Our bodies are the most incredible creation here on earth (well, besides our souls). It is absolutely amazing what they do every single day without us even thinking about it. Our heart beats over 100,000 times per day and the blood in our bodies travels over 12,000 miles in that same 24-hour period.
I used to think of my body as just something that I could use to get attention from other people. It was something that made me feel beautiful in all of the wrong ways. I didn’t want to get fat because I didn’t want to be seen as weak by other people. I wanted to be the hottie with a body and I knew that this “want” was something that I could really control by being super strict with my exercise and diet.
Once I met my now husband, Christopher, and we began dating these desires that I had did not go away and our relationship suffered in the beginning because of it. I was dating an amazing man who had so much respect for me and I wasn’t even fully respecting myself. I was wearing tight spandex with cutout tank tops to workout in on the regular and I didn’t shy away from those lovely college Halloween party costumes. After all…mine wasn’t THAT bad compared to everyone else’s.
It took a serious conversation between Christopher and I for me to realize that this was making him insecure in our relationship, which in turn made me insecure. I knew that I needed to stop but how do you just stop a desire like that in its tracks? Honestly I don’t think you can. I think that it takes something higher and something more. For me that was God. I literally started to pray to God asking Him to rip out the desires that I was having in my heart to get attention from males for the way that I looked.
It took time, consistent prayer and constantly shifting my mindset to something else when those desires arose but eventually they did go away. To be honest I’m now ashamed of those desires that I used to have. I know there is so much more of me to offer than just my looks and I am grateful that I was able to realize that. While my desires to get attention for my body and my looks went away I didn’t completely change my perception of my body. I realized this when I became pregnant. Things in my body started to change and there was nothing that I could do about it. I was getting stretch marks (oddly enough they weren’t even on my stomach) and every time that I went to the doctor the scale was creeping up in numbers.
I was pregnant and that stuff that I described was very common but why did I hate it so much? I realized that my past insecurities were still buried deep down and I still didn’t want to let go of the body that I worked so hard to get. I kept telling myself, “I’m 20 years old. I can’t believe this is happening to me.” The one thing that I was always able to control was slipping through my fingertips. It sounds dramatic but that was seriously how I felt.
Again Christopher was the one who helped me change my mindset on this issue. One day we were conversing in the shower, where all great conversations happen, and I started to break down about how insecure I felt. Christopher had never made me feel that way, he actually affirmed the opposite, but every time I looked in the mirror I couldn’t help but convince myself that he was probably thinking the same negative thoughts about my body that I was.
When I started to break down, he didn’t understand why I felt that way and he said something that really stuck with me. In a way he was upset with me and he said, “I just don’t understand. I would give anything to be able to feel what it is like to grow a baby inside of me.” I sat in silence and guilt; ashamed that I was so concerned with a few minor stretch marks and an increasing number on the scale that was only a healthy indication of the growth of our baby.
I have been incredibly blessed by God to be a vessel by which He performs one of the greatest miracles of life. A little human is growing inside of me and has come all the way from a bunch of cells to a fully developed human that moves all around so we can see it. I get to feel every time that it kicks and every time that it gets the hiccups. I get to nourish it and feed it everything that it needs to survive. How dare I take for granted the fact that I get to do this when so many people cant? It was wrong and now I am sorry.
That day in the shower I really think I changed my mindset. I’m sure there will be times when I get caught up in what culture tells me I need to look like and there will be times when I feel insecure but I now see my body as something that is beautiful not for the way that it looks but for what it can do.
I will continue to nourish my body with healthy foods and I will continue to exercise because that is what makes me feel energized and full of life. I want my body to look good because for me that is going to be an indication that I am taking care of it. After all, my body is a temple and it has been bought at a price that I can never pay back. I am commanded to do with my body what is honorable to God, which is not only in reference to sexual things but to the physical and emotional aspects of our lives as well. I am a beautiful creation and so are you. Lets never forget that.
Here are some of my maternity pictures that document one stage of the beautiful process of pregnancy. All of the pictures are taken by my mom Dena Finley at Dena Finley Photography.