Wasting our lives and glorifying God

Wasting our lives and glorifying God
Notice God's unutterable waste of saints, according to the judgment of the world. God plants His saints in the most useless places. We say - God intends me to be here because I am so useful. Jesus never estimated His life along the line of the greatest use. God puts His saints where they will glorify Him, and we are no judges at all of where that is. ~Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest, August 10

Monday, February 21, 2011

I'm A Woman

So, I should be doing a thousand other things right now.  My to-do list is a mile long.  But, I read something earlier today on someone's blog (whom I don't really know, but they are connected by about three degrees of separation, so I won't link to it) that is just gnawing on me.  I need to write it out so I can clear space in my head for other things.  (Am I the only one who needs to do this?)

The blogger was writing about how much she loves to work-out and how it gives her energy and feels so great.  She started working out 2 weeks after her baby was born and had her exact (and she emphasized the exact part) pre-baby body shape back by the time her baby was 2 months old.  Her stomach looks even better than it did before she had her baby.  She didn't intend for this to sound like bragging, actually.  She was trying to make a point about making challenging choices to change one's life.  I can imagine my 21 year old self probably sounding smug like that on various points.  But, on this particular subject, I cringed.

My soul said, "Why?  But, why?" in that wistful, longing tone that my baby uses when she cannot understand why she can't nurse for the 20th time today.

I really want to know why do women do that.  What is the pull to get back to pre-baby body?  Why do we want to erase all physical evidence, save the baby, that we've actually been co-creating with the Creator and have brought life into the world?  What's there to be ashamed of?

Of course I don't have the same body I had before these six children.  But why would I want to?

My hips are wider; backside a little fatter.  I'm a little softer in places.  My breasts have grown.  And it's OK.  I no longer look like a girl.  I look like a woman. 

I like being a woman.  I like knowing that my body can conceive life, carry life, sustain life, and after birth--nurture life.  I love my curves, my jiggles, my softness.  I don't mind the stretch marks; I earned every one.  The fact that my body is capable of doing this miraculous, magical thing, should set me apart.  I'm not a utilitarian man.  Nor am I a novice girl.  I am a woman.  When God made me, He said, "Very good."

As I walked through art galleries in Europe this summer, one thing about Renaissance art that I fell in love with were the nudes, particularly the nude women.  Why?  No anorexic models or fitness gurus posed for these.  These are real women.  They are soft (even though sometimes carved from stone) and round.  They have shape and dimples.  They are images of timeless beauty, with one look you know that Woman is a life force and at the same time, a soft place to fall.

I think women can be too hard on themselves.  We can't be comfortable in our own skin, because all of the images that are exalted before our eyes are of women who bounced right back after pregnancy and look like they never even were 9 months pregnant and 60 pounds heavier.  The images our society praises are chiseled and buffed and tan and blasé.  Sexy is synonymous with skinny. 

But, that's not real life.  And real life is not only beautiful enough, it's more beautiful.

"Ordinary things are more valuable than extraordinary things;
nay, they are more extraordinary....
The sense of the miracle of humanity itself
should be always more vivid to us
than any marvels of power, intellect, art, or civilization." 
(GK Chesterton)


Jessica said...

I agree, and I really enjoyed the female art in Florence when we visited at Christmas...beautifully rounded hips and stomachs, shapely thighs, plump arms, and rosy cheeks. Real women! I also particularly liked the sculptures and paintings of women breastfeeding :) Just lovely!

Jessica said...

I agree, and I really enjoyed the female art in Florence when we visited at Christmas...beautifully rounded hips and stomachs, shapely thighs, plump arms, and rosy cheeks. Real women! I also particularly liked the sculptures and paintings of women breastfeeding :) Just lovely!

Joshswife said...

As long as I am at a healthy weights....I do not mind my body so much. It is VERY hard to get out of the world's view and see things through the eye's of a loving Father. I do agree, Daja!

Starr said...

Love this post and especially the thought of co-creating with the Creator. Beautiful.

Lady Dorothy said...

Not only do we want to erase all evidence of pregnancy, but we strive to erase all evidence of life itself. We want to erase all wrinkles, laugh lines, graying hair, any indication that we've actually been around here on the earth living life. But, then perhaps we haven't been? If we don't feel we've actually lived, maybe erasing that evidence will somehow give us some more time to perhaps find life's joy somewhere.

Sara said...

hey there daja. so i totally agree with you. i was even thinking something like this reading US Weekly the other day (my guilty pleasure) and the new celebrity mom was justifying how she hadnt started working out yet...she didnt mind the weight etc. HER BABY WAS 10 DAYS OLD! i mean. it makes me crazy. and this is what women see and think they need to emulate. my idea of a good workout is a long walk with the kids. (or getting their snowsuits on, HA) we are cocreaters with HIM, and what a privilege! i love this - "woman is is a life force and at the same time, a soft place to fall." beautiful. and true. kudos for saying it so well!

Andrea said...

Here I am... the ole "opposite lady" once again. I really ought to come up with a nickname for myself... something like "The Opposite Side of the Coin" or something like that. *heh*

Anyway, I'm one of those women who had to have my pre-pregnancy body back FAST after my babies were born. After my first live birth, I was back in the gym at 4 weeks post-partum (I had to lie to get in... I said I was 6 weeks pp). Even on that first day, when I was on the exercise bike next to a woman, she asked me if I was married. I told her yes. She then asked me if I had any children. I told her yes, a 4-week-old baby. Her mouth dropped open, she looked down at my flat stomach, & said "I would have never guessed that in a million years!". I thought "Good--that's exactly what I'm trying to achieve". The same after my 2nd baby. I gained the excess 50lbs. not because of any pregnancies. It was well after I was able to bear children that I gained. I think it was hormones or something. I hated how I looked but seemed powerless to control it. Only after menopause was over was I able to lose the weight & it went without actually trying. My excessive appetite simply disappeared... so that's why I think my overeating was hormone-fueled. I still would like to lose about 15lbs. but that's not a real issue for me.

I personally don't think there's anything wrong with a woman wanting to "get her figure back" after she has a baby. I don't think it's a bragging-thing or a smug-thing to voice the opinion this woman voiced. I would imagine some people would think that you, Daja, are kind of smug & bragging too... when you talk about eating all the food you eat & still you are so thin. There are many many woman who, if they ate what you ate everyday, would weigh 200 lbs... easy. But I myself don't think you're smug or bragging at all. <3 <3 <3 I think it's wonderful! :-) But if I went to Europe & ate half of what was in the pictures you posted, of what you ate, I'd come back with at least 20 extra lbs. on these ole hips of mine, I tell ya. *lol* It's simply genetics... the luck of the draw, I guess.

I've been told I don't look 54 years old. But I work at not looking 54 years old. I exercise, eat very little, and cream up my face to avoid wrinkles. I don't want to look 54 & I'm going to fight it every step of the way. Is that a bad thing? I don't think so but... others might... and it's ok that they do. I don't mind.

So, I guess what I'm trying to say is... I don't think women love their babies any less by wanting their bodies not to look like they were pregnant... and I don't think women are any less grateful that the Lord gave them 54 years of life on this earth simply because they don't want to look like they've been walking on the earth for 54 years. I feel that a woman who's happy with her body (regardless of what that definition of happiness might be) makes a better wife, mother, person... than a woman who is not happy with her body. A woman who is confident about herself... happy with herself... makes others happy around her.

You are obviously happy with your body too, honey. It shows in this blog entry. And that's a good GOOD thing. :-) If you weren't happy with your body, something tells me that you'd change it until you were.

Love~ Andrea (the black coin in the family *ha-ha-ha*)

Gombojav Tribe said...

Interesting points, Andrea! Just a heads up that I've been working on a post that addresses some of these things, it's just not finished yet so I haven't published it. When it does get published, I didn't want you to think I wrote it in response to you, as if I were arguing. :-)

btw, I could eat like an obssessed person in Europe because we WALKED everywhere! I'm sure I burned all those lovely creamy calories and more by walking up the steps to the bell-tower of Notre Dame, up the steps of the Eiffel Tower, up the steps of the Sacred Heart, up to the top of St. Peter's Dome, etc. Never walked so many steps in my life! :-)

And now that you mention it.....I miss French food. I think I need to get some pate or something to satisfy my first pregnancy craving! LOL

Andrea said...

I absolutely won't take your next blog post personally, Daja. And even if you did write it in response to me, that would be ok. I wouldn't mind. :-)

I was jogging 75 mins. on the treadmill per day and then I was full-out running, before my avulsion fracture in my foot put a screeching halt to such a heavy schedule... and still ate next to nothing... and lost maybe a couple lbs. but that's it. So I know I could walk up to the bell tower of Notre Dame TWICE in one day & still not burn off the calories of even one "creamy" lunch, let alone eating a breakfast & dinner on the same day. Food & my waistline just don't get along. And when my ripped jeans don't fit, I'm crabby... VERY crabby. When my jeans fit & I'm feeling a good weight, I'm happy. What's that motto: Food doesn't taste as good as thin feels? That's how I feel about it too.

(I'm FAR from thin... I'm just sayin')

Now did I get this from an ad? Or the American way of life? Or whatever? I don't honestly know. I don't look at ads... and I wouldn't care if the newest fad starting tomorrow was for women to weigh 300lbs. & that be considered gorgeous. I wouldn't start eating to gain that weight, in order to be "fashionable". I just wouldn't be happy. So I doubt if any of my feelings are influenced by fashion or magazines or models or whatever. That's just not me.

I believe we are "reading the same book", Daja, but are simply on a different page. I know you advocate dressing up & using makeup & doing your hair & all of that type of thing. Almost in a 1950s sort of way (my very favorite era, by the way *smile*). That, in a sense, is what makes you feel good about yourself... makes you feel feminine & pretty... attractive to your husband. Well, I'm not any different except in what both my husband and I consider feminine & pretty & attractive. That's the only difference between us... our perceptions & our husbands' perceptions as to what is attractive. So are our opinions really that much different? Personally I don't think so.

Again, I won't take anything personal that you write in your blog about this subject & I speak from my heart when I say that, even if you did reference something I said directly, it would not bother me. There is enough room for a universe of different opinions on subjects such as this. On the subject of Jesus being our Lord & Savior, there is no room for a difference of opinion at all... and we both are reading the exactly same "Book" on that one & are on the same page & even on the same sentence where the Kingship of Jesus is concerned. :-) That's all that matters. The other stuff is fun to exchange ideas about.

Love you!!!! :-)

Alexandra Strauss said...

Umm... I think I know what blog you read. And if not, I read one exactly like it... months ago. And ya know.. I have to say that I struggle with thoughts like that... so I'm really glad you cleared your head and posted this.

PS - After your post about lying-in.. I will NOT be trying to work out after 2 weeks.. no thank you!


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