Chicken Legs, Zebras, and Body Image

It started with me trying to remind our children about a concept of kindness. They weren’t doing anything wrong, however, the opportunity presented itself to bring it up.

“We never make fun, laugh at, or tease someone about how much they weigh,” I said. Those words made their way to the back seat of the car as our boys nodded and both replied, “We know.”

I then proceeded to tell them about how skinny I was as a child and teen, and how other kids often make fun of me about it.

One child then piped up from the back seat. He was clearly sad anyone was mean to his mom. “Well, you aren’t skinny anymore, Mommy.” Then, his brother chimed in, “Yeah, you definitely aren’t skinny now!” More comments followed about how far I am from skinny.

“Gee. Thanks, guys.” [insert sarcastic tone and smirk]

 

Sweet, sweet boys.

 
Body image is a funky little thing. It can be empowering or debilitating. There was once a two year period during my teenage years where I refused to wear shorts. I had been told enough times that I had chicken legs, and I had resolved to hide them. A lie was fed to me, and I took the bait.

I’ve come a long way from those days of hiding behind long pants. On any given summer day now, you’ll see me sporting a tank top and shorts in the Texas summer sun and not giving a second thought as to what others think about it. I gained 55 pounds when pregnant with my first son. I learned to like my body from the size XS to past the XL maternity mark. With a little bit of maturity and a whole lot of Jesus, I learned to look to Him for my worth instead of in the opinions of other broken people.

Can I be totally honest? Every Spring, when the weather warms up enough to pull out the shorts, I hesitate, for just a second. Old habits die hard. The bait gets dangled in front of me, and I’ll consider it, but quickly remind myself of truth.

I still have chicken legs. But it’s okay. I happen to like chicken. There is a mountain of unique things about me that are different from most. Just as the zebras who look alike, but no two have the same pattern, we are all made different too. It’s pretty cool because the world would be boring otherwise.

Do you need a few steps to help you turn from body image lies and bait today?
1. Stop comparing yourself to others.
2. Stop allowing other broken people to define your worth.
3. Remind yourself of truth.

 
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. -Psalm 139:14

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