No one really talks about body image during the holidays, but we should.
Cookies. Pie. Pumpkin everything.
There are a lot of delicious choices during the holidays. At parties, playdates, Starbucks, Trader Joe’s, everywhere you turn. So many of them are “seasonal,” which makes me want to indulge all the more. I mean, all of the pumpkin things will be gone soon. I need to get them in my belly!
I don’t know about you, but come January, I often regret my holiday indulgences. I look at the scale, the bulge at my waistline, my bloated features, and all those pieces of pumpkin pie seem like a really bad decision. More than that, I look at my reflection and see a lack of willpower, self-control. I see what I assume everyone else sees, someone who couldn’t stop a just one sugar cookie, just one roll, just one piece of pie.
Not too mention the fact that January signifies a new year. Another year older. Another year further from the fitness and firmness and vibrancy of my youth. Another year looking less and less like a 20-year-old and having to fight more and more to reclaim that decade.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to feel that way this January. But that starts now.
Here’s the decision we need to make. We need to decide for ourselves. Do I have to hate the way I look in order to make healthy choices? Or, can I be content, grateful even, for my age, my metabolism, my genetics? Can I care for my body out of contentment and gratitude rather than comparison and envy?
Christmas is only a couple weeks away. There’s a lot of pie between now and then. And this is where we decide how we are going to FEEL about all that pie.
Are we going to enjoy our time with family and friends? Can we understand the important role food plays in fellowship and community? Or will we regret every bite?
I don’t think January 1st is when we decide to make a fresh start. I think it’s today. I think today is the day we decide the holidays are about Christ’s birth, life, and death to free us from this world. To set us free from our sins, yes, and give us a spirit of power and self-control, that too. But Christ came to earth, took on flesh not so that we would remain slaves, but be free. He did not suffer for us to remain in an annual prison of self-loathing and comparison and longing to meet cultural ideals.
Christ died for me to live life to the full, not to regret every calorie consumed.
Today is the day you decide. Will you go into this holiday determined to enjoy the people around you and be thankful for the food provided? Will you go into this holiday with gratitude for how you were created, the genes you were given, or worried about fitting into those jeans from your high school? Will you care for your body out of a desire to serve God more energetically next year, and for many years to come? Or will you strive to mold your body into an image from your past or cultural ideal?
I’m not going to lie. I need to lose weight this year, and I know it. But I’m determined to do so without self-loathing or shame. I’m determined to do so without longing for the features of my past or envying the features of others. I’m determined to grow in contentment in the body God has chosen to give me, gratitude for the many days I’ve spent on this earth (even if my appearance shows it), and peace in knowing my purpose is not to be looked at but to reflect the image of another.
Before you take another bite, before you worry over another wrinkle, before you set another goal for 2017, remember this:
People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. (1Samuel 16:7)
He knows our WHYs and our WHAT FORs. He knows the reason we signed up for that gym membership, the guilt we feel over that hamburger, the way we long to look the way we did at prom or at our wedding or before we had babies. He knows how much we spend LONGING to LOOK a certain way in the mirror, to the world. He knows our minds. He looks at our hearts. And He has placed our worth, our preciousness, our purpose in our HEARTS, which will never wrinkle or waste away.
Let’s ask ourselves: why do we stress over holiday pounds? Is it because we want to live long, energetic lives serving God with all we’ve got? Or is it because we want to be complimented and admired for our exterior? I know my answer, and my goal is to change it starting now.
Pie definitely has a purpose in holiday fellowship, and I’m going to enjoy every (reasonable) bite. What about you?
READS & RESOURCES:
Here are some links to posts I’ve written on this topic and resources I’m using to take the next step:
Here are 15 Positive Body Image Bible Verses to pray over and meditate on as Christmas approaches.
A friend of mine, Asheritah Ciuciu, is coming out with a book this January that will BLESS YOU, I guarantee it. Go now and pre-order- FULL: Food, Jesus, and the Battle for Satisfaction.