How dare ANYONE accuse me of giving up? Of being a quitter? Anyone who truly knows me knows my fierce determination and my will to succeed. I have had to work hard all my life to accomplish what I have accomplished; no, I have not lived a posh life of comfort and convenience; and while I still recognize the vast blessings I have had growing up; having such a wonderful, loving, magnificent family who have loved and nurtured me in ways so many children do not receive, I also recognize that the hard times I have been afforded are only tests of my will, my determination, my spirit, my passion, my drive, my faith, and my love.
I am more determined THAN EVER to accomplish every single one of my worthy and righteous goals. I have never failed at anything that Heavenly Father has asked me to do; and I do not plan on starting now. How could anyone possibly think I have given up??? How could anyone possibly think that my acceptance of who I am is equivalent to complacency? No one knows what it is like to be me; to wake up and have to look in the mirror every morning; to remind myself of all the ugly and imperfect things about me. But the fact is my goals will not be accomplished overnight, and in the meantime, I have to live in this skin, in this body, and most importantly, I need and WANT to enjoy the journey and learn everything I can from it. It's the learning that makes us truly noble. As Martin Luther King said, "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." Personally, I'm grateful to the Lord that I was not born with the gift of genes that would enable me to go through life eating whatever I wanted; to not have to exercise, because my metabolism would just melt it all off. While some may see my genes as tainted; as weak; as undesirable, what they don't see is what a marvelous gift it is to have the genes I DO have. I may lack the genes of a slender and athlethic body and a high metabolism, but I have extremely dense, amazingly strong bones, an excellent immune system, normal blood pressure and low cholesterol, and a very pretty face. I also make up for my "lack thereof" in every other way; the ways that matter. It's not a great body that will get me to Heaven -- it's a pure and virtuous spirit. In the meantime, because I have the body that I do, I value health much more than a person who never has to worry about his or her weight. I see the virtue in the Word of Wisdom because I see how it helps one to reach those goals. I see the blessings that lie in having a healthy body and being in optimal shape; I see them because those are my goals. If I HAD those things, I would take them for granted. But this trial I was born with is NOT a defect; it is, in fact, a beautiful strength.
This is why there is beauty in imperfection. This is why God's plan is so truly remarkable. It enables us to truly harness the power within us to make powerful changes. It allows us to continually grow and become stronger; to gain knowledge and testimony; to truly recognize the beauty of having opposition in all things. Would one value health if he always had it? Would one value beauty if everyone posessed it? Would one value good if evil did not exist? NO. How can we become like God if we don't go through these personal challenges and embrace them, recognizing them for what they truly are; a path to the Celestial Kingdom? We should want to help each other, take great joy in each other's accomplishments; see the true beauty that lies within each and every soul on this earth -- yes, especially in their imperfections! They are what make us unique, but more importantly, they are what leads us towards the goal of becoming like our Father in Heaven. Without them, we would truly be nothing.
So yes, I am so grateful for my body! It is NOT trash! It is a work in progress, just as my spirit and my mind is. It can be sculpted, and it is doing so right now. There is no good in being ashamed, but there is no good in being complacent, either. I am always one to strive to be better; what would make anyone think that this did NOT include my physical body, the temple that God has blessed me with? Why would I NOT want to take care of it?
I will reiterate again; accepting and loving myself does not equate to complacency. I just recognize that my body will never be perfect on this earth; but I will do all that I can to make it the healthiest it can possibly be; teaching me the joy that comes from the gift of health, and enabling me to accomplish the mission that God has for me.
I like what Harold B. Lee said to members of the church: "Faults and failings and the superficiality of mere physical attractions are as nothing compared with the genuineness of good character that endures and grows more beautiful with the years. You, too, may live in the enchantment of your happy homes long after the bloom of youth has faded if you but seek to find the pure diamond quality in each other that needs but the polishing of success and failure, adversity and happiness to bring luster and sparkle that will shine with brilliance even through the darkest night."
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