I’m not one for new year’s resolutions. They always seem a bit cliché to me. To me, the important thing is to be growing the whole year round - not just making the decision once a year to change one aspect, and then not even sticking to it. But something about making goals at the start of a new year of life seems different. It feels more personal in a way, and more private. Like on Oct. 20, I'm the only person making a resolution.
This year, as I began my 26th year of life, I resolved to take better care of my body. Anyone who knows me might laugh at this. When I tell people I want to start eating healthier, the reply is usually “but you are one of the healthiest eaters I know!” I work out four to six times a week, and try to be intentional about maintaining the care of my body. So why do I feel the need to do better in this area?
I’ve always struggled with the way I look. It’s important to recognize that no one is immune to this. My sister always used to cry when people told her she was skinny. Me, on the other hand, critique my eyebrows or the shape of my forehead. I could write a list 20 items long on things I want to change about my appearance. And the past couple years I began to realise that I am eating healthy and working out regularly simply to maintain a look. It had nothing to do with what my body needed or giving it the nutrients it craved. I began to recognize that it was more important for me to have a certain calorie count a day than it was to replenish with healthy fuel. I would eat unlimited candy, justifying that my meals consisted of salads and lean meats, so why not? I had the calories to spare.
Sound familiar? I am hard pressed to find a woman who has not (or is not currently) struggled with her body as it pertains to her identity. If I could only lose 5 extra pounds, then I would be satisfied, we say. We race after this image that had been burned in our brains by countless billboards, magazines, commercials, television shows, ads - the list goes on and on. Just step one foot into the mall, and you are hit with new styles that change every week, only to leave with the message that you are not enough until you have all, be all, and look impeccable to top it off. It’s no wonder why we as woman feel inadequate in the way that we present ourselves, no matter how hard we try. And here is the cold, hard truth: when you let society tell you the standard to live, you will never measure up. After all, society profits from your self doubt.
So, on my 26th year of life, I said enough was enough. I was tired of chasing after standards that were set for me. I was tired of the anxiety that came after unhealthy meals eaten. I was tired of eating healthy only to look at certain way. I decided I wanted my 26th year of life to be marked by health - simply because I wanted to feel better, not because I wanted to look better. Maybe you are tired of feeling this way too, sister. Maybe you are a bit fed up as well. If that’s the case, let me throw some truth bombs your way.
You are not defined by the clothes that you wear.
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. (Matthew 6:28-29).
You are not defined by the way that you look (you are wonderfully made, simply because you are).
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:14)
You are not defined by how you measure up to the status quo.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
You are not defined by your past.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
You are not defined by your outward appearance.
Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. (1 Peter 3:3).
You are created in likeness of the God of the Universe.
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)
You are complete, just as you are, because you are cloaked with righteousness in Christ. Your identity is sealed in that, because Christ sealed it for you. In my 26th year, I want to love my body, not because I idolize it, but because I admire the handiwork that the Lord has created. I want to yearn for healthiness, not because I find my identity in the way that I look, but because when I feel better I am able to serve better. I want to value the inner workings of my heart more than the outer workings of my body. I want to have gentleness and humility radiating from me, for that is a truly breathtaking and timeless fashion statement, one that will never go out of style.
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Abbie is a 25-year-old living out of the abundance of Jesus' unending grace and mercy. She thrives off deep vulnerability and connection with others, while striving to live into the call of outpouring encouragement onto others. Often described as feisty, passionate, talkative, and compassionate, Abbie is an ENFJ through and through. You'll most likely find her training for a race, handlettering or painting, whipping up a new healthy and whole recipe in the kitchen, singing worship songs at the top of her lungs in my car, or watching The Office with her husband. What does she love most? Pretty light, hearing people's stories of redemption, peonies, her husband's smile, white walls, and the smell of rain.