It was the summer of 2004 and I was in the best shape of my life. I was running 6 miles a day, going to the gym, and eating tons of green leafy things-But then it would happen,every single time. Just when I thought I was looking my best, I would always bump into no shortage of women that were skinnier, prettier, more talented, and smarter (so annoying!).
Then I would look in the mirror, and it would reveal even more horrors that somehow I must have overlooked the last time.
Insert: more running, more broccoli, more discipline.
I was like a hamster in a ball, working really hard and getting no where. Why? Because my identity was wrapped up in external beauty and the world’s standard for beauty is always changing – I couldn’t keep up! If we are chasing the culture’s standard for beauty, we might as well hop on in the hamster wheel and prepare for utter failure and disappointment.
Listen, it doesn’t matter if you made the “hot list” or the “not list.” It doesn’t matter if you eat green smoothies every meal or McDonalds is your second home. It doesn’t matter if you are 18 or 68 (lipo or no lipo), most all women at some point in their life will struggle with not feeling beautiful.
Beauty in the Bedroom
Take a look at what the Shulamite woman says to her husband in Song of Solomon 1:6,“Do not gaze at me because I am dark, because the sun has looked upon me.”
She was embarrassed and wanted to hide because her skin was nice and dark. What??!!! Apparently back in the day pasty-white was in.
If I would have lived in those days, I would have been awesome with my pasty-white Twilightesque skin coloring.
Just like the Shulamite woman, we know every little hair that is out of place, every roll that shouldn’t be there, every blemish, and every crooked tooth. Because we don’t like what we see (and it certainly doesn’t match up to the Victoria’s Secret girls), we try to hide – where is my fig leaf!?
Before marriage, I was insecure about my microscopic spider veins and hairy arms. An “I do,” 11 years, and 3 children later, my tendency is still to hide, but this time I’ve got much bigger problems than my arms and tiny veins. Giving birth to three babies takes a toll on a woman’s body – one that is well worth it. Our last bundle of joy left a bundle of weight on my body – a whopping 60 pounds that is.
Being 5’11, it is a little easier to hide junk in the trunk, but honey nothing hides naked!
During this time in my life, I felt so fat and ugly that I just didn’t want to be touched. I mean, “Who wants to hop into bed with this muffin top!” So much of our sexual desire is wrapped up in whether or not we feel desirable. I did not feel desirable. I did not feel worthy of my husband’s affections. I certainly did not feel “sexy.” However, one thing I have recently learned is that you don’t have to feel desired in order to be desired. So often our husbands don’t necessarily want what we think they want; they just want us.
I still struggle with insecurities.
I will be eating right, exercising, taking showers (more often) and start feeling good about myself. Then it happens. I look in the mirror and I’m like, “AHHHH, who stole my body!!”
Or Yesterday…I got a precious reminder from my daughter, when she asked me If I was sad that I do not have a belly button anymore. I said, “No, not really.” Then she said, “Well..I just think it is really sad.”
Maybe you can relate: You are growing older and your body is starting to become more and more like something you would see on the Discovery Channel. Maybe you are thinking, “Umm, did I sign up for tribal? Can we please fast-forward?” I know my husband signed up for better or worse but I don’t think he realized he’d be getting this (at least there is proof gravity exists!)
Then you get off the Discovery Channel and start flipping through the channels and everyone seems to be in better shape, with perkier everything.
None of them seem to have cellulite or wrinkles, and of course they are having very, very hot sex (or so it seems). Like..”The Notebook” hot sex!
You don’t want sex because you feel too ugly, too fat, too skinny, too old, too frumpy, too tired!! If our sex life is a game of hide and seek, our husband is doing the seeking, and we are doing the hiding (under the covers, with the lights off).
As you’re contemplating how good you don’t look anymore, you pull out your cell phone and start text bombing your husband all of these attributes you hate about yourself, as if you are filling him in on something he has not heard a hundred times before. Really, what we want from him is affirmation – that yes, he knows our flaws, but yes, he loves and desires us. This is the greatest longing of every woman, to be fully known, and yet still fully loved.
I can assure you ladies that the whole complaining about your BIG ugly to your husband is not increasing his sex drive or yours.
So what is a girl to do when she has lost her groove, and sexy walked out the door last year taking your sex drive and confidence with her?
Lipo? Spanx? Kale? Buy new clothes? Makeup? Hot Yoga? Running or other forms of torture???
Don’t get me wrong; exercising is crucial for your health mentally, physically, and sexually.However, what our marriage really needs is a heart change.
Looking into the mirror will always leave us with a lacking sex drive, because let’s face it: there will always be someone prettier and skinnier, and we could always lose a few more pounds.
Our true identity is discovered through the lens of God’s Word where our unworthiness is met with met with His unrelenting love.
The Bible teaches that we are all fat with sin (Romans 6:23) and no amount of running around doing “good deeds” could work this load off. We were spiritually ugly from conception (Psalm 51:5), and no amount of self-righteous makeup could hide this blemish. If it were not for Christ, we would have all stayed in this estate: hiding, ugly, disgraced, and slaves. However, God, out of his great love for us, sent His beautiful Son to rescue us and release us from the heavy load we have been carrying. Jesus never sinned; He was a sacrifice without blemish. He was sacrificed on the altar of a cross for all our Ugly. The Beautiful One became our ugly so we could become beautiful to God. If you are a Christian, when God looks at you, He sees Christ. You are hidden, but you are not hiding under a fig leaf. You are hidden in the righteousness of Christ. Christ is beautiful, and when God look at you, He sees beauty.
Get this…God did not choose us because we were beautiful; there was nothing noteworthy or admirable about us that would draw Him to us. Instead, Christ was drawn to us because of our UGLINESS!
Our sin drew Him to our rescue. It’s our ugly that attracted Him to us, because He gets the glory in our makeover!
Jesus did not save us because we were beautiful; He saved us to make us beautiful.
It is living out of this acceptance that changes your attitude about your body.
As a result, living out of God’s acceptance changes how we approach the bedroom. We do not come as insecure women but as confident women because we are well-loved by a GREAT God.
A woman who understands how much God loves her will be like a magnet pulling others towards her, including her husband. Living out of acceptance makes a truly beautiful woman.
Beauty in the marriage bed is found when we know we are already accepted. Therefore sex is no longer viewd as a way to earn our husbands favor, instead it becomes away to enjoy Gods beauty together. Living out of acceptance allows us to pursue our husbands because we have been wonderfully pursued.
Please hear me say that your identity is not in that you are a sex kitten, supermodel, great housewife, mom, or wife. Your identity is found in Christ. Stop looking at your imperfections and lift your eyes to a perfect savior!
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