A year ago I was preparing to lead a session at the Redemption Hill Church Women’s Conference on body image. It was a fruitful season for me, because I was forced to examine my own heart on the issue and encouraged by the truth I was studying to help me prepare.
12 months, 1 baby, a handful of stretch marks, and 15 extra pregnancy pounds later, I find myself in need of preparing for another session.
I could not fall asleep last night. I just kept thinking about what I looked like, and honestly a bit sad for my husband. Attending a wedding of dear friends this weekend, I laid there thinking of how beautiful I felt on my wedding day. Trying to communicate these burdens to Jon right before bed was extremely difficult. But before falling asleep, he told me he loved me more now than on that day and that I was lovely.
Lovely- adj. exquisitely beautiful
Years ago, I would have been so thankful to be called that by a man I care for so deeply.
However, in my mind, presently, this is how it plays out. Lovely. A lovely, little wildflower growing at the foot of a sexy, exciting, super attractive billboard I might pass on the highway. Yeah. One simple, real, lovely wildflower in the shadow of endless, sexual, real or fake, enticing advertisements.
I have always battled with finding contentment in who I am and what I look like compared to what the world says is better. To be even more transparent, this past week, I have been incredibly convicted of how I see myself. This might be when I am walking down the street, at the gym, among friends, alone in my thoughts or when, sadly, I am pursuing my husband. I imagine myself as the person I want to be. The image on the billboard. The jean advertisement. Maybe even some quick clip of someone I saw in a movie. How can I pursue my husband with genuine love when all I am thinking of is myself? I vowed to my husband in front of God and 170 witnesses to “pursue purity by guarding against temptations that destroy our unity and loyalty to one another.” And I have failed gravely. I am thankful for a gracious husband who continues to love me even when I have such selfish actions to confess to him.
For the believer, we can rest in how He has created us as sons and daughters. A people with purpose. A people made much more attractive by how we love and serve to reflect his image and display his magnificent glory when pursuing holiness than by our physical appearance. This is something that far endures the short season of a nice figure. As much as it is easier for me to write than believe, this is truth.
I am writing this out to bring to light how I have neglected to examine my own heart when pursuing my husband in intimacy. However, I hope my confessions drive others to think about how what we see, watch, and meditate on affects the way we see ourselves, prioritize our values, and care for others.