This afternoon, the sky is cloudless blue, the breeze is warm, the vegetable garden is planted, and my shoes are off as I sit in my backyard listening to the hum of the bees busily taking advantage of our blossoming locust tree. This can only mean one thing: Summer. Picnic blankets on cool green grass, backyard barbecues, juicy watermelon slices, trendy sunglasses, no school, tall, ice-cold glasses of lemonade, and...bathing suit season. For many, the feeling of dread and angst of shedding the winter clothing is almost palpable.
Between what feels like an almost impossible task of finding a bathing suit that actually fits (and looks decent) and the overwhelming societal pressure to look like a model in a magazine with washboard abs, perfectly smooth legs, and a Coppertone tan, it is easy to begin to feel as if we don’t measure up. The weight of these expectations and pressures often take us down a path of body dissatisfaction, making it tempting to just give up and hide indoors all summer long.
If you ask a group of women if they had ever wanted to go swimming in the pool or at the beach but didn’t in order to avoid wearing a bathing suit, sadly, I bet the majority of hands would be raised. How often do we let what society dictates as beautiful control the decisions we make in our own lives? How often do we let our own insecurities about our bodies have the final say, preventing us from living the fullest life that God intends? Probably all too often.
While the Bible doesn’t specifically talk about bathing suits, it does say that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14). God means that all of you, all of me, is fearfully and wonderfully made.
Even the parts of us that have been given negative labels - the cellulite and stretch marks your bathing suit may expose, the curves of your hips, or the size of your body - all of it has been skillfully crafted by a loving Creator.
It is easy to agree with these words on paper, but much harder to live as if we believe them. And yet it is true. It is true that our bodies, all shades, shapes, and sizes, are beautiful in their own right. This is a truth we need to be reminded of again and again, especially during bathing suit season.
This bathing suit season, I challenge and encourage you to take a step toward living as someone who truly believes that she is fearfully and wonderfully made, even if it is just a tiny baby step. We are all in different places on our journey toward a healthy self-love and acceptance so this step will look different for all of us. Perhaps it’s finally taking the time to find a bathing suit you love and wearing it proudly, or perhaps it’s having the courage to wear a pair of shorts for the first time in a while, or maybe it’s simply writing “fearfully and wonderfully made” on a post-it note and sticking it on your bathroom mirror as a daily reminder of who you are.
Whatever this looks like for you, I pray that this summer will be a time of joy and freedom rather than a time of angst over clothing choices; a time of living the full life that God has always intended for you, released from the weight of society’s expectations. Splash in the waves, dig your toes in the sand, hug your precious loved ones, and let the body hate of summers past finally begin to dissipate.
You are a new person - fearfully and wonderfully made.
Body positive blogs are inspiring, but sometimes it might not be enough. We get that! You might want something more. An expert to walk along side you in your journey towards body respect and food peace. We've got you covered. Sign up for a free "pre-consultation" to see if working with one of our registered dietitians doing faith-based nutrition counseling is right for you.
Patericia is a lover of Jesus, wife, and mom to a busy toddler and newborn! She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who most recently worked part time doing outpatient nutrition counseling, but is currently in the process of transitioning to stay-at-home mom. Patricia is a lover of family, quiet early mornings, delicious meals shared around a table, coffee sipped slowly, sunshine, reading, and toddler snuggles.