We live in a culture obsessed with women’s bodies. It’s every where you look and because of this countless women struggle with their body image. It’s part of the reason why there are so many weight loss programs. There’s 21 day fix by beach body and there’s the kayla app thing and so many others that I can’t think of. All focusing on getting a “beach body”. I’ve watched women struggle with eating disorders. I personally know women who have done these weight loss programs and gotten so obsessed with losing weight they become unhealthy (and they eventually realized it and got onto a better track with it). And with what seems to be a recent obsession with these things I’m getting concerned. I think more and more our culture is turning our bodies into idols and we are worshipping our bodies.
My Facebook feed is constantly filled with selfies and videos of women’s bodies with results from their workouts. And I hate it. I hate it because it leads to comparison. I hate it because it feeds insecurity. I hate it because it makes me feel guilty that I don’t work out every day. I hate it because it is making me obsess over my body because what I see is women obsessing over their bodies and their physical fitness/appearance. This isn’t meant to be a pity party post for Amber. I just know I’ve found myself struggling and have had conversations with some other women about the struggles we’re having regarding this topic and the way it seems to be plaguing our social media.
Yes, being healthy is good. Yes, taking good care of our bodies is good. Yes, seeking accountability and support is good. Yes, feeling confidant is good. But posting daily selfies and workout videos for all to see, can actually lead others sin. Sharing in your private accountability Facebook group is one thing, sharing on a more public l is another.
The culture has changed a lot, and we don’t walk/bike everywhere, we don’t work on farms… living our daily lives doesn’t incorporate a lot of physical activity for most professions, so making time to exercise throughout your week is actually necessary.
But I want to ask, if you’re making time to exercise for 30 minutes each day, are you making time to pray for 30 minutes each day? Are you caring for your soul in the same way you are caring for your body? Are you as concerned with what you’re putting into your body as what you’re putting into your soul? (and if you are great, but I still encourage you to be aware of just how much you are posting about your physical fitness/achievements/health compared to how much you post about your faith)
We’re called to love our God with all our heart, our mind, our body and our soul. And to love our neighbor as ourselves. Unintentionally leading other women in our lives to comparison, and then insecurity, self-doubt, etc, is not loving our neighbors as ourselves. However, I frequently find myself falling into this trap and have conversations with other women about falling into this trap of comparison.
What if we didn’t post on social media but instead had a personal conversation. What if I run into you somewhere for the first time in a while and notice that you look really healthy and compliment you. “hey, Susan, you look really good, and healthy.” And that’s when you say “Oh thank you, I’ve been working out and eating better.” And then, you have a real, in person conversation about what you have been doing to take better control of your life.
I want to see women who are confidant because they are confidant in their identity as daughters of God. I want to see women who are charitable because they are begging the Lord each day for the grace to love as He loves. I want to see women who recognize the importance of caring for themselves in order to care for their families.
As a nursing student, I have been well schooled in the importance of caring for ourselves.It’s been my homework every week for a semester. I know exercise is an important component of caring for ourselves. I know eating healthy is an important component of taking care of ourselves. But I know that most of all praying, spending time feeding our souls, is absolutely vital to taking care of ourselves. It is important for us to care for our whole selves.
Let’s stop obsessing over our bodies. Our bodies are a gift and we need to care for them so we can better serve our Lord. But we don’t need to post daily workout selfies. Being goal-oriented is helpful and having accountability is extremely helpful, I know that.
I challenge you to have one person that you set goals with, keep accountability with. Set a spiritual, nutritional, and physical goal or whatever category(ies) you need. That’s what I’m doing. I text a specific friend, hey – I’m going to the gym today and she does the same to me. Or on the flip side, I tell her I know I should workout but don’t feel like it and she talks me into it… It builds an intimate personal relationship where we are helping to build each other up so we can be better able to serve the Kingdom by caring for our minds, bodies, and souls.
Let’s be aware. Let’s be whole. Most of all, let’s love one another for who we are, especially as children of God.