3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Putting on that Bathing Suit!
We are approaching warmer weather which means vacations, pool parties, and backyard water balloon fights with the family.
Inevitably, the bathing suit comes out and the cover-ups come on as year after year, we, as women, struggle with finding that balance between feeling comfortable in a bathing suit and wanting to hide under 7 layers of beach towels on the side of the pool.
You may wonder if I feel this tension, as a fitness instructor and avid workout and health lover, and the answer is yes, of course I do! We all have our own ways of working through this and I want to remind you of 3 things before you put on that bathing suit this summer.
1.) Am I comparing my body from a previous season or person?
Own your body in this season. Let me repeat it again. Own your body in this season. What does this mean? It’s not fair for you to want what you had 10 years ago when you had zero kids, a higher metabolism, and more discretionary time. It’s not fair to compare your shorter, more muscular stature to your taller, thinner framed friend. These thoughts should highlight an area where God may be growing you in---being content. This all has less to do with the “less than perfect” situation you are in and more about what you will do with what you have. When you feel this creep up on you, replace the negative thoughts with those of gratitude.
2.) Will my kids/friends/family see a free, whole, and loved me while wearing this?
A happy, engaged mom trumps a distracted, sad mom any day. In general, people will remember how you impacted an environment which is your energy, confidence, smile and presence, more than they ever will with what you look like. Your children, most importantly, will remember these things not just beside the pool but also at home. We should feel comfortable in the skin we are in and the clothing we wear, and that may take a little practice as to how that looks, but it always starts with the thoughts we are feeding ourselves. I'll be honest--I know very thin women who are not "free and whole" when they are in their bathing suits so this has nothing to do with your size.
3.) Do I remember that my body is a temple not a trophy?
It’s so easy for us to think of our bodies as trophies given to display how amazing we were at nailing the amount of calories we manage in a day and the intensity of our workouts. While our bodies do reflect what we take into our bodies, and how we move them, there is often more than meets the eye with it. The most important thing is to provide an environment for which the Holy Spirit is felt and stirred. Our bodies are the exact tool that God gave us to do His works for the kingdom, so they do indeed matter, but not in the way that society tends to focus on them. If we remember that we carry the Holy Spirit inside of us while we have on a sweater, jeans, bathing suit, or workout clothes, it will impact greatly what we wear and how we feel in it.
These questions are intended for you to refocus and remember what the true role of your body is for…and it’s not to be a perfect display of the newest style of bathing suit. Depending on your background and history, these thoughts may be harder for some to focus on than others and you won’t be able to just turn them on one day. It is indeed a process and work of the Holy Spirit in your life. There is nothing wrong if you have to reference these questions time and time again. In fact, while I was writing this, I was reminded myself of the importance of retraining my thoughts in this area!
May we all extend grace and love to ourselves as we travel from season to season. Press on!
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