I thought I knew how to love my body. I learned to embrace curves and appreciate thighs. I tried to treat my body well: eat healthy and exercise. I loved what my body could do: running, hiking, swimming, and dancing. But after I had a baby, I realized how limited that love was.
As I looked at my saggy tummy and the the stretch marks that laced my abdomen and thighs, I had a hard time finding something to love. It didn’t feel like my body anymore. I loved my pre-baby body. I’d tried so hard to see what could be imperfections as beauty, strength, and individuality, but the way that I’d labeled myself didn’t fit the body that I suddenly saw myself in.
I had to learn a different kind of love. I’m still learning to love a body that is constantly changing–to love a tummy that is sometimes flat, sometimes flabby, and sometimes bulging with new life. In this love, beauty has to be ephemeral. It can’t be tied down to characteristics–even characteristics that are not mainstream.
I think this is the same love that God has for us. It’s a love that doesn’t rely on conditions. It doesn’t rely on our righteousness or obedience or talents. It’s a strong kind of love, an unbreakable kind.
Loving our bodies the way that God loves us is a big task, a seemingly impossible one. But we have to try. We have to attempt an unchangeable love for a chameleon body. Because you and me, we are worth it.