Do you remember the story of the dalmation-labrador, Day #19?

“Years ago, I arrived home from work and was startled to see white paint splattered everywhere. A trail of paint led toward the backyard, and so I followed it. There, I found my five-year-old son with a paintbrush, chasing our dog. Our beautiful black Labrador was splattered almost half white!

‘What are you doing?’

My son stopped, looked at me, looked at the dog, looked at the paintbrush dripping with paint, and said, ‘I just want him to look like the black-spotted dogs in the movie—you know, the one with 101 Dalmatians.’”

How many times have we seen a movie, and decided that what the movie character had, was what we wanted? The princess who had the prince in shining armor. The mother who’s son was a football star. The family with a white farmhouse in Connecticut and a beautiful townhome in Washington DC. The mother of three who’s been able to maintain a thin willowy body.

Are we painting our beautiful beautiful black Labrador white, in hopes of turning it into what it is not?

“When you don’t want what you have, you are always going to be left feeling disappointed.”

So how does that fit into self-improvement? How can I be content with what I have – my body, my family relationships, my testimony of a loving God, whatever it might be – how can I be content with what I have and still improve these areas of my life?

I think Brenda is proposing today that we CAN improve ourselves, coming from a place of love and contentment. What does that look like, compared to seeking improvement from a place of dissatisfaction and anxiety and shame?

We can want the body we have and still improve on that same body. We can want the family that we have and still improve on our thoughts about our family relationships – we can improve those relationships without wanting to change the person or even the situation, but coming from a place of love. We can strengthen our testimony, and are in fact more likely to strengthen that testimony, if we are coming from a place of acceptance for ourselves – for where we are right now, for the path we have taken to get there. I think this happens when we decide to accept God’s love for us, whether we are strong or weak, faithful or faithless, etc – His love is constant. The more we accept that pure Godly love, and accept ourselves as beloved by God, the more we can improve, line upon line, coming from a place of love and acceptance for ourselves.

Let’s talk about our bodies. Brenda was referring to improving our bodies in suggesting to us a better way – wanting what we have.

“No matter how much you don’t want the body that you have, you are not going to be able to get another one…

When it comes to our bodies, as women, it will be so useful to think about variety. There are so many different forms and ways and shapes that a female body can look.”

When I think about improving my body, I should be thinking about MY body, not the willowy body of the mother of three in that movie, not the body of the women on the front of the magazines in the grocery store aisle, not the body of my neighbor – MY body. What can MY body do?

Feeling confident and good and comfortable and attractive and beautiful and all of those things – all those things are not created by the number on the scale. They are created by the way you think of yourself.

This is my body, and I want my body.

I went out to lunch with a group of women maybe two years ago. Eating our salads and discussing motherhood, one woman started talking about her struggle to lose weight. She was discouraged. And she talked for some time about her discouraging journey. After this woman had said her bit, my other friend, sitting next to me at that table, who was the largest of the women at the table, had something to say:

“I know that I’m overweight. I know that. But my body can do so many things for me! It does so much for me! I think it does more for me than other, thinner bodies! My body can have babies. My body can lift boxes when helping a neighbor move. My body is strong.”

She didn’t have anything else to say. We were quiet. I had never heard this friend talk about weight or about her heavy body before. Probably because she doesn’t see it as a problem – her body has only ever been a blessing to her!

And improvement? This same friend, some time after this conversation, noticed that she wasn’t able to keep up with her young children the way she used to. She couldn’t ski with her older children anymore. She was overweight.

But, coming from that same place of love and acceptance for the gift of her body, she set some reasonable goals, and in the past 12 months, this dear friend has lost over 100 pounds. It wasn’t a desperate attempt. It was well thought out, and coming, again, from a place of love and appreciation for her body.

Brenda says:

“I can want to lose weight but still want (and love) the body that I have…

I think it creates a huge problem for us as women when we think the female figure has only one way of being, one way of looking.

What if we really were open to a lot more variety when it comes to the female body?”

I want to stop fighting what is – my body, of course, but other areas of my life as well. Bry and I are reading the book Loving What Is, by Byron Katie. Yes. Yes. Yes. Can I stop resisting what is, love what is.

“My body and I have a great relationship now, we have an amazing relationship! I love my body. But I don’t love it because it weighs a certain amount. I love it because I decided to love it. And when I decided to love it, then I wanted to take care of it.”

Make a decision today: Do I choose to want what I have? Will I take care of what I have?

Next DAY #80 SO WHAT

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