I've worked in the fitness industry for over 10 years now and been thinking on how we as women are faced with a lot of pressure around physical beauty. The fashion, ideal body shape, diets and workouts have all changed and I can't really think of a time when women did not define themselves by some ideal of physical beauty. Though the definition of beauty changes over time one thing remains constant - it is always a definition of beauty that is just beyond our reach. We want what we cannot have. If curvy is hard, we want curvy. If thin is hard, we want to be thin and this expectation of physical perfection hits us early on in life and often.
I was reminded as I sat in a Hawaiian church last Sunday that God loves us exactly where we are. For real! He Does! Not the skinnier version. Not the stronger version. We are image bearers of God. He made us just the way we are, in His image and likeness. This truth is so much more powerful, hopeful and encouraging than any worldly, societal pressure making me think some definition of physical perfection will bring ultimate happiness. That's a lie. Beauty is fleeting and our health will not last forever.
In this as in all things, there is hope and good news for the believer: one day we will enter Heaven and be free from our self-loathings and live in harmony with our physical looks. In the meantime we should absolutely steward the gifts of our physical bodies but for the sake of health and wellness not beauty.