The tears took me a bit by surprise – I’m mainly blaming pregnancy hormones combined with said two-year-old rudely awakening me before 6am demanding tank engines and breakfast.

But still, they were definitely triggered by an article on BBC news.

I was reading about American photographer Jade Beall, who took pictures of women’s lumpy, saggy post-pregnancy bodies and posted them on her blog. They went viral, and she’s printing a book of them, called My Beautiful Body.

Yes, yes, I know the media only print airbrushed photos and nobody really looks like that anyway (other than possibly for 20 minutes at the age of 16 and then we’re too busy worrying about spots to enjoy being gorgeous).

And I also know that beauty is on the inside, and that I’m valuable to God even if I look like Stig of the Dump.

But knowing these things doesn’t necessarily make me believe them.

The sad reality is, that despite being a loved child of God who should really have more important things to worry about, I’m clearly so bothered about my stomach sagging that I blub about it into my cornflakes.

In our fallen, messed-up world, we’re often so bound up with what we look like that it can be really hard for that relationship with God, that understanding of our identity in Him, to penetrate our self-loathing.

But one of the reasons I was so moved by these photos was that they reminded me I’m not a helpless victim of media airbrushing.

Jade relayed what happened when she googled “beautiful body”: “My black and white images are sprawled through all these airbrushed photographs.

“And I took such delight. It was like, ‘Oh gosh, it’s happening!'”

Yes, we’re bombarded by fake images of perfection, but we don’t have to swallow the lie.

And we certainly don’t have to perpetuate it.

We may not all be professional photographers or magazine publishers, but we can all choose the images and the thoughts and the ideas we share with others through social media.

When OK magazine obsesses about the Duchess of Cambridge’s weight-loss regime and sneers about her post-baby figure on Twitter, we can get angry instead of shrugging it off.

Don’t be conformed to the likeness of this world, Paul says. Be transformed, by the renewing of your mind.

And while I’m guessing he didn’t have had photos of stretch marks in mind, it might just be a start.

(Image Copyright: Jade Beall, 2013)

Written by Charis Gibson // Follow Charis on  Twitter

Charis is half Greek Cypriot, half Northern Irish so she’s genetically programmed to love food and a good yarn. From crime reporter to communications manager, she’s a wordsmith by trade, a God-follower by soul and recently a mum by nature. She’s becoming an expert multitasker and you’re most likely to find her tapping furiously on her laptop while scraping toddler snot off her cardie.

Read more of Charis' posts

Comments loading!