physically, nothing else about me will really matter. Then, I began to jealously comment on the bodies around me. Because I knew that I was longing for compliments on my body, I would complement other girls’ bodies. I would tell people when I thought their butt looked good in their Lulu Lemon pants. I would complement them on how skinny their legs looked in certain jeans. But I only did this out of jealousy and longing that someone would say the same thing about me.
When you complement someone’s body size, you may be doing more damage than you know. It felt like my body was only noticed when I was “thinner”. So that is what I sought after. If I wanted to be admired and loved, I needed to be skinnier. Skinnier, skinnier, skinnier. I did not focus on developing my talents, my thoughts, or my giftings. I did not focus on the beautiful things about me that God had created. No, instead I spent hours crying in a mirror, logging my every bite on My Fitness Pal app, and counting carbs. When someone noticed my body size being praise worthy, it only affirmed my shallow need for my body to look “perfect”, thus spinning me deeper into obsessive dieting. It is a never ending cycle.
I know this may sound extreme, but does anyone else relate??
When our focus is on our own body image, it is often all we notice in others. Without even realizing it, we are making the people around us more focused on the outer shell of ourselves rather than the inner intricacies that God has made us. Are all complements bad? No way! But, I want us to get away from commenting on people’s body size. Beauty is not defined by body size. You are not beautiful because you are a size ___ . You are beautiful, and you may be a size ___. In Psalm 139 (the verse at the top), the Psalmist is praising God for the way they were made. Have you ever praised God for the body that you have? Have you ever admired another woman’s beauty, and praised God for it? Or have you felt jealous and been tempted to dwell on the her body size?
If you have not heard this message, I want to tell you today, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are beautiful because God created you, no matter what size that you are.
Next time you are sitting and admiring another women’s body and you’re tempted to say something, ask yourself if it’s really necessary. Check your motives and your own heart. Is it out of jealousy? Is it because you think it will make her feel good? Let’s stop obsessing. Today, affirm something AWESOME in someone that is unseen… their character, their personality, their gifts. Or let’s affirm someone’s beauty… and begin to change culture by recognizing that beauty is unrelated to body size.
Hey FAM! I work for Fellowship of Christian Athletes where I specifically run a soccer ministry. I coach soccer all over Orange County and work with female athletes of all ages. I grew up in Southern California and played soccer at Point Loma Nazarene University where I studied exercise science and theology. My passion is to encourage others and bring them closer to Jesus!