Well hey there friends! It’s been a while, hasn’t it, since we’ve visited on Mondays. I’ve been a tad preoccupied of the late with my tiny (okay, not all that tiny anymore weighing in at 13.8 pounds at 8 weeks) love nugget, little Lee.
Motherhood, y’all, is such an indescribable experience. I cannot understand how this little man has only been in my life for 8 weeks; I feel like he’s been with me my entire life. No one else, aside from his masterful Creator, knows him better than I do. And the love I have for him…it, too, is indescribable.
I had spent the previous 9 months praying for my son- his health in utero, his journey into this world, his physical and spiritual and emotional and social development and growth once he arrived- and for my husband and myself as godly parents.
And in the last month of pregnancy, I prayed for grace- grace towards my husband as the contractions set it, toward the nurses and doctors caring for me in the delivery room, toward myself as I accepted my new role and my new body.
That last part, of accepting myself as a mother, accepting the toll it would have on my body and emotions and energy, was pretty worrisome to me.
And now that I’m nearly 2 months out from this little man’s arrival into the world, I had hoped that the fluffiness I gained during pregnancy would be gone and my toned arms and thighs and tummy would magically reappear like the promises of a late night infomercial.
I’m embarrassed to admit how frequently I get caught up and transfixed on my body’s current, squishier appearance, how I can’t help but envision the sculpted biceps and abs from last summer, and how easily I forget all of the other wonders it is accomplishing right now.
Why don’t I look like that yet? It’s been nearly 2 months! That belly is gross. You’re not as attractive as you once were. You’re never going to get your body back. Just accept the reality of the squish, Michelle.
How quickly I allow let those poisonous thoughts to creep into my mind as I look in the mirror...yikes. And I know I'm not the only one who does this.
Whether its comparing myself to my former body or the bodies of others, comparison is a dangerously evil game. Christ clearly warns us how treacherous this activity can be in distracting us from what really matters: we are sacred, we are precious, we are His. And that’s what we’re focusing on today.
During my pregnancy, it seemed like everywhere I went- the gym, the elementary school where I teach, baby showers- everyone would praise me, saying, “Oh you’re going to be the BEST mother!” and “You’re son is going to be so lucky to have you as his mom” and “You look fantastic! You’re all baby”.
And while those comments helped boost my confidence as my stomach grew and due date approached, I still couldn’t help but worry if I would be good enough, if I would know what to do when it gets hairy scary at 3 a.m. and my boy is wailing like a itty bitty banshee, if I would be able to handle the pressures that come with being a mom, if my body would bounce back or if I would have to settle for a mushy ‘mom bod’.
Y’all, one of the largest lessons I’ve learned about motherhood over these past 8 weeks is to stop the comparing- myself to other moms, plushy postpartum body to my toned pre-baby body, my son’s napping habits to other babies, the way I do things to the way the ‘books’ recommend.
Sheesh, it’s a dark, doomed path to go down.
Whether you find yourself comparing your body, your family, your career, your stuff, or your marriage to others’, I think we’d all agree it’s an express ticket to Sad Town.
Good ol’ Theodore Roosevelt so rightfully said, “Comparison is the thief of joy”, and living a life without joy is senseless. After all, Christ came and died so we could have a life of hope and light and joy.
Comparing yourself to others leads to you doubting your worth, thus doubting and insulting the abounding, fierce love and sacrifice of Your Father.
Don’t allow Satan to ensnare your mind, whispering to you that you are not a good parent because you forgot your son’s soccer practice or that you aren’t good enough for your family because you picked up take-out for dinner or haven’t folded the laundry for four days.
Paul knew what’s up when he was writing to the Galatians. He drops a lot of truth bombs throughout the whole book. He writes in chapter 5, verses 25-26:
Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.
Friends, God has masterfully created each and every one of us, with a unique, original purpose that ultimately glorifies Him and fulfills His will.
Right now, I cannot deny His calling to my soul to be a mother. And, as a mother, I must celebrate the wondrous, miraculous things God is accomplishing through the healthy vessel He has graciously given me. My body is able to carry around my butterball of a son; my body is able to produce enough milk to sustain and nourish my son; my body is able to comfort and calm my son when he is fussy or frightened; my body is able to rapidly heal and repair itself after bringing my son into this world for 14 hours.
How dare I question or so cruelly criticize God’s work and purpose for my body? How dare I insult His work?
Paul goes on in Galatians 6:4 to write, “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life."
We are to do the best with our lives, y’all.
Maybe you aren’t facing issues with comparing your physical body, but you struggle comparing your finances or family or job to the situations of those around you or those of your past or those of your imagined goals.
Through the past 60 days and late nights and early mornings and hundreds of miles of strolling, I’ve had plenty time to reflect on this new role of motherhood I’ve been gracefully and purposefully assigned.
And, like Paul urges us, all I can say is that I’m doing the best I can every day. Have I made plenty of mistakes already with my son? You betcha! But, I face each tomorrow with a smile, acknowledging the blessings and joy God has in store for me with this new boy, no matter how my jeans fit.
When you fill your heart with gratitude, it’s hard to hear Satan’s sneering that you’re a failure, that you should be doing better, that you are not enough. Because in the eyes of our Savior, we are enough. No matter how grand the dirty dish tower in our sinks.
We are called to live our lives for an audience of one: Our Creator. Our bodies, our lives, our souls are not our own. We are here to be sanctuaries for His holy purpose.
So whether you think you're a little too scrawny or crippled or chubby or wrinkled or poor or clumsy or forgetful or loud or whatever it is that's disrupting your soul satisfaction with our Savior, remember we’re here to be Christ’s tools for doing His goodness in this world. So let’s get to it, y’all!
Today’s Challenge: Think of an area in your life you catch yourself ambling down the path of comparison. Have a conversation with the Father about it, either in your head, out loud, or in a journal (my personal favorite). By confessing its control, you are already taking a step toward healing. Ask Him to remove its control over your thoughts and to replace it with a sense of contentment and acceptance of the role He has for our lives. Ask Him to guide you this week in clearly seeing and fulfilling the person, the spouse, the parent, the sibling, the friend He designed us to be.
Today’s Prayer: Father God, forgive me when I criticize myself, doubting the immense love You have for me. I praise You for the gifts You bestow upon me daily: this body, the loving people You surround me with, the satisfaction I have in You. Let this satisfaction sink into my soul today and spill over into the lives of those around me. I am Your vessel Lord. Use me to do Your will, and help me to remember that I’m here to serve You instead of myself. Lead me in peace this week, Lord. I praise Your holy name.
Healthy Happy Texan
I'm a Foodie, Fitness Instructor, and Follower of Christ. Add a passion for teaching others, dark chocolate, bacon, and dogs -- and that's me in a box.
Come on, let's live a little!