Because of the overwhelming response I got to the blog I wrote about The Scale I decided I would follow it up with more thoughts on this topic. Because i think that to a degree, we all struggle with this issue one way or another.
Why do we worry so much about how we look? Or how much we weigh? Why does that ever glaring number, whatever it might be, seems to bring on such negativity for so many of us? Even as I wrote about it a couple of weeks ago, it has continued to be a struggle for me. But I have learned through the years that as I am working to overcome an issue, it seems glaringly worse. I want to share about my mom a little today.
My mom was overweight. A fair amount overweight. I don't like to write that out loud because it sounds negative and mean, but go with me on this story. I think that one of the reasons growing up my body image was never a huge issue for me was because my mom never focused on it. I can even recall vividly one time saying in my latter teen years "Who cares if I have a pimple? If it bothers the other person, that's their issue. " (somewhere along the line I have lost this way of thinking.) There is a balance with anything, and it can go from one extreme of caring too much to another extreme of not caring enough. But my mom seemed to be in the middle of that. In all the years of having her here on earth in my life, she was overweight (post childbearing days.) But I never heard my mom complain about how she looked. I don't even remember there being a scale in the house.
She was a farmer's wife. She made home cooked meals and truthfully, she wore clothes given to her from her best friend. She did not wear make up. And she smiled... all the time. I do not recall her ever being upset about her body image. I can count on one hand the times she made a complaint about herself. That is remarkable. I can count on one hand (ok, two...) how many times I make a complaint about myself in a DAY! (That is really sad, but I remind you, I am a work in progress on this)
When my mom passed away, do you think that anyone...anyone.... was talking about how she looked or how much she weighed? No! Of course not. People talked about how she lived her life. They remembered her for how much she laughed and smiled, no matter what her circumstance was. They remember how much she followed after Jesus even when it was hard. We stood in a receiving line for hours listening to people say how much they would miss mom's love.
Because, my friends, those are the things that matter. That is what people will remember.
1 Samuel 16:7 "For the Lord does not see as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
The eternal perspective is what matters. Not the momentary size of my pants. Or how thick my thighs are. Or my little baby belly.
The pictures on the running magazines are air brushed.
The movie stars pay thousands of dollars for makeovers and personal trainers to look as they do.
But none of that matters in the end. What matters is the heart.
I am going to be real and tell you that this winter I have gained 10 pounds. That sounds minimal and also, if you saw me, you probably would not notice. I hide it well and tuck it away. But I know. I feel it as I work to squeeze into my same clothing and not go buy new ones. And as that has transpired, I have to work to fight the frustration that comes with that. However, while there is a balance to everything, and finding that middle ground rather than being on one side of the fence or the other, I have been learning that I'm good.... I'm ok.
I have been able to go off of my depression meds for the first time in 10 years. 10 years! This is HUGE for me! God is amazing. I think that has been a contributing factor to the issue of my body, because the medicine served in a small role of being an appetite suppressor. But if that means I'm healthier mentally, I'll take it!
Gaining weight makes my running a little slower... which has a tendency to frustrate me, in all honesty. (I am already not so fast...) But my steps are freer and lighter, and therefore, I will take that!
We usually think of pride as a scenario where people are so focused on themselves in an arrogant way. But I think pride can be anything about being focused on one's self. Therefore, saying negative things about my weight is just as much of a pride issue as those who seemingly parade around their beauty.
God created me to be beautiful. He says so in Psalm 139. And that beauty shines through no matter what the scale says, when I am being the best version of who He made me to be.
I chose the word vivacious for the beginning of this year. That I want to live life to the fullest. Now, again, there is balance with everything, so I have to be careful to find those lines. But am I living vivaciously... am I being the best me God has made me to be... if I am focused on my weight?
I can answer that with a big NO. Because then I am focused on one thing and losing site of the important pieces to life.
Like going for a run and the fact that I am healthy enough to do so... no matter what my speed or my time may end up being.
Or taking my daughter horseback riding.
Or having a coffee date with my son.
Or dancing with my husband.
It can't be about the number. It's about my health.
My mom would tell me I'm ridiculous if she heard me say anything negative about my body. I am not fat, and I realize that. But it is still a struggle for me how I view my body. So perhaps I should smile and remember that. It doesn't mean I can't keep working on being the best me- physically. I can and I will. But it does mean I should not lose focus of the puzzle pieces of life that truly matter in the end... a happy, healthy me. Which do include doing TRX and running.
It's not about the scale. It's about the heart. And please keep reminding me of this when I lose sight of it. My mom always did. And she lived it. It's time I do, too. Besides, I want my daughter to embrace that about life... not the number on the scale.