Don't Wait

I'm learning to practice gratitude for a healthy body, even if it's rounder than I'd like it to be. I’m learning to take up all the space I need, literally and figuratively, even though we live in a world that wants women to be tiny and quiet. To feed one’s body, to admit one’s hunger, to look one's appetite straight in the eye without fear or shame—this is controversial work in our culture. Part of being a Christian means practicing grace in all sorts of big and small and daily ways, and my body gives me the opportunity to demonstrate grace, to make peace with imperfection every time I see myself in the mirror. On my best days, I practice grace and patience with myself, knowing that I can't extend grace and patience if I haven't tasted it. ***

There were magical moments when I was little - moments that left me feeling effortlessly beautiful and wildly brave. The musicals we performed in my parent's living room with our elaborate costumes were exhilarating, and we never shied away from being silly or loud. When we looked in the mirror we were in awe of what we saw - proud of the little humans with so much creativity, wonder, and belief standing in front of us. 

Do you know what happens when we grow out of our silliness, wild bravery, outspokenness, and desire for moments that exhilarate us? Our fatigue, insecurities, and preoccupation with the comfort of others leave our bright, exquisite lights a little dimmer. 


What I want you to hear is that without the glue, tape, fabric, and sequins, I still felt lovely. I carried my imagination beyond the elaborate costumes and it was celebrated by adults in my life. Too often, little girls learn to minimize themselves for the sake of not appearing too dramatic, too loud, too much. Responsibility and serving others are incredibly important values, but not when they turn into performance based worth or self abandonment. Learning how to extend grace to others involves learning how to first extend it to ourselves. We must teach our little ones that imperfections are okay, and sometimes that involves learning it ourselves first. 

I wonder what would happen if we encouraged boldness, imagination, and confidence in our children, especially our girls. 


It's possible for false beliefs and harmful mindsets to make their way into our homes. If we lean into diet cultures that suggest our bodies need to look a certain way to be beautiful, we risk teaching that to our children. If we talk about our bodies in negative ways, our children will think it's okay to talk about their bodies in negative ways. 

Our homes are meant to be safe, nurturing, and supportive - for us and our family. 


Do we pull away from opportunities to swim, dance, jump, run, or wear something beautiful because we think our body isn't what it should be? 

I'm thinking my resolution this year should just be to live more freely. 
And to make sure I model grace by eagerly extending it to myself. 

Let's not wait until we are a certain shape or size to really live. 

*** Shauna Niequist 

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