There is a fabulous book out called More Than A Body: Your Body is an Instrument, Not an Ornament.

Haven't read it yet, but it is on my list.

Most women have been convinced that our bodies are designed for "ornamental" purposes - to be seen, liked, admired, to be looked at, assessed and (hopefully) found pleasing to the male gaze.

I get it. Being attractive is a normal human desire.

But it is exhausting.

And the source of so much female unhealth I hardly know where to start.

One way I see this at our household is the difference between my husband's side of the bathroom counter and mine.

(I wish I could insert a photo here)

Mine is a hodge-podge of lotions and potions, brushes and boxes, products designed for luxurious hair and glowing, age-proof skin, colorful lips and cheeks.

His has some mouthwash (that we share), a few Q-tips and a toothbrush.

At night, he rinses his face with hot water and goes to bed. 

I will spare you the details of my evening beauty routine, but it involves more than hot water, which I have read is very drying for my aging skin.  I asked my husband about this and he said he's never read anything like that!

I would laugh if it weren't so tragic.

Beauty sickness is real. It is time-consuming. It is exhausting. 

And women are the ones who get ill with it.

My recent bout with back pain, a herniated disc, surgery and its subsequent recovery has given me new appreciation for my body's ability to do what I need and want it to do in the world.

Isn't it strange how we don't appreciate something until we lose it?

It wasn't until I lost the ability to walk, bend down to pick something up, to twist or stretch or reach that I started to appreciate what a gift it is when my body can do those things!

My body is an instrument, designed beautifully by God to do all I need and want to do in the world.

My body is a gift. A gift to me.

My legs are a gift to help me ambulate, do yardwork, trek through the forest to see the trees and sunset.

My arms are hearty, powerful swimmer's arms that are never going to look dainty in a sleeveless top. But they can pull weeds, hug my family, carry 13 bags of groceries at once and pick up my friend's daughter to swing her around!

My tummy has housed three amazing children, grown them from a few cells into strapping, healthy babies. It is incredible. And it will never see the light of day in a bikini again. Praise the Lord!

And man, am I grateful for my body today.

It has healed from surgery in a few weeks and I am walking on these strong legs almost three miles a day.

I am grateful for my legs, arms and tummy, not judgmental toward them.

They are instruments designed to be used, to be worked, to be delighted in.

They are not ornaments to be admired, judged or assessed ...

They are my legs, my arms, my tummy ... and I have finally made friends with them.

It's just too bad it took surgery to make this friendship happen.

What if your body is an instrument, not an ornament?

How would that change your perspective toward it?