I watched an episode of the Doctor Oz show a few years ago that was dedicated to helping women feel better in their swimsuits.
Every woman in the audience was beach-ready, wearing only her bathing suit (no cover ups allowed). The good doctor talked on every aspect of getting ready to strut your way to the pool, including: how to rev up your metabolism, blast cellulite, tone your tummy, and, (the grand finale) how to find a swimsuit that will hide everything if all of his other methods don’t work.
He took some time to encourage the women, ranging in size from 6 to 26. He affirmed that they didn’t have to be airbrushed perfect to be beautiful. Ironically, this pep talk was delivered as they held the plank pose to firm their abs.
Through the segments, the women awkwardly stood there, nodding and smiling as they tried to figure out where to put their hands and arms so as not to hide their bodies (they were told not to do that). They tasted the magic fat-burning concoctions (grapefruit juice, apple cider vinegar and honey) and learned about a new firming cream.
Does Dr. Oz have the answer? Is this how you (finally) feel good about yourself in a bathing suit? You simply repeat, “I’m a real woman not a Photoshopped magazine model” 100 times a day and then–after drinking his recipe for special weight loss kool-aid and getting a $200 suit that features an extra layer of lycra–you will finally, once and for all, feel fabulous on the beach this summer?
I don’t think so.
Here’s why I know that doesn’t work. I have friends that stare at the scale and see the number 200. I have other friends that look down and see 120. Both have equal amounts of displeasure with their bodies. Sure, my heavier friend would say to my lighter friend that she doesn’t understand her plight. But, the scale is a wicked master and if you are its slave it will make sure you are never content.
So, how does the Gospel help? It seems like a stretch, doesn’t it? Could the Gospel of Jesus Christ really help me feel better in my tankini?
Yes. Here’s how: if I whole-heartedly believe that I am accepted by God through Jesus…if I truly believe that Jesus loves me...and that he loved me so much that he would die for me, then why in the world would I worry about being accepted by anyone else?
If I truly had a kingdom perspective, where I understood that this is just a temporary place, a temporary body, and a temporary condition, why would I fixate on the digital read out from a box on the floor?
If I was able to fully understand, grasp, and comprehend God’s love for me–would I ever have cause to be body conscious again? If I could just grasp the magnitude of God the creator in relation to us, the creation, I would have no reason to be afraid of what others think of my thighs. God loves me even when they touch in the middle, so what does anyone else’s opinion matter?
If I could understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and believe it, swimsuit season wouldn’t really matter very much.
I don’t have this mastered. But, I’m working on it.
By salvation, of course, I don’t mean that I think I’ll go to heaven if I’m thin. But, instead, I think I’ll find heaven here on earth if I look a certain way or wear a certain size–then, I’ll be totally accepted and admired. I replace what is true: that there will never be anything even close to the magnificence of heaven here on earth (even if everyone wanted me on the cover of their magazine), with a fantasy. An idolatrous fantasy. A fantasy where I am great enough to save myself if I can just lose another 15 pounds and where salvation’s reward is having people think I’m cute.
Wow, did I really just confess to being that lame?
Now, don’t read in what I’m not saying. We are to be good stewards of our bodies. There is nothing wrong with losing a few pounds (or more) if you need to. Taking care of the body God gave you requires a certain amount of attention. I love helping people lose weight because they do feel better, physically.
But, what I also notice is that unless their hearts are aligned with Jesus, they get disappointed when they realize weeks or months later that weight loss was not enough. All of the insecurity doesn’t go away just because the number on the scale went down.
Want to know how to look great in a swimsuit?
Change your perspective. Change your heart.
Allow the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his incredible love for you and complete acceptance of you to so transform your life that you don’t have time to obsess over your “problem areas.” Allow him to transform your heart, and then he can help you as you work to change your body.
Better than Dr. Oz, only He can rid us of our fears of swimsuit season.
He remembered us in our weakness. His faithful love endures forever.
Psalm 136: 23
******This was originally published in May of 2012******
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