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Beautiful by Design

Why we're lovely at any size

When it comes to body type, women aren't simply apples or pears; we're a whole fruit basket of sizes and shapes. Personally, I've always wanted to be a banana—tall, blonde, slender, and firm—but I'm more like an overripe peach.

Every fruit has its own color, shape, and flavor. In the same way, when God created us in his image (Genesis 1:27) and for his pleasure (Revelation 4:11), he had a particular plan in mind for our one-of-a-kind figures. Instead of "one size fits all," his plan was "one size fits you."

Unfortunately, we live in a "one size fits most" culture. The pressure to conform, to be the "right" size—for many of us, a smaller size—is intense. What's a bigger girl to do? Make intelligent food choices (hand over the plain yogurt, honey) and add more movement (treadmill, here I come).

But what if the extra weight doesn't disappear? Or comes off in the "wrong" places? Or leaves us smaller, but still pear-shaped? Or sneaks back on, despite our best efforts?

I've so been there, on all counts. If Weight Watchers gave a prize for the most tries, I'd definitely be in the running. For years, not only did my closet have different outfits for different seasons, it had different sizes for different seasons.

Each time I went through that yo-yo cycle, I berated myself unmercifully. I saw myself as ugly and treated myself as worthless. I ate whatever was handy, and no longer cared about nutrition. I stopped applying makeup and started wearing frumpy clothes. I was so convinced I was unattractive that I became unattractive. Talk about a downward spiral!

Embraceable You

If you're there, dear sister, try my solution: Feed your heart with the truth that you're "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14). And exercise God's gift of grace and acceptance by not judging yourself (Luke 6:37).

So wrap your big, beautiful body in clothes that make you feel and look your best right now—not "when." Style your hair, wear cosmetics if you like, and just get out there. People will take their cue from you; if you're comfortable with who you are, they will be, too.

I once asked my readers, "What words come to mind when you think of your body?" Some responses were predictably negative: "the blob," "the lump," "wide load." But the positive answers were thrilling. "Plush, functional, bountiful, dynamic," wrote one woman. "A wonderful piece of machinery," offered another. My favorite body image? "It washes up nicely and never shrinks!"

The best word to describe your body, however, is beautiful. God's Word assures you, "God has made everything beautiful for its own time" (Ecclesiastes 3:11). "Everything" would include you. Top to toe and hip to hip.

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August 19, 2015
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