Confession: my skinny shorts don’t make me feel skinny.
Ten years ago, I went on Weight Watchers and lost 20 pounds. I met the man of my dreams in these red shorts from the Gap, feeling more confident than I had in a long time. Maybe ever. I sported a nice tan from spending hours each day at my parents’ pool, and I wore bangs for the first time since childhood, channeling my inner Katy Perry, minus the girl-kissing. The physical attraction I felt for him on that first meeting was mutual. He told me later that he noticed my toned and tanned legs before anything else.
One decade and two babies later, the shorts still fit, as does the dress I wore on our first date. Though I’m not as toned or tanned, I should feel as confident in them now as I did then, right?
When I look in the mirror, I still battle the inner monologue of low self-worth. I still fight to make my value NOT what the scale says, or what the tag in my shorts say.
I spent so many years of my life with a CONDITIONAL view of my body. “If I lose 5 more pounds, I’ll be happy.” “If I could fit into size ___, I’ll be content.” “If I could tone up my arms, get a tan, tighten my abs, clear up my face, etc… I’ll be confident in who I am.”
This phenomenon is not a 21st century problem. Someone else did this, long, long ago.
That girl is Leah, Jacob’s first wife. The “unloved” one. She had 6 sons for him, and almost every time she birthed a new boy, she said, “Now my husband will love me.” Back then, in Bible times, a woman’s value and worth was in her ability to produce sons. Leah was skilled at this. She was popping out big strong boys right and left. But she never got what she really wanted, which was her husband’s love and affection. In Genesis 29:34 she says, “Now this time my husband will be attached to me because I have born him three sons.” She says the same thing in Genesis 30:20, after giving birth to his 6th child. It breaks my heart. Did she even get what she was doing? Her view of her worth was conditional, based upon the love of her husband.
Fast forward to the 21st century. I am not unlike her. I live in a time when a woman’s self-worth is in her ability to fit into her skinny jeans! But when I strive to be a perfect size, a perfect weight, what am I really after? Acceptance? A feeling of complete-ness?
I’ve done the dieting thing, I’ve seen a range of sizes, and guess what? I am the same me at every size, with the same struggles and the same longing for something more. How I view myself should not be dictated by what size I am or how I feel about myself at the time. My feelings are conditional, they are temporary. I need a foundation more solid than a feeling. I need truth.
The truth is that I can walk in freedom because Christ has set me free from the bondage to strive to be anything other than who He called me to be. I can walk in my purpose at a size 12 or a size 6. When I beat myself up for the way He designed me, I’m spitting in the face of my Creator. He created me for a purpose far greater than how I look in some red shorts I got at the Gap outlet in 2008.