Monday, September 24, 2012

See ya, Cellulite! and the Soli Deo Gloria Party

It's time to pull up your chair.  Do you know you have one here in this space we call Soli Deo Gloria?  You do.  It's reserved every week only for you.  This place would be different if you weren't here and we miss you when you are gone.  This is a place filled with women who seek to honor your words, you heart, your tears, and your laughter.  Scooch in close.  You won't want to miss a word.
To read more about the Soli Deo Gloria community, please click here.
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I'm wondering about you.  Truthfully, I've been wondering about you all week.  Would you accept the challenge? I thought.

 Do you remember the one I'm talking about?  Well, there were two actually, but I've really been thinking about the one that includes a party of three:

You.  God.  The mirror.

Did you look in the mirror before you put on your make-up, did your hair, even brushed your teeth and proclaim God's Word?  Did you tell yourself that you are:

fearfully and wonderfully made?
knit together by God in your mother's womb?
that the world looks at the outside but that
God looks at the heart?

Truthfully, I felt a little silly, but I cannot issue a challenge and then not do it.  Three days, I did this.  

Day one, I said these paraphrases as I looked in the mirror.  I shrugged my shoulders and said to myself, "Maybe you're not so bad."

Day two, I said these paraphrases as I looked in the mirror and realized that as I went about my day, a lot less junky judgmental thoughts crossed my mind.  And I wasn't even working at controlling them.

Day three, I said these paraphrases and then realized that all my workout capris were dirty, which meant that I had to wear shorts to my strength-training class.  

Shorts.  Shorts that reveal cellulite and pockets of fat I try to keep obscured from view.  I had to repeat my paraphrases but I put on the shorts and I went to class.  And an amazing thing happened to me...

As I dead-lifted a 30 pound sandbag over my head while doing squats, I saw beauty.

I saw how almost 7 years of running had shaped my legs.  I saw the magnificence of how God has woven my muscles together to make me strong and balanced and able.  I saw His craftsmanship inside of me.

The pockets of fat were still there, as was the cellulite.  It is not that I saw perfection of my body reflecting back at me, but I saw Him and the work He has done in me.

Perhaps this is what the exercise was about all along -- seeing His craftsmanship within us, seeing His delicate hand in us and on us and around us.

Perhaps it is about yet another perspective shift.

When I appreciate what I have, it changes my spirit.  I'm able to cease my relentless striving and I feel less guilty or less unworthy when I need help.  I am able to say after two rounds:

I cannot continue to dead-lift a 30 pound sandbag.  I need the 25.  And, I can say this even though the girl next to me is still totally rocking the 30.

I can appreciate my limits and marvel at someone else's abilities, not with envy or lust, but with excitement about how God crafted her.

This, my friends, is what breakthrough looks like.  This is just my breakthrough, though.  I am sure that many of use have parts of our bodies or personalities that ignite our insecurities to full flame.  Mine happens to be my legs and God knows this.  And so, He showed me His handiwork that was obscured before now.

I realize that my legs are just part of my outside and that cellulite is a vain thing about which to be concerned, but I think God took the time to show me a new perspective about myself in order to offer me freedom.  If I can see beauty in something that is not perfect in my own body, how much more will I be able to see that in other areas in my life?  It's a lesson taught in concrete terms that can be extrapolated into many different realms of life.

What about you?  I'd love to know if you did the challenge and how it has impacted your life.  Will you share with us?

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I am so happy to see your face here at Soli Deo Gloria.  Did you know we have small groups?  As SDG has grown, it started to lose a bit of the small community feel.  As such, we have groups that visit each other and leave comments for each other on SDG days so that you don't feel lost in this big blog world.  Would you like to be a part?  If so, please email me at jenfergie2000@me.com.  Also, if you are new here, please put "I am new" as your caption so that we might give you a proper welcome.

19 comments :

  1. oh, Jen, I'm so proud of you, for your breakthrough and for lifting 30 lbs...I did your mirror exercise, but I forgot to do it 3 days in a row, but it was a good conscious awakening to the critical thoughts floating through my head, and a conscious turning to God for the truth...Thanks :)

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  2. Appreciating your limits while marveling at another's abilities--this is grace.

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  3. I agree with Nancy. It is grace to be able to see what God sees when He looks at us and when He looks at others. Blessings! www.toshowthemjesus.com

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  4. Okay, so I did not do this challenge...BUT, I can relate in a way because a few days before having family professional photographs taken last week, I noticed the little bulge in my tummy (would it show?), I noticed the little grays peaking through my dark hair (would they show?), and I noticed every little fine line on my face and I just wanted to be 30 again for a day! But I had to say, this is me. Not perfect, but beautiful as part of God's perfect design.

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  5. Wow you are seeing with new eyes!

    Praying for you this coming weekend and can't wait to meet you in person in October! Getting excited

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  6. Jen...great exercise...oh that cellulite...I am wondering why it looks so cute on my grandlove’s legs...but not so cute on mine:) Growing in grace is a wonderful way to age...blessings as we allow God to make us more gracious women.~

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  7. Thanks for this beautiful challenge, Jen.

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  8. For many years, GOD has been bringing me round and round to accept whatever He allows in my body. As I experience it cripple and re-shape (a much better word than deform :)Watching all my years of exercise and strength training be for naught...

    I'm slowly learning that I'm not put on this earth to focus on my body, but to love Him and love others. Like the caterpillars (who I never see staring at themselves in the puddles),eventually I'll just cocoon up and when I awaken, all will be so very different.

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  9. Oh, I LOVE how God brings us to accept this tent of flesh we're stuck in for now. Just last week I was speaking to a large group of women about my own process of just accepting the body I'd been given- the stick straight no curves frame I've got --- and I said, "I've learned the great part of this unusual body type is that I NEVER have to wear a bra!" Then I looked up and saw the video camera and remembered that I was being taped so my talk could be posted online at our church's website. OOPS. I'm still laughing at the the thought of that and smiling at the way God has grown me from hating my body to just celebrating the positives :) Thanks for the great post - and by the way, I can only pump 15 pounds, so you've got me beat muscle woman :)

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  10. Jen -- so beautiful. You speak for so many of us who struggle to see the grand plan in the way we were pieced together. love and gratitude. Joy

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  11. that psalm frames my testimony....

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  12. This is a great challenge. My biggest struggle physically is the acne still on my face at age 27. Drives me bananas.

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  13. I didn't do this, but I'm challenged after reading your words here. So here goes . . .

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  14. What a beautiful devotion. Thanks for the linkup.

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  15. Good for you with the lifting you do!

    That is an interesting challenge indeed, and one I will take. I have had a love/not like much relationship with my body since I was 16. Get heavy, lose some weight, heavy again, diet again. What an energy sucking yo-yo it was. I am pretty much off that train now, although I must admit to liking my looks issues, especially when I am attending any kind of event with other well put together, well dressed women.

    Thanks for the nudge!

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  16. As dancers, every morning before practice my husband and I pray that He will mold our bodies into the instruments He would have them be to express what He would have us express. Thanks for the great post & for hosting the linkup, & God bless!

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  17. The thing is that we are the ones who expect perfection. Nobody else around you does. There is probably no other woman in that class thinking about your cellulite. Why do we expect to be perfect when nobody is? So I say "yeay you!" for being able to see the beauty God sees in you, the strength of your body, the determination to keep it healthy.

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  18. Don't need to do this challenge, Jen! My sisters and my mom tease me because they know I am quite confident with how I look! So confident that when I go on TV to do some craft demo or something, my sister complains that i don't even fix my hair! I look in the mirror and honestly think I am beautiful, with all the cellulite, sags, white hair, etc, I AM BEAUTIFUL! This is how God made me, and as I grow older, it's only God's way of saying, "You don't belong here, you belong in heaven, and you're coming home soon!" Patsy from
    HeARTworks and
    papemelroti

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  19. Jen, I love your thoughts, especially "Perhaps this is what the exercise was about all along -- seeing His craftsmanship within us, seeing His delicate hand in us and on us and around us." I too see a connection between working out and my relationship with God, and last week I wrote about what working out has to do with being holy: http://beembraced.blogspot.com/2012/09/what-working-out-has-to-do-with-being.html

    Thank you for your encouragement and for this community that you have created.

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