A challenge that just might change how you feel this summer when you’re wearing a swimsuit…

by Barb Roose

A few weeks ago, I went shopping to replace my swim top. I have a great swim skirt, but I’ve had bad luck with swim tops.  I scoured the rack for possible hopefuls and with trotted off the dressing room where I spent the next 15 minutes bending and twisting my body in and out of those high-Lycra tops. Getting that material to stretch around my real-woman body is no joke! No doubt the woman in the adjacent room heard my fervent prayer. “God, PLEASE let me get this top off without passing out.”

I leaned, bounced and sweat so much in that dressing room that I counted it as a workout.

Even with everything that I know about how God sees me as His beautiful daughter, swimsuits tend to test me. After a winter of camoflauge clothing, swimsuits expose not just our skin, but how we feel about the skin that we’re in.
When it comes to swimsuits or any other shopping experience, we often engage in one or both of the following:

1. We COMPARE our bodies to other women’s bodies whether our friends, social media images or magazines.
2. 2. We CRITICIZE inner selves for failing to get our act together, whether we beat ourselves up for not eating healthier, not exercising or shame-related issues from our past.

In my Enough Already book, there is a controversial chapter called “The Vagina Dialogue.” I didn’t use any vulgar language or inappropriate content, but I dared to use a word that describes a body part that to the Almighty God created in each and every woman. Vagina. Some of you are quite uncomfortable right now…
Soon after Enough Already released, a Christian woman blasted me for using the word citing that proper Christian women shouldn’t use such language. I respectfully disagree. When we’re afraid to talk about our bodies in a God-honoring way – including the private parts, we’re likely to feel ashamed of our bodies. That shame is so easy to pass down to the daughters and granddaughters in our lives.

In the “Vagina Dialogue” chapter, I reflect on how one of the scripture authors – someone inspired to write by God – described the female body:

You are beautiful, my darling,
    beautiful beyond words.
Your eyes are like doves
    behind your veil.
Your hair falls in waves,
    like a flock of goats winding down the slopes of Gilead.
Your lips are like scarlet ribbon;
    your mouth is inviting.
Your cheeks are like rosy pomegranates
    behind your veil.
Your neck is as beautiful as the tower of David,
    jeweled with the shields of a thousand heroes.
 Your breasts are like two fawns,
    twin fawns of a gazelle grazing among the lilies.
Your thighs shelter a paradise of pomegranates
    with rare spices—
(Song of Solomon 4:1,3-5,13)

What you just read is actually in the Bible. Think about how that man complimented his love. He wasn’t just saying things to sweet-talk her into bed. Instead, the metaphors that he used to describe her feminine body were thoughtful descriptions of the most magnificent and treasured jewels, perfumes, and creatures on earth.

Why can’t we appreciate our bodies like that? How can we testify God’s goodness to others if we can’t proclaim God’s goodness in ourselves? Friends, women are using their bodies like weapons and whipping posts because they don’t know God’s beautiful truth. If we want to shine the light of Christ, we’ve got to make sure that light is seen in us, both inside and out!

Are you ready for a challenge?

Do you want to stop condemning your God-given body and start celebrating yourself, even in a swimsuit?

Today, I’m giving you the same challenge that I gave women in the book: Using the passage that we read as an example, create your own positive descriptive phrases to characterize the following parts of your body:
My lips are like_________________________________
My neck is ____________________________________
My breasts are like _____________________________
My thighs shelter _______________________________

At first, this exercise was really hard for me. I wasn’t used to using positive words to describe myself. Here’s what I finally came up with:

My lips are like fluffy soft pillows that beckon a dreamy night’s sleep.
My thighs are like the strong trees standing tall in my front yard.

While these descriptions might be a little silly, it’s a lot better than standing in front of the mirror crying or eating a quart of ice cream in shame. Instead of cursing our bodies, let’s celebrate them as God’s creation.

Will you please do this exercise? It’s okay if it takes a few days to complete but stick with it. Once you come up with positive descriptions for the body parts listed above, post the descriptions and read them each day for seven days. Instead of repeating the lies that our culture has told us about beauty, learn how to talk to yourself as God sees you! BONUS: Share one of your descriptions in the comments below and I’ll choose a winner on June 12 to win a copy of my Enough Already book.
My sweet friend, how you look in that swimsuit isn’t the issue. The problem is what your mind is saying to your heart about you.

You are God’s beautiful daughter, inside and out. Never tell yourself anything other than that!

P.S. On next week’s Better Together podcast, I’m interviewing my friend, Dr. Susan Pohlod about our female bodies. Sue is a long-time friend of mine and a passionate women’s health advocate. also provided the interview for “The Vagina Dialogue” chapter in my Enough Already book.

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