Valuable Dents

I was looking in the mirror the other morning at my body. I have been working hard to eat right and exercise in order to lose the weight I gained while pregnant.

My goal weight is now within my grasp. Success brought a smile of satisfaction to my face that morning and a prayer of thanksgiving to God for bringing me so far. In the midst of this joy, my gaze was suddenly drawn to the baby belly that I now sport just below my naval. I remember a temptation to be disappointed at this one part of my body.

I accept the reality that I may never have perfect lower abs now that I have had a baby, but the sting of that fact hit me that morning as I stared in the mirror. I was suddenly reminded of a line from a popular children’s movie. The main character is a lovable tow truck covered in rust and dents. A companion attempts to fix one of his dents under the assumption he would have no objection to fewer dents. The tow truck immediately protests when he realizes her goal and explains that his dents are far too valuable.

“I want to be a good steward of my health, but perfection in my body is not my goal.”

Each dent reminds him of someone precious to him, and he would not trade any one of them for anything. That scene flashed through my mind as I stared down at my “dent” below my belly button. Tears filled my eyes as I echoed the tow truck. This dent is far too valuable to me to bring me shame because it reminds me of the precious life God has allowed me to carry and bring to full term. I would never trade the little baby belly for the opportunity that I have had to nurture new life within my body.

We live in a culture that values body perfection. I want to be a good steward of my health, but perfection in my body is not my goal. As Christians we are called to give our bodies to God as a “living and holy sacrifice – the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him” (Romans 12:1). Jesus laid down His life and calls us to do the same. He bears the marks of sacrifice in His body without shame. We can learn from Jesus’s example and enjoy the freedom that comes from that realization.

Let us be brave enough to be countercultural when it comes to body image. Let us close our ears to what the world is loudly proclaiming about our bodies and listen for the quiet whispers of our loving Father. And then let us turn around and teach younger women to do the same. Some of our “dents” are just too valuable!

So how about you? In what ways do you sense God calling you to be a better steward of your health? Who around you can benefit from your example of embracing God’s view of your body as opposed to that of the world?

-Michelle Maenche