The Reality of Swimsuit Shopping

I recently had to go swimsuit shopping… yeah. It was (as per usual) a dreaded experience. The first day I went, I went to three different stores and probably tried on close to thirty swimsuits. I ended up with four that I thought looked decent enough to consider buying. The second day that I went, I walked into the store with a mentality to choose one or two to buy. I walked out with three, which was honestly a surprise. In the last year or so, I’ve gained some weight, and honestly when I’ve been looking in the mirror I haven’t liked what I see. But I’m making a conscious effort to change my view on appearance.

It’s safe to say that we try not to take things at face value. “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is a perfect example of the tried and true sayings we try to beat into our brains. But if that’s the case, then why are we so hung up on how we look? You don’t change lives just by walking into a room and showing people how you look.

That being said, I’ve been showing myself more grace. I’ve thought about some of the things that my body has done, and I’m honoring it for its strength and perseverance. Here are just a few…

  • This body withheld the demands of the sport of gymnastics for thirteen years, and for six sustained the consistent pounding of team training. This body came back from several injuries, built up an insane amount of endurance, and maintained full days of school paired with full evenings of gym.
  • This body recovered from two concussions, and pulled me out of bed when my mind couldn’t bring me to. This body was the only thing hanging on for so long when depression ruled my days. This body kept waking up healthy every day to prove to me that I’m here for a reason.
  • This body has withstood the emotional trauma of the last year even when I wasn’t sure it would ever end. When I wasn’t given any closure and with a void feeling physically empty, this body kept walking and moving forward.

    img_4711
    Summer? Swimming? No problem.

This body isn’t the kind you would find on most movie sets or a Victoria’s Secret runway. It isn’t what society says is beautiful, and it isn’t an appearance that makes guys ask for my number after taking one look at me. But my body is so much more than something to be lusted after. I am so much more than that, and I don’t need half naked Instagram pictures to prove my worth. This body is a piece of me, but it isn’t all of me.

This body holds a spirit that is treasured by God. This body is a temple. I was made this way for a reason, and no one can tell me that my body is anything less than beautiful.  This body may have gained some weight, but it is loved far too much by God and it has conquered far too much to be put down by what I see in a mirror. No one image can define everything that this body, or any body, is. Not even close.

img_4713
Life is about continuing to grow. In body, in mind, and in the Holy Spirit.

So, bathing suit shopping may never be my favorite task, but I can still appreciate my body this summer. It’s completely possible to strive to live healthier habits and feel better while still loving myself in the now. Yes, I want to continue to workout and make my body stronger, but I’m not doing it for the image. I’m doing it to feel better. If people don’t like what they see right now, then maybe they need to relearn, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” I promise you there is so, so much more to me than the outside.

And there is so much more to you than the outside, as well. Honor your body for its continued strength and persistence; you are fashioned by God in just the right way. What has your body overcome? I guarantee you it’s much more than you can see in the mirror, whether you’re at home or trying on swimsuits at the store.

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