Saturday I had the privilege of hosting a bridal shower for my namesake niece. She’s absolutely precious and beautiful inside and out. I had a great time and it appeared that she did as well!

That afternoon, I was looking through the pictures and was taken aback in dismay. The reason being, the way I looked in them! (Quite selfish and narcissistic I know, but I’m being honest.) My thought process was something like this . . . ‘Ohmygosh, I look awful! You mean to tell me that I’ve been working out for 16 months and I still look this big?!’ Then, ‘I definitely shouldn’t have worn that sweater…makes my arms look like a sumo wrestler! Wear dark colors, Kris, dark colors!’

I have to say that I hit the wall of discouragement. I’ve been ‘bustin it’ and really trying hard and I still look like I need to go hire a personal trainer! Oh, wait, I already did, 16 months ago!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Then my thoughts went this direction . . . ‘So if I look like this now, after all this work, how awful must have I looked all those years prior? Les, you let me out of the house looking like a train wreck?!

Then I remembered (because my kind, loving, wise husband has reminded me of this hundreds of times) that I’ve been through several years of hell-on-earth and I reminded myself that I barely survived and whatdidIexpectanyway?! I’m alive. I’m happily married, to my very best friend. I’ve got two amazing-fantastic-incredible kids! What does it matter anyway that I don’t have a Barbie-doll body? And who set that up as the [insert expletive here] standard in the first place?! And why do I feel like I have to continue to explain to my imaginary audience (all skinny women of course) why I don’t measure up?!

You see, if you’re anything like me, you’re busy living life, going and doing and loving, and don’t really take the time to worry about such ‘petty matters.’ Then you get in a room full of women and the temptation to play the comparison game presses in. Well, I chose not to even think about any of that, after all, I’ve been working out and am feeling better than ever!

But, there were three women there, in particular, who looked like a million bucks. (They also had bodies, like Barbie, that I’ve been longing to look like and working at becoming on and off for basically my entire life.) I noticed them. Who wouldn’t have? They were not only lovely to behold, they were loads of fun to be around! They enjoyed a friendship with one another that was special to observe and fun to be included in for the moments we were together.

Then I got home and looked at the pics. Down, down, down my spirits went. After all, it is women like these I have striven all my life to look like. And now, it’s a proven fact (the pictures show it) that I am not that, and most likely shall never be. And should this desire to be like Barbie continue to be a lifelong goal of mine? I’m not thinking so. It is not a worthwhile or noble goal (for me) to spend the amount of time and energy it would take to get to that place. Not that I should give up working out, but working out to look like a certain body type that isn’t mine, therefore it isn’t even realistic for me. Unless I worked out hours a day, daily for years to get down to almost zero body fat, I’d still need surgery on my rounder parts! I don’t think it could ever be a practical reality. And then there’s the problem, how would I maintain that?  Is it worth giving up much of the living of life in order to look a certain way? (I don’t even see myself most of the time, it’s for others that I’m trying to look that way, if I’m really being honest. Although I do have this imaginary idea of how glorious it must be to pull up a pair of jeans and not have them tight at the hips and bagged out at the waist. Ahhhhhhhh, it must feel fabulous!)

So, as I furiously picked up around the house (my therapy for dealing with difficult emotions) I worked out my solution. I went downstairs and sat near my husband and verbalized it as such:

“I’m not going to deny myself for the rest of my life to be something I can never be.”

He repeated it back to me with an addendum: “I’m not going to deny myself for the rest of my life to be something I can never be (…nor was I ever meant to be.) Hmmmm. He’s right. [insert another expletive!]

Now, I don’t want any of you to think that my trainers have failed me. I could never have gotten where I am without them. Nor am I giving up and throwing in the towel. Although, if you’d have watched me eat these last few days, you might have thought so! I’ve been eating cookies and Easter candy and chicken pot pie and all sorts of things in quantities that don’t match my fitness plan! It’s not very wise therapy, but it is yummy! But now that I’ve comforted my hurting emotions in an unhealthy way, it’s time to get back on the wagon and pump some iron and burn those calories! It’s time to get back to work, not to continue to chase after an illusive pipe dream, but to maintain my health and facilitate the accomplishment of my goals. What are they, anyway?

I need to take a good look at my reasons for working out and trying to lose weight as well as the motives behind them.

1. I want to look good for my husband. He loves the way I look. He’s not pressuring me to be Barbie.

2. I want to be strong and healthy. I’m there and am growing in strength week by week!

3. I want to be around to enjoy my grandkids someday, to be able to play with them, not just look at them.

4. I want to look like Barbie so that I can feel good about myself, look fabulous in my clothes and be happier! (ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ [alarm sound] Warning! Warning! That is a motive I need to ditch! It isn’t even true!)

I’m in this marathon (darn it, it is a marathon, not a sprint) to attain good health and to become my very best (not someone else’s) for my family and for myself. I need to train myself to enjoy the body God gave me, not to strive for achieving (or coveting) the one He’s given my neighbor.

(These are my personal and intimate thoughts from my own bumpy, rambling process. Please don’t feel badly for me or have the impression that I’m needing you to write and tell me how fabulous you think I look. You may be tempted to judge me or condemn me for my lack of spiritual maturity, and that’s ok. I’m just sharing with you, vulnerably, the inside workings of my mind and heart as they relate to the never-ending struggle with/fight against comparison, body-image, cultural values and longing.)

It would be so much simpler and far more enjoyable if I would just revel in who God made me to be. As I think about it, this is so like the issue in the Garden of Eden. I want that instead of what God said I could have. I don’t want to act that way! I want to choose contentment as I strive for good stewardship of my one and only body.

God, here I go again, comparing, longing for something that I don’t have and totally getting myself off track. Thank you for keeping me alive through a horrendous double-wide ride through cancer-hell. Thank you for keeping my marriage and family strong through trying times. Thank you for health and friends and strength to enjoy each day you’ve given me. Please help my blog-reader friends to learn and grow in this area as well, to delight in your creativity as you’ve made us all, differently, in Your image. Amen.


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26 Responses to “Bridal-shower-Barbie-doll”

  1. Emily Says:

    I was blown away by this message today! I am constanly feeling I am never good enough in any ones eyes! And I always pray to God to help me see I am Beautiful! I just thought that I would tell you that when I am feeling this, I listen to the song: More Beautiful you by Johnny Diaz! 🙂 it is perfect. THank you so much for this message 🙂

  2. Nicolette Says:

    I am reflecting on what you wrote in combination with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and tree of life sermon today from Pastor Les. Comparison is such a Burmese tiger pit. Thank you for your frankness and vulnerablitiy. They are a blessing, and so are you!

  3. Kris G. Says:

    I must bless you and thank you for your transparency and your heart, Kris! Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing yourself with us in this way, and encouraging us that we are not alone in the marathon, nor is there a fault in us that makes it a marathon.

  4. Bailey Says:

    Loved this post, Mom :). Buuuttttt….. you DO look fabulous. Do you know how many people compliment you to me and don’t even compliment ME?! Lol– its all good. I love being your daughter. Thanks for being such a great mom.

  5. Curt Says:

    You think you’ve got it tough trying to be a Barbie? You ought to see how tough it is trying to be a “Ken” 🙂

  6. Jenae Says:

    Thank you for sharing. I hope a series like this comes soon to the Lifegate Family – maybe a Mother’s Day message?!?! 🙂

  7. Anna Evans Says:

    Thank you for sharing! I have been feeling the same way… and being pregnant doesn’t help either. I have been meditating on the ‘Curse for Comparision’ series all week and I thought (comparing of course) that I was the only one that needed a refresher course. Thank you for reminding me that it’s an ongoing process. Thank you for being so real and volunerable and your blog always encourages me! Much love!

    • Kristin Beauchamp Says:

      Anna, you are a dear! There is no one more beautiful than an expecting mommy, even though you don’t feel like it! Comparing stinks, but it still sneaks up on us! Yes, it’s an ongoing process, but we get better with practice!

  8. nanci hinman Says:

    Kris, thank you for such a wonderful post. Out of all of your writings, this is the one I relate probably the closest too. It is a journey or process for me also. First I think that you are a gift from God mainly because you can relate, you can empathize and show your “real” ness.
    Oh so this is how I feel much of the time, (steroids just put another 15 lbs on me, exercise is nearly impossible due to hip dysplasia and knee destruction, so I can so relate…. relate…relate…:D, yet my husband mimics God’s view of me..He too reminds me of the “awesome beauty God put in me” so I Believe what God says, not what my “chattering mind” says 😀 so I catch myself “working hard” to be what I want to be on the outside and work even harder on the inside… striving to be the “”ok He made me the way I am and loves me anyway” type of person. It’s not my “plastic Barbie smile” that pleases Jesus, it’s my “I am just me, His Daughter” that He loves…thanks so much for your blog…You are so loved for who you are…

    • Kristin Beauchamp Says:

      Steroids are a two-edged sword, aren’t they?! I had them during chemo. Yuck.
      Thank God for kind, loving husbands! Our chattering minds need some duct tape, lol!
      Thank you for responding to my post. We’re in this together!

  9. Claudia Kaser Says:

    I can assure you, Kris, that NO ONE ELSE sees you as you described yourself in your blog today! You are an inspiration to us all! Your quiet, inner beauty is an enhancement to the beautiful Kris that we all see and love! Reading your words of wisdom and vulnerability is a joy and a blessing. We have all been growing in our ‘beauty’, not only in the past few weeks of Hearts, but in your words as well.
    Thank you for being the amazing woman that you are!

  10. Barbara Vierk Says:

    As to the lack of spiritual maturity you mentioned, quite the opposite is needed to be that real. So many of us identify. You captured out thoughts and expressed them magnificently well.
    Let me tell you about my sister. Almost exactly your size. Smaller now than she used to be. Training every year for her annual hike up and down the Grand Canyon in a day. Eating healthfully. Feeling great. Using kettle bells for those arms. The first hike took place when she was 50. She did her 6th last fall. She was in Omaha in the fall, also. My friends raved about her beauty. Remember, I said she is identical in size to you.
    As for me, last time you wrote about diet and exercise I said I had a game plan to get back on track. I haven’t. I don’t feel as good either. Nothing wrong. Just sluggish. Next time you post I hope to have a good report. Don’t post for a couple of weeks.

  11. Angie Says:

    I needed to hear this today and I need to heed similar goals for myself! Thanks for sharing it!

  12. Rochelle Says:

    Kris: What a blog…. I am not going to say, that I know how you feel, but I know how you feel. Women have a nature that is all about taking care of others, yet when they take care of themselves they struggle to accept the milestones that they have met. However, if we were one of our own children we would want to shake them to accept their own success.

    Love you girl, but we all struggle with something about our own make-up. Why? I don’t know, but we need to pretend that we are our own children and learn to love who and what we represent.

  13. Marva Says:

    Simply, thank you. For being so honest. For saying what most of us are not brave enough to say. For finding the words that my brain can’t even organize let alone get on paper! Most of all, thank you for reminding us of the real truth. You are a gem.

  14. Deb Schmidt Says:

    Oh my! You’ve been reading my “self-sent” mail! As one who is struggling with the side-effects of much needed medication (ie: extra pounds!), I cried reading this. You expressed it so well. Thank you, my friend, for encouraging me in an area I’ve been particularly discouraged in lately! Your words spoke deeply to me.

  15. Jennifer Says:

    Ahh my friend you could not have posted this at a better time. I almost began to think we were at the same party as I have been struggeling most of the day with the same issue. I hate it that I can feel so great about myself and how far I have come in my healthy eating (not perfect mind you) and then go back to a place I was years ago stuggeling with my self-esteem. It so helps to know that someone as beautiful as you and as healthy and in shape as you still stuggles from time to time with the never attainable Barby image as well. Thanks for your honesty and realness (is that even a word?) lol.

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