Body Image in Motherhood

Oh the ever changing moves and grooves of our bodies. While child bearing, post bearing, and years later eating-toddler-snacks-to-get-through-the-day bearing. Body image in motherhood is hard to accept at times. The problem is when we focus on our image apart from God.

Where it all started

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate…

Genesis 3:1-6

Satan wants you to desire anything more than God and His Word.

Let’s unpack this. First, the serpent (Satan) lies to Eve, falsely repeating what God said. So eve corrects Him with what God actually said (v3). But Satan persisted to lie more. He convincingly tells her she won’t die and basically God’s withholding “his best fruit” from her. Thus, manipulating her focus away from God and unto herself. Eve knew God and knew what He said. However, the ideal of “what could be” became more desirable than what God said is.

Your image or God’s?

While we are negatively viewing our bodies, we are leaving God out of the equation. Desiring “what could be” rather than looking to God for “what is”. What is: Godly body image?

God created us unique and different on purpose with purpose. So He knows what’s best for us. Especially when it comes to taking care of our image. Our bodies were meant to change. To give birth, to give nourishment, to offer support and to love with great capacity. Our bodies not only take care of ourselves, but it creates energy and strength to take care of others too. God made us, so he holds the manual for what is good for us. How we view our body must reflect our love for our creator.

Our bodies are living sacrifices

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:1-2

We offer our bodies as living sacrifices because Jesus did first. Thank goodness he stepped in our place of receiving God’s wrath for our sin. Praise God for His knowing of what is good and evil for us. Praise God that He is more interested in the state of our hearts than how we look! Finally, praise God for loving us despite our failures and imperfections.

Our bodies – whatever stage they are in, have great value and purpose because as Christians we bare the image of God. Focus on that and leave the bathroom selifie, #summerabs to someone else.

Prayer

Dear God, please forgive me for assuming I know what’s best for my body image. Help me to take care of body from your perspective. This way I can learn to better love myself and the people around me. Amen.

5 Pitfalls of Self Care

Self care is important but there are pitfalls that can negatively impact how we self-care. This post looks at warning signs by describing 5 pitfalls we all face.

Pitfall #1: The Binge

– The binge of “I deserve”. A mentality of self reward with excessive indulgence. This may include a shopping spree, eating whatever food I want (lots of it) and later feeling great regret or guilt because of it. This pitfall lures us with temptation assuming if we engage in that activity or spend that money it will make us feel better. To avoid this temptation of indulgence we must realize that this is not self-care it’s self sabotage. Self care is supposed to fuel you up with a great sense of confidence and joy – not regret or guilt.

Pitfall #2: Being Reactive not Proactive

– Someone who self cares is a proactive person. The opposite is being reactive. A reactive approach is acting in response to a situation rather than creating or controlling it.

This one hit home for me as a new mother. I did not realize that I needed to schedule in advance my “break” or “me time” to self care. Instead I waited until the wall came and smacked me in the face. Then my husband, unfortunately for him, took my reaction of burn out. This pitfall involves zero self care as it doesn’t plan for it. Be careful for the wall – its coming and coming fast!

We need to be proactive like adding a new routine that opens space and time for our self care. This may include new daily habits that positively increase your rest, energy and ability to thrive. As well as, planning for things that bring you joy like a friend date (within your bubble/distant walk), reading or exercise. Scheduling and pre-planning is a great way to avoid the wall of burn out. Do not wait for plans to come to you, create the time now. To quote my husband, “present self doing future self favours.”

Pitfall #3: The Social Comparison

– The social comparison of assumptions, which manipulates the truth to make ourselves feel insecure. For instance, you feel insecure about your progress compared to someones success they posted online. The key is to stay in your lane of growth, success and achievement. We are all in different lanes but in the same race. As Christians we are racing for the same goal – to grow in likeness of Christ and to bring heaven on earth. Surround yourself with like-minded Christians that support, encourage and build you up in the way of Christ – not in the way of social comparison.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2

Pitfall #4: The “No Time” Theory

– Lack of prioritizing God in your life. This theory is an excuse we often use to reduce the guilt about not knowing God and His Word. If we want successful self-care, we need daily spiritual care. As Christians our priority is God. Him in us, through us, all by the workings of the Holy Spirit. Make time for God first.

Pitfall #5: Its Only About Me

– Its about who is around you. We all have a circle of people we lead and influence daily. By creating healthy boundaries in our use of time and daily habits it will help us become better people to those around us. Love your neighbour as yourself

Conclusion

To sum it up self-care is spiritual care for the Christian. No magazines, online blogs (like this one) can really tell you how to live a well-balanced life without adding a pitfall as a positive. There is a mandate to loving others and ourselves. The key is in humility. To reach this type of humility we need Jesus (loving God first). Let’s be a people of the church that talk more about the benefits of spiritual care in likeness of Jesus than self care in the likeness of people.

Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus in human form as an example in how to live and how to self care. As Jesus took time away from the crowd (Luke 5:16) to spend time with you, Father God, may we do the same. I pray that as I start to make more consistent time for you, I will learn how to love myself and others more humbly with a focus of Christ as the centre. Amen.