Well, spring is definitely upon us, and while I love the budding trees and more hours of sunlight each day, there is one thing Spring brings that I am not nearly as fond of: bathing suit season. Shopping for swim suits or trips to the beach bring up all kinds of insecurities and thoughts around the things about my body that I don’t like, and oftentimes I end up feeling...
Ugly. Imperfect. Unworthy.
I am all too familiar with the fact that we all struggle with body image and self-worth. We have grown up with in a world where insecurity taunts us from every direction, from the number on the scale, zits that pop up out of nowhere, the concept of thigh gap and, yes, shopping for swimsuits. It’s hard to not let the insecurities and negative feelings get to us, right? I wish I could tell you that it disappears as we get older, but it doesn't (or at least hasn't yet). With age does come wisdom, though, and with that the ability to better distinguish a truth from a lie. These lies — that we are ugly, overweight, unwanted, not enough, worthless, untalented, hopeless — they are just that: lies. They are things that we hear, read, and even begin to believe, but they are not the truth.
The truth is that you and I, we are beautiful, just as we are. The things that we deem as flaws or imperfections, the things that we wish we could change... all beautiful. Even if we don't always love them, they are what make you you and me me. Perfect in our imperfection, and fearfully and wonderfully made.
"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."
Psalm 139:13-16 (MSG)
"Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother's womb. I thank you, High God - you're breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration - what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow... all the stages of my life were spread out before you. The days of my life prepared before I'd even lived one day."
Replacing the lies we hear with the truth can be so much more powerful than we often believe (and even more so when those truths are coming straight from God). We often become what we believe we are, so let's get after it together! Rebuke the lies and tell them to get behind us. They don't belong in our heads, and most certainly not in our hearts, so let's ditch them on the side of the road and keep moving forward in truth.
And when we are feeling beautiful and good about ourselves, we don’t need to be ashamed of it. If you or I want to document that moment by taking a selfie, we shouldn't feel guilty about it. You are beautiful, I am beautiful, and may we not forget that real, true, lasting beauty isn't external anyway; it radiates from within. Love yourself, flaws and all, and then you'll best be able to love others around you.
So rebuke the lies. Buy the bathing suit. Take that selfie. And be you, bravely.