A Blog by Jennifer Aulthouse

A heart for those who want more of God. A desperate plea for those who don't.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Redefining Beauty

I believe I've been led to make peace with something that has held an element of psychological and emotional torture over me off and on for years, and has literally followed behind me everywhere I've went:

My rear end.

Well, not just my rear end, but I'll let it represent any and all other anatomical members (as well as my weight and clothing size) whose performance in proclaiming beauty has been questionable, in my estimate. I'm not "making peace" in the sense that I'm accepting this conceding as a defeat, though. Because that still nurtures the mindset that my physique isn't good enough, and that is so, so not where God wants me to go with this. This is about changing the standard of physical beauty I believe for some reason I need to attain or otherwise be considered visually deficient. I had it for awhile, kind of...or at least I felt like the majority of me had met the standard and it was enough to cover what maybe wasn't quite meeting the bar. But over the last year the relationship between my pants and my waist has become exclusive...they're just so close.

This isn't to say that I don't technically need to lose a few pounds, because I do, and how much really is "a few" is debatable depending on which doctor I see or what BMI chart is being read. But the pursuit of physical beauty is not meant to be taking up the mental space and energy it has been over the last year since I've gained this extra weight. Next fall will bring me a couple of free hours three days a week, and I had been planning to dedicate that time to the gym, just hoping I won't get any larger from now until then. But a few weeks ago when in a moment of mental stillness I was actually listening for the Lord, the words spoken to my heart were for me to release that planned gym time to Him. I am to stop chasing the beauty I think I need like it's some wild, intoxicating potion that will affirm my value as a woman, and start considering just what I am now as God's amazing standard of beauty for me, His created woman.

I need to shift my focus from "losing weight" to "being healthy". When the goal was losing weight, I counted calories, even to my detriment by doing things like avoiding milk and nuts. But now I will chuck the calorie counter and simply eat what I know is good for me. And accept that having an ice cream cone with my family on a warm summer evening is good for me. This is weird thinking for me because my problem with food has always been that I like it, and I like lots of what I like. I've never really had to convince myself to eat ice cream before. But I also haven't done so without having a scoop of guilt, too.

So instead of seeing areas of visual failure when looking in the mirror lately, I've made the decision to focus on the very real beauty of my shape. The world is against me in this...even our Wii calls me fat. Verbally. But the voice of the Lord has before spoken words affirming the incredible beauty - all kinds of beauty - He's made me with, and as with all things, it is simply a matter of faith to claim it in every moment. If I can honor Him with the temple He created by making healthy choices in eating, and exercising when He opens up the time, simply for this purpose, the beauty I will carry from His presence gracing my being will far surpass any display of visual splendor I could aspire to of my own.

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