Coming home from the World Race a little over a year ago was weird. In so many ways.
As I’ve mentioned before, I arrived home loving myself and my body for the first time in years, and it felt great. And because I felt so great, I was heartbroken to watch the women around me struggle with self-hatred.
I had been in a sort of isolation for those eleven months I was away. Without access to television commercials, magazines, billboards, or a full length mirror, I had nobody but God and an incredible group of loving friends to help shape my identity.
And then, I came back to America. And one of the hardest things for me to do was watch television commercials, because I couldn’t stand to listen to all of the lies that the actors and spokespeople were slinging around as if they were truth. They were using words like “unsightly” and “embarrassing” and “problem area” to describe human bodies that were crafted by an incredible Creator.
One day, I was in the grocery store and I noticed a magazine in the checkout line. There was a woman standing with her backside in view, and the caption said, “Get Your Best Butt Ever!”
I had just moved into my new apartment with no full length mirror, and I thought, “Goodness, I don’t even know what my butt looks like. I don’t know if I currently have my second best butt ever, or my third from worst butt ever, or maybe tied for fifth place in the ranking of all of my rear ends that I’ve had over the years.”
And then I realized. Nobody cares. Literally nobody cares what my butt looks like. Especially not here, in the grocery store, where everyone is too concerned about comparing the prices of cereal, or trying to figure out what to make for dinner, or just finished with work and wanting to go home.
In fact, I realized I couldn’t recall what I single one of my friends’ butts looked like. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed. And not a single friend has ever told me, “wow Jenifer, looks like you’re getting close to having your best butt ever!” Because they simply don’t care about that sort of thing.
So, why oh why would I need to read a magazine article about having my best rear ever?
I was reminded of this story today, because after being back in the US for a year, I feel sometimes like I’ve got this grey film on me. Like my shine is dimming a bit. Like the things the Lord had helped me cast off have slowly gotten attached to me again.
While I was sitting at my computer, my eyes glanced up at a picture hanging on my bulletin board of my female teammates and I in Vietnam. The first thing I noticed was my tummy, and I sighed, annoyed with how I look in the photo.
Fortunately, in that very moment, God reminded me of a fantastic truth.
Nobody cares what my tummy looks like. It literally does not matter even a little bit.
And so instead of analyzing my picture further, I had to stop and praise God. Praise Him for all the places He’s allowed my body to visit and all of the things He’s allowed it to do! This body has traveled the world, and swam in oceans, and laid out under the African sky watching shooting stars. This body has gone to hospitals to pray for the sick, and into villages to share the Gospel, in some cases with people who had never heard it before.
And, dear readers,
some of your tummies have borne children,
and some of your legs have run races, for amazing causes
and some of your arms have reached out and shown love to generations of people who so desperately needed it, even if you didn’t even know it at the time.
And some of your hands have fed the hungry.
And built houses.
And slung sandbags.
And saved lives.
Some of your knees have turned black and blue from bedside prayers.
Some of you have feet that have allowed you stand in front of classrooms, inspiring and loving children. Or walk. Prayer walks. Or walks in the sand. Or in the mud (such a nice feeling).
Your eyes have seen stars and sunrises and…
Well, let’s just face it, your body is incredible, and the Lord has used it for amazing purposes.
Your butts too! Your butts have sat on metal folding chairs teaching Sunday school. They’ve sat in cars for long road trips as you drove to help a friend in need. They’ve allowed you sit and spend time with friends, in the good times and bad. Some of you have nearly frozen them off in a South Dakota winter or two, but thankfully your butts are also pretty tough.
Yep, your body is pretty amazing.
So, and I need to be reminded of this sometimes too, don’t worry, you’ve already got your best butt ever. It’s the one God gave you. 🙂