Momsanity Sister Elizabeth Schaaf is the kind of girl I can’t say enough good things about. Lots of personality and spunk with such a big heart! She is really easy to like and you’ll feel as if you’ve known her ten years. Read how she now views her body through the lens of God….
I’m staring at forty. Staring hard. It’s glaring back. I have a mere 46 weeks left before I’m Over The Hill. Old. No longer young.
However, standing right before this milestone age is a perfect time for me to look at who I am. Who does the world see? More importantly, who does God see? I pray He sees the woman outlined in Proverbs 31:10-31, or at least a woman who is striving to be this pleasing to Him.
I am certainly not perfect, and I know that right now, one of my biggest challenges in my faith and daily life is putting other gods before God. Putting things in my life first that aren’t the Creator. It’s such an easy place to fall. I easily get wrapped up in my appearance. By this, I don’t mean the typical vanity like makeup and jewelry and just the right clothes (although I do enjoy all these things!). I mean my size. I’ve never been happy with my body. I’ve always been larger, even when I was actually young and constantly active with basketball, softball and cross country. As the decades have passed and I haven’t been as active, as attentive to my nutrition, and combined with pregnancies where I gained way too much, the feelings I felt as a teen are still there.
When I give these insecurities too much room in my life, I end up putting them before my relationship with God. I find myself all too often trying to improve my body without His assistance. There’s no way I can make changes with my own willpower! That never leads to real, substantial change. I’ve also found myself getting too wrapped up in the tricks of outward appearance without realizing the changes going on inside, like better health test results. In his infinite wisdom, God did not make us all look alike! I can look at my own kids and see that – same mom, same dad, three very different looking people with different body types and faces and challenges themselves. When I stop comparing myself to my younger self, when I stop comparing myself to others, I start looking at myself in a more healthy perspective. Instead of striving for the ultimate body, I remind myself that I am His, and I can honor Him by taking good care of myself with good, wholesome food and proper exercise. Health doesn’t always reflect the number on the scale, and when I’m healthy, then I can do what He wants me to do.
Momsanity has been a Godsend as I’ve learned so much about how to tie in my nutrition with reasonable workouts. Over the past few years, I’ve found myself working out because I want to and crave the movement, not just because it’s going to result in a better body. Most importantly, He has used the Godly emphasis of this group to hit home in a very real way that I’m exactly who God created. I am me. I am His creation. The One who created everything ever knows my name (Isaiah 43:1-2)! He never forgets me, and my name is written on the palms of His hands (Isaiah 49:15-16). These are things I knew, but I never let them sink in. Just do that with me for a moment. Say these things out loud. Hide them in your heart. Not only does He love me in some kind of general loving the world kind of way, He knows ME. My NAME.
While forty may be a yucky number to some, I’m going to wrap myself in strength and dignity and laugh at the days to come (Proverbs 31:25). I’m reminding myself that scripture makes it very clear that God wants to be first in our lives, and that includes pushing Him aside to do our own version of self improvement. I’m physically, mentally and spiritually stronger than I was at 25, 30 and 35, and I wouldn’t be the woman, wife, mother, sister, daughter I am today without Him and the amazing things He has done. I’m going to stand with courage and dignity knowing I’m a Child of the King, and I strive to take the best care of this child that I can! He made me. And I laugh with freedom looking forward knowing that He is with me every step of the way, just like He’s been all along.
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