I want you to know that I am praying an incredibly bold prayer for you.
I am praying that you courageously love your body as it is right now.
I say it takes courage because loving our bodies as they are – with cellulite, extra skin, stretch marks, imperfections, goes against what society wants us to think is beautiful. Diet culture leads you to believe that you aren’t worthy unless you meet some sort of realistic or unrealistic expectation.
Social media is filled with filters, edited photos, and beautiful clothes.
In some twisted habit, we roll out of bed, look at ourselves in the mirror, and then compare our real life with those other people’s highlight reels. We are always setting ourselves up for misery.
Speaking of clothes, I remember when crop tops first reappeared, and I thought, “where is the rest of that frickin shirt? I will never wear a shirt like that.” Now I love crop tops; however, I am in a place where I absolutely love my body. And back then, I didn’t want someone to accidentally see my stomach. It was my worst fear for someone else to see stretch marks and extra skin because I wasn’t okay with it.
Now, my thoughts on my stomach are it is what it is, and I love it, you know? Sure, I wish I could have a flat stomach, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t love my body.
Let me put it this way, love our husbands, children, and family members even though they are imperfect and so many ways.
We aren’t digging our heels in and not pouring out our love until they look a certain way or fit into clothes differently or lose 20 pounds on the scale. We love them, regardless.
Why in the world are we withholding one of the most extraordinary things we can give away – our love – to ourselves?
What is so wrong, impossible, difficult with loving our bodies as they are right now?
Let’s look at it like this – We are our bodies. We are our minds. We are our hearts. We are our souls. There is no separation. Agreed?
Then how much sense does it make to say, “I love me, but I don’t love my body.” It makes no sense.
So let’s change things. Let’s love now.
And before you say, “but Sarah, you are fit, you’ve reached your goals. It’s easy for you to preach love.” Let me tell you some background on me.
I fell in love with my body in 2016. It wasn’t at the peak of fitness. It wasn’t when I was fitting into all my clothes and getting all the compliments. Nope.
It was when I was halfway through my third pregnancy, gaining all the weight. I was frustrated I wasn’t having a biceps and belly only pregnancy like I had been hoping for.
And the thought occurred to me, I had so much gratitude that my body’s doing everything on autopilot.
I was nourishing it with foods that blessed it. I was sleeping well to manage my stress. And I was staying active in the gym and walking, so it felt good. I was doing everything by the book, and my body needed to gain the weight it was to help make this beautiful little miracle.
When I started loving my body, I could approach healthy habits as a language of love.
Instead of working out because I wanted to look a certain way, I got to work out because I wanted to feel a certain way.
And instead of restricting the types of foods that I eat to weigh a certain amount, I was eating foods that made me feel well.
When you start to feel good, you begin to want to do more things that made you feel that way.
I get frustrated and overwhelmed. I do have many times where I struggle. I’m not saying everything’s positive by any means, but when I approach life out of love, there is this beautiful growth and thriving no matter what situation I am in.
When I was approaching things out of hate. Nothing lasted – habits were forced never stuck. I couldn’t hate myself into loving myself. It just didn’t work like that.
I’m so thankful that love hit me like a ton of bricks and permanently shifted how I do life in the middle of my pregnancy frustration.
Back to my prayer, I want you to be courageous enough to show up and love your body today.
Recently a girl I was talking to said, “I can’t wait to make changes and start loving my body.” My response was, “why wait?”
What are you waiting for?
When you remember when you cover things in love and start speaking your body’s love language, you will feel better. And when you start feeling better, you’re going to start looking better. (even if you don’t look any different – it’s a beautiful reality.)
You will notice that love is the rising tide that lifts all your ships. Your well-being – mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical will all see improvements when choosing love first.
You will not love your body without hiccups, just like you don’t love your husband and your kids mistake-free. There are mistakes to be made all the time. There are setbacks. There are roadblocks but overcoming them always allows you to grow.
This is just a big calling on my heart. I really think it’s time for women to step up, especially moms, because our kids catch many things that we don’t say. They just see what we do. And it is our responsibility to lead them in ways that bless them.
If they see mama is always dieting, talking badly about her body, demonizing foods, or struggling with restriction and overindulgence, they will take note.
Is this the example you want to set? If not, change. You have the power. This is not a “shame on you speech” – this is an I’ve been there, and now I’m here – you can do it too pep talk.
This is my prayer for you: boldly love you just as you are. Jesus does.