Body Image

Changing direction here today to talk about our physical bodies. How many of us have a positive image of our bodies? If I was to offer a survey, I don’t think it would be very many. I believe what we think of our bodies is directly related to what we see on media today as examples of a “perfect body”–think of cheerleaders, athletes or beauty queens.

My own story of how I feel about my body began at puberty over forty years ago. As is usual of young ladies, I gained some weight. Through my genetics, I also had a body type that was different from what was considered ideal by society. I know now that I probably could never have achieved that ideal, but I didn’t know it then.

What was frustrating for me was that my mother and her family had a genetic body type that was closer to society’s ideal. She never had a problem with weight whereas I did because my genetic type was closer to my father’s side of the family. As you can imagine, that truth set up many battles between us when I was a teenager. I was constantly dieting, feeling acceptance from her when I lost weight, and feeling distance from her when I gained weight. There was no middle ground of ‘I love you, no matter what.’ There was an ideal that always needed to be achieved, and I wasn’t able to achieve it.

All of this started the poor body image I have had for most of my life. I went through periods of having healthy eating habits and periods where I just didn’t. Two pregnancies didn’t help either though I love my sons with all my heart. Not knowing my true value as a daughter of God and not knowing He had made me a certain way on purpose affected how I saw His love, and it affected how I saw myself and everyone else in my life. I was always looking for the reason I would be found inadequate.

Before I go any further, I want to say there is nothing wrong with healthy eating habits, exercise, or taking care of yourself. God wants us to take care of the body He gave us. For the next few days, I’m going to go through how I came to an acceptance of how I look and how that made me want to take care of the body God gave me. Not to achieve a perfect societal ideal, but to be a good steward of God’s gift.

I’ve said before in this space that I accepted Christ as a teenager, but I still struggled with this issue as I believe most of us do. For every believer who gets that we are supposed to have unconditional love and acceptance for each other, there are four or five more who believe society’s ideal is the only body we should strive for.

It has taken me many years to become comfortable with myself and my body. I’ve learned that God values all the parts of me–physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. The Scripture I’ve read and the unconditional love I’ve experienced from my Lord and Savior is all that matters to me not the opinions of others. I especially liked the verse the author shared and the verses from Psalm 139 which has become my go-to Psalm as I’ve struggled with my worth in God’s sight. First, from I Corinthians 6:19-20, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were brought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

Now, from Psalm 139:13-15, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.” (emphasis mine)

We are worth everything to God. He sent His Son to die on the cross for us–every part of us. My prayer today is for us to remember this truth!

Praying God’s blessings on you all today!

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