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I am happily married to an amazing military man who spent 9 years enlisted and is now an Officer in the US Army. We have two amazing boys who are not so little any more! They still infuse every moment of every day with creativity and energy, and make my life an adventure.  I was educated at home, and am now teaching our children - second generation homeschoolers! I try every day to become more like Jesus Christ, and to love like HE does. If you want you can try and catch me at bethylovesandy@yahoo.com

My Blog Title Verse

"For the Lord gives wisdom. From His mouth come knowledge and understanding." Proverbs 2:6 NKJV 
The Message translation puts it this way "God gives out Wisdom free, is plainspoken in Knowledge and Understanding."

Verse of the day

Monday, November 09, 2009

Confession time

This portrays me in a very real light. I would like to make myself sound stronger, better - less of a failure at letting God be in control, in several areas of my life. But I have been mulling these thoughts over for weeks. Tonight I had time to organize the thoughts. So, here they are, failures and all.

I have been attending a Monday morning Bible study for the past 12 weeks or so. The focus was on strengthening the marriage, and it was for women only.
I always enjoy getting together and chatting with other women. I think that is part of why I have this blog - nothing against any men out there who happen to read it, but men rarely comment, so I tend to forget about you - this blog is my chance to have a little "girl talk" at the end of a day being surrounded by cars, tools, guns and wrestling.
Today was the last session and one thing we talked about was our bodies, and our husband's appreciation of them.
Now, because this is a Bible study, I suppose you would think that "nap time" wouldn't be something to be discussed. But truthfully, it is a very important part of every marriage - Christian or not. God created our bodies for it, and why should we let the "world" have all the fun?
But here is the thing. We got off on a bit of a tangent for awhile because one woman talked about how she has had both a c-section and a hysterectomy this year, and cannot get her figure back, and her husband is just mean about it. Plain old mean. Now, I don't know if he says it in jest, just playing around with her, but he is still wrong.
We all assured her that she is beautiful, and that of course it takes time to recover your body, and several women who had been in previous relationships with men who were "condemning" about their bodies gave pep talks about letting God give her confidence from within.

I mostly stayed quiet. Because I can't preach words that I fail to live.

I don't have anything to complain about. My Andy would never say anything cruel. He really isn't very good at giving compliments either, but he would never say anything cruel.

And yet, I cannot be happy with my body.

I don't know why I can't be happy.
I can make excuses. I have had diseases my whole life - diabetes forced food, and every aspect of it, to the forefront of my mind from a very early age. My thyroid is overactive, and the meds for that mess with your weight.
Now epilepsy, and yet more meds.
My husband often deploys for months at a time, and I have to do something with all those emotions. Running, and crunches, and P90X have all worked well at pushing the fear away.
I suppose my intake of food, and the push to exercise and tone are some of the only things about my body, and my life, that I have any control over.
But, I am a size 2 for crying in the mud, and was nearly in tears just a few days ago over the shape of my abs.
I think I am finally admitting to myself that there is something wrong with that.

I recently read that the national average size that women desire to be is 8. Men desire a woman with a size 12 body. The actual national average is 16.

A blogger friend of mine, Nikowa wrote a whole series of blogs about body image in society today. She proudly proclaimed her own size and her happiness with less then perfection. She also wrote a fabulous blog about how the way we push for perfection affects our sons. (daughters are always worried about, but since she (and I) have sons, we want to focus on them too)

Soon after this series, another blog friend, Autumn, wrote a post about perfection. Not necessarily about body perfection, but it once again hit me.

So, I decided to do some searching. There is a book that is fairly popular right now called "Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters". I haven't read it. I have just been reading blogs about it, and comments about it, and this short excerpt. (please, if you have time, go read it)
That excerpt broke my heart.

Broke it.

Because really what it boils down to is that these women, these "perfect girls", think they have to do it completely by themselves.

Alone.

No wonder they are starving daughters.

I have no excuse. I am not alone, and never have been. Not only do I have a wonderful husband, and other amazing family and friends - but more importantly, I have the source of Contentment. The source of Joy. Absolute Perfection. Because I have HIM, I really don't need to look for perfection anywhere else.
Especially not in my stupid, quite temporary, body.
So I will make a choice to not obsess. Instead,

"I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14 NIV

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm sure that somehow this is my fault... sorry.... I have spent my entire life not happy with my body and probably put that fear into each of my girls. It's a pity...if you figure out how to fix it let me know.. love you girl.. mom

Mimi said...

Ahhh, Bethany. I love you. You ARE beautiful, so beautiful, inside and out! I have been praying ever since yesterday morning that that young woman (and her stupid husband) would see her the way that God does. I will add you to that prayer.
Love you.
(I love you, too, Nina.)

autumnesf said...

You HAVE abs???? Good night I haven't had those in years. Like 21.

Anonymous said...

Bethany could we be anymore alike?? I don't think so. Thank you for sharing honest thoughts and feelings with us. And as others have said and will say. . YOU truly are a beautiful person in every way....inside AND out. I think we must have married the same men as well. Heehee! ;)
Love ya - Debby Moore

Tricia said...

Thanks, I needed this. I may do a post related to it tomorrow. If I do, I will link back here. God bless.

Carrie said...

Aw, Bethany!!!! This completely and totally caught me off guard!
I know you know that I think you are so beautiful and I am so jealous of how you (and all your sisters) can wear absolutely ANYTHING you want and look fantastic in it!
You are so awesome...I love you! That book sounds like a must read and from reading your mom's comment I better chance my out loud dialogue in front of Katie!

Southern Wife said...

Bethany, I have to admit that when I first read this I was frustrated. I thought, "How on earth can she be unhappy with a size 2?" From my perspective that sounds like paradise, but I have now begun my journey to lose 75 pounds. I'm a size 18. The more I thought about it, though, I recalled a conversation I had with a friend the other day about something I have that she does not. She could not understand how I could not be happy in my situation when it is all she wants. I told her that we all have to learn to be happy no matter our circumstances - to change what we can, and find contentment with what we cannot. What you say is so true- we have the source of ultimate contentment, but sometimes, in all different circumstances, that is SO hard to remember.

Anonymous said...

Hey Sis,

This is so great. I have been having a lot of problems with body image too and I'm not saying I'm perfectly fine now but one day i was like...okay i'm so over this and decided to be happy with my size and since then I feel like its helped me to eat less. I guess cause I'm not thinkin about it so much. I just hate it too cause that is one of satins favorite ways to distract us from what is really important. I know we need to watch what we eat and be cautious but we need to make sure we don't over exaggerate it. I love you so so much!!!! Mary

mandy said...

I just had a conversation about this today...and how our society has taught us unhealthy things about body image. I was telling the person I was speaking to how I have always thought I was big and ugly just b/c everyone around me (who was smaller than I) would complain about their bodies, so I wondered "what must they think of me?" That was in high school and college where I weighed a good deal less than I do now...and while I could definitely stand to lose a lot of lbs, I am more content in who I am physically than I ever was growing up. Thanks for sharing...and you know I was always jealous of you in college for being so small :)...but I wouldn't trade my height for anything. Love you!