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Ironman... and Jell-O Girl

The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.

– 1 Samuel 16:7

I got my most recent sunburn this weekend at the Boulder Half Ironman, watching my husband, Dan run, bike, and swim the 70.3 mile triathlon. It has always amazed me that he has the drive to push his body’s limits. The first time Dan finished a full 140.6 mile Ironman race, I sat in the bleachers in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho watching finishers from all over the world come in after over ten grueling hours of effort. As each finisher crossed the line, the race announcer’s deep voice called out their name followed by a booming “YOU are an IRONMAN!” Every time, the crowd goes nuts, spouses cry, kids cheer, and racers reach their arms up to the sky.

Yes, I’m married to an Ironman. I’m afraid, though, that he’s married to “Jell-O Girl.” As I looked at pictures taken this past weekend of the two of us at the finish line, all I could focus on were my extra layers around the middle. His stomach is flat, mine has rolls. I could hear my internal announcer calling out, “YOU, Laura are a Jell-O Woman!”

How often are we bombarded with the world’s messages telling us we’re not thin enough, fit enough, or strong enough? Is that why thousands of us strap on Fit Bits to keep track of our steps? Are we trying to prove that we’re not lazy, or that we have enough strength to fight the fat? Who are we trying to impress? Who are we trying to fool?

God’s word tells us the truth. Man looks at the outward appearance and gives people titles and awards based on their looks and accomplishments. But in 1 Samuel 16:7, we’re reminded that God looks inward, at our hearts. He’s more concerned about our character than our competitions. He’s more focused on our faith than our fitness.

How could we view those around us through God’s eyes? Could we see a person’s inner beauty: her compassion for struggling children, his inner strength to continue to love even after the enormous disappointments, her faithfulness to serve her spouse day after day, his kindness for the homeless? What if we looked for goodness, kindness, love, and compassion in others and appreciated those qualities as beautiful?

I am thanking God today for His amazing ability to see me as a strong woman of steadfast faith not as “Jell-O Girl.” Look inside your heart and see yourself as God sees you – beautiful, strong, and faithfully fit.

#insecurity #bodyimage #marriage #shame #hope #faith

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