As I have been thinking about and writing these body image blogs, I have become more aware of the messages we get in our culture about what it means to be confident in our own skin.
This morning as I was working out, the workout instructor was talking about getting your "summer body" ready. She said something like "you will want to have toned legs so you can feel confident at the BBQ's you go to this summer".
As innocent and well intended as I believe that statement was, these are the type of beliefs that are distorting our perspectives on what it means to be confident in our bodies.
Don't get me wrong, I think exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Study after study shows how exercise can help improve your physical and mental health in so many ways. Exercise is an incredible way to show your body you care about it.
Yes, being in shape can make you feel more confident, but do you know how many incredibly fit people still don't feel secure and confident in their bodies?
This goes back to our widely accepted cultural lie that if you look a certain way (thin, fit, beautiful), you will therefore feel a certain way (confident, happy, successful). That's what it is though, a lie. Are you believing this lie? I know I have.
You know who is likely to be the most confident person at the BBQ? The one who is more focused on connecting and loving others than focusing on how their legs look that day. The person who knows their life has a purpose and who finds their identity in the Lord's good plan for them. Sure, they could be very "toned", but they also may not be.
If I haven't hit home this point yet, here it is: You will not find longterm happiness, self-confidence, or purpose if your focus is on how your body looks. Looks fade. There is so much more to you than your appearance anyways- your personality, your mind, the way you treat and serve others, your God-given gifts and talents, and who you were uniquely made to be.
Don't accept the lies we are fed. You have the right and ability to love who you are regardless of your appearance. Don't let amazing opportunities, life experience and even everyday moments pass you by because you are so wrapped up in worrying about how you look. Life is way too short for that and you were made for so much more.