Get ready... this is Honesty Hour: and how i'm realllllly doing these days.
Most days this month, you could find me ignoring the mirror and the scale. The moment that I finally knew I had to shop for swim suits for the summer, I was walking the other direction and gave up at stores quicker than I usually would. The last three months of learning how to a new schedule as a full-time photographer has made it hard to keep up a workout regime and healthy diet, so when I finally did settle on a suit, it was one size larger...
I don't know your body image history, but I am almost sure that the moment you step on the scale or put on your normal size and realize it doesn't fit anymore, your stomach sinks. And LET'S BE HONEST, the way we feel about our bodies doesn't stop the moment you get a man who adores you. Sometimes it even heightens the pressure and stress of being the perfect shape and right weight.
Add to that everyday mix the feeling of needing to be magazine cover ready for your wedding day, and you got ONE GUT-WRENCHING CONCOCTION that you have to deal with every weekend when you compare your body to the next girl's at the pool and every dress fitting that you have.
Will it fit this time? Will it need to be taken out more? Maybe I shouldn't have eaten that cheesecake or did the 10 minute ab workout.
GIRL, I am RIGHT THERE with you. So this month and this blog is for you, who I pray let's the Lord's full acceptance in and stands in the power of knowing that You are loved. You are beautiful. Your body is God's holy temple. So know that THAT is what makes you absolutely stunning on your wedding day. The rest of it? Well you are taking it one day at a time, doing what you can, so here are some tips to help in those moments.
Hey Lady! I know first-hand that keeping Christ at the center during wedding planning and engagement is difficult. Let's be real, sometimes Jesus seems like he is nowhere to be found at all. Are you looking for someone to remind you of Truth like this during engagement? If so, click here to get monthly newsletters that will give you that pop of encouragement right when you need it most :)
Tips for Curing the American Photoshop Obsession
The best thing to do when you feel yourself starting to get caught up in size, weight and scales is STEP OUT. Stop drinking down the Photoshop poison of perfection that will meet you in every media outlet. Instead, get into your comfiest clothes, go outside, and thank God for the breath and life in you. Seriously. This helps me every time. You can find me in yoga pants walking around the lake, just breathing in the air. If you need someone to give you permission to stop the rat race of comparison, I got you girl. You have my permission. Put your phone down and go outside.
Is there someone in your life judging your shape or weight? It may be time to not let that individual have an influential spot in your journey to the aisle during this season of engagement and preparation. I challenge you to discern if the individual is being supportive or judgmental before letting go. If you find that the individual is being supportive, communicate with them how difficult it is to be instructed on what to do and let them know how they can help you move towards a healthy lifestyle with more kindness. If the individual is being judgmental, think carefully about how to kindly step out of their path. That might look like seeing them a bit less, or talking to others when you're in the same room. It could also look like a request to change the conversation. Remember to be kind.
America's obsession with the perfect body is unattainable, but our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, so we aren't exempt from taking care of them. If you are having trouble eating well and exercising (I'm right there with ya!), start small with healthy snacks, simple recipes (like the best banana pancakes from The Faith Feast!), or a short weekly workout. The one thing I know is that today can be the first day of a new habit. You just have to get about creating it :)
My personal jams right now that have been super helpful are: Kayla Itsines 28 minute workouts (which happen only 3x a week), a family member's challenge to go without sugar (it's totally possible, and fruit is soo much sweeter right now!), and a meal plan with 5 meals that work with what things I already like to eat.
Remember how I said to step out of what this world is telling you? When I say that, I also mean LOOK UP. When you're feeling a muffin top start to form and it's harder than anything to squeeze into your favorite pair of pants, it's critical to first STEP OUT of those pants and LOOK UP to remember what really matters. Our bodies and beauty, while beautiful, is sooo fleeting. It's going to be gone so quickly. So while it's important and critical discipline to have a healthy lifestyle, know that keeping in tune with the Creator whose home is going to be our permanent residence when we leave this side of heaven... is WAY more important. Girl, remember there's bigger things going on.
"Charm is deceptive & beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."
- Ps. 31:30
Purify Your Heart
While this is the most personal and tangible blog post I've done in regards to having a healthy lifestyle, do not think for a second that I'm not thinking about your heart and the intangible. God's got a way of knowing what is on your mind and there is a difference between getting healthy from a heart of comparison and a heart of thanksgiving.
The heart of comparison is filled with fear that is sure she will be rejected or pointed out because of her unhealthy eating habits or lack of working out. The heart of thanksgiving is filled with love for self and God, knowing that her body is where God's Spirit is living and that we are to steward what He's given us. You may have only heard the word "steward" when people talk about managing their finances well, but it perfectly applies here to. We're called to steward our bodies well, with a heart of thanksgiving.
“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
- 1 Samuel 16:7
Be About His Work
Okay, final point here, girl. I pray that this blog has not only given you tangible steps and guidance in what to do when you feel like you aren't "Bride" Material, but also spiritual encouragement as to where your heart should be turned to when you're fighting this battle. I'll leave you with just one phrase - Be About His Work.
Let you life show that you are in tune with what His Kingdom is bringing, and what His plan is for you and your Groom. That plan includes showing grace, patience, and love to one another, and preparing what has been given to you for your wedding day. That includes your physical being, your finances, your everything. So girl, step out, start small, look up, and more than anything - Be About His Work.
“Your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? Therefore honor God with your bodies."
- 1 Corinthians 6:19a-20b