Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Contentment: Post-Partum and Beyond
I am not sure that I still fall into the "post-partum" category, after all Hudson will be 3 months old on Sunday--eek! I can't believe how quickly the past three months have gone by, and yet I have heeded the advice to soak up every minute of it. As the little one snoozes away in the Bjorn (that's French for "baby carrier"..haha not really), his loud breathing as music to my ears, I am taking a moment to write about an oft-discussed topic: the post-partum body and contentment.
For those of you who know me, you are well aware that one of my main hobbies is "healthy living". I love all things exercise, running, health food stores, and nutrition. It has become not just a hobby in fact, but a way of life for me and my family. During pregnancy, I continued to run, exercise, and eat healthy foods. And now that I am post-pregnancy, I have become all the more cognizant of what I consume and how much energy I am exerting on a daily basis. My diet pretty much consists of a LOT of vegetables, fruits, gluten-free whole grains, nuts (and nut butters), proteins such as chicken and turkey, and of course tortilla chips and hummus at every lunch time. My exercise regimen has been pretty consistent, as I trying to run up to 5 times a week, and go for walks with Hudson almost daily. But that is just me. I am not every woman, nor am I the standard by which every woman, pre-pregnancy or post-partum, should live by. These are my convictions, and the life circumstances I am in simply allow for me to live this way, as I desire to do so.
I explain all of that to say that there is a major problem in the way that we as women view ourselves--both physically and spiritually. Since college, I have seen the sin of comparison rear its ugly head, as young women look down on themselves because they are not like so-and-so. I have fallen prey to this type of distorted thinking. At the root of comparison is the sin of discontentment. When we think less of ourselves in comparison to others we are exhibiting our sinful nature's lust for that which we do not have, i.e. discontentment. Over the past few months, I have heard encouraging comments about the way that I look, especially after having a baby. But in light of these comments, I have been saddened by a few of them. These comments are greatly welcomed and I am appreciative, but at the same time I hear behind those same words the desire of those who have spoken these words, to be something that they are not currently. My heart hurts for women who view themselves through the eyes of the world's unattainable standards. My exhortation to all women, whether you are recovering from giving birth or not, is that we need to renew our minds in biblical truths even about the way that we look. After reading Hebrews 13:5, "Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you", I am convinced that the same principle of contentment applies to all circumstances. Remember what the apostle Paul said, "Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need." (Philippians 4:11-12) The Scripture is clear that women are to be modest, clothed with the inner beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, and while bodily training is of some value godliness is of value in every way.
As a reminder to myself and to all, contentment even with the way that one looks, begins in the mind. We must remain steadfast by choosing to believe truth rather than lies. As I strive to continue in healthy living, my goal should always be to honor God with my body, and not the achievement of some arbitrary physical standard. God has created each woman to possess unique characteristics, both physical and spiritual, that be thankful for and delight in. "For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving" (1 Timothy 4:4).