A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak at a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group, a gathering of about 80 women that are pregnant, have infants, toddlers and preschoolers. These women are beautiful, talented and blessed in so many ways, although they rarely believe this about themselves. (I know this, because I have a hard time believing it myself, too.)
As moms of little ones, we sometimes only see the struggles, the challenges, the emotional impact and the brokenness that we carry.
We see our own shortcomings and imperfections very vividly. The moments that blare the loudest in our memory are the ones where we yelled, lost our temper, cooked a horrible meal, forgot about show and tell, showed up late for the millionth time, neglected to pack enough snacks and said “no” to the play date cause we just weren’t up for it.
We also are incredibly aware of our own physical imperfections. Our clothes feel so outdated, our hair has an unintentional ombré effect, and our bodies feel saggy and weak. I discovered my first gray hair yesterday and it was wiry and disgusting. I quickly plucked it out and stared at it for a while, marveling at what this nasty thing seemed to represent.
A body that is far from perfect.
All of these things contribute to an impression that we just don’t measure up. We’re not enough. We try hard, but still fail.
Our fitness level and our eating habits are a nagging reminder of our shortcomings. How often have you worked out hard, doing all the right things and you still don’t like how you look? How often have you had a really good day of eating, followed by a day that threw you fifteen curve-balls with a side of French fries and cookies? “I can’t do this! I’m a failure and I’ll never be good enough!”
Just stop. You ARE enough! Before you set your mind at trying anything, understand that what you're trying to do will not make you a better person. This will not make you more loved or even more worthy of love.
Listen to this and let it sink into your soul, momma: “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). When you were at your absolute worst, God still loved you His absolute most. You were ugly, imperfect, decaying and unworthy, yet He gazed upon you with so much love that He died for you. He gave His life for you! And it wasn’t when we finally had ourselves pulled together or had mustered up enough goodness.
This was the message I wanted to share with the beautiful women at MOPS. I have listened to countless women who are guilty about their bodies, feeling like they have failed to stay strong, fit and healthy. They are embarrassed with their weight and how “out of shape” they are. They are ashamed of their eating habits. And they are constantly reminded of their failures whenever they see a svelte female figure, or even a mom who seems to have it all together.
I want women to realize that they are already enough.
I dream of seeing women exercising because they love the way it makes their bodies feel strong and capable. I dream of seeing women eating healthfully because they love the way it provides them energy and health. I dream of seeing women pursuing fitness and nutrition to not just lose weight and look better, but because they enjoy how healthy feels.
I dream of seeing moms shedding guilt, getting rid of feeling like they don’t measure up, and understanding that they are worthy because of who they are in Christ.
When Jesus died for you, He transferred His perfection and His worth on to you. “If anyone is in Christ, (s)he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold new things have come.” (1 Corinthians 5:17)
Your value and worthiness has nothing to do with how pulled together you are or how fit you are. When you internalize this truth and can fully grasp how much you are already loved, then you can step forward and see what your body can DO! You can let go of the shame and embarrassment you feel surrounding your body and your healthy habits (or lack thereof).
You can move forward with confidence that whether or not you reach a high level of fitness, you are still worthy and are more than enough, imperfections and all.