Every girl has had at least one negative thought about her body, whether it’s her hair, stomach, butt, legs, arms, eyes, etc. If you have never been that girl–congratulations, you don’t struggle with body image the way most of the girls I’ve ever met have. And I hope you never do.
I saw that quote the other day on Pinterest and thought, “You know, that’s a really good point. Because it’s the truth.”
As women, the media tells us that we’re all supposed to look a certain way… even if our bodies weren’t made to look that way. When I was younger–in junior high, high school, and even my first few years in college–I struggled with my body image a lot. It didn’t help that I had this crazy curly hair I could not control in the slightest bit, but I struggled with the shape of my body, too. I never felt skinny enough, and therefore never felt pretty enough.
Whew, that’s heavy stuff, I know.
Well, I’m here today telling you that for the first time since I was old enough to notice the shapes of people’s bodies, more often than not I’m comfortable in the skin I’m in. And, while exercise and running have helped give me confidence, my comfort goes deeper than that.
Sin enslaves and destructs. I felt enslaved to my body image. I thought about it all the time, compared myself to everyone around me, and based my measure of worth and value on how I compared to the girls around me. If I felt bigger than everyone else, I’d struggle with insecurity and depression. If I felt smaller or prettier, I’d feel good. Talk about destructive.
But, here’s the good part: I’m no longer enslaved to sin. Not because I overcame it, but because Jesus did for me. And for you.
For the death [Jesus] died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. -Romans 6:10-14
Christ took the shackles from my wrists that bound me to my body image. For a long time, I didn’t see it–I didn’t notice the shackles were gone, and I continued acting as a slave to it! Instead of viewing my body as an instrument for righteousness, I looked to my body image to give me the worth it wouldn’t bring.
But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? -Galatians 4:9
Ladies, there is so much more freedom in knowing Christ and leaning on him for the worth he’s already given you in his death and resurrection than the fleeting, wishy-washy confidence that comes from being a slave to your image. Your body will constantly fluctuate and even change as you age, but Christ stays the same forever. Choose him instead, and embrace the freedom he brings from stewing over the way you look.
If you’re struggling with your body image, I would love to pray for you and encourage you. You can contact me here. Here’s my advice about dealing with your body image:
1. Choose Christ instead. Every day. Every moment you look in the mirror and feel discouraged. Remember who made you new–a brand new creation, made for righteousness. Then walk away from the mirror.
2. Ask God to help you. Spend time studying his Word, memorizing the verses that bring you hope and can re-direct your thoughts in times of struggle. Ask your friends to help you.
3. Exercise. I exercise because my body doesn’t belong to me–it belongs to God, so I want to treat it well. I try not to eat too much ice cream for the same reason, but, well, that doesn’t always happen ;). God created our bodies to be used, which means our need for exercise is part of his design for us. Take walks, run, do workout videos, play a sport… do something you can enjoy and worship God for the gift of movement.
4. Eat well. As much as I love ice cream and anything sweet, I can’t allow myself to eat those things all day long. Since our bodies belong to God, we should treat them respectfully and not allow food to control us, either. That means eating as balanced of a diet as you can and not pigging out on junk food when you feel sad. Everything is okay in moderation–so eat some sweets every once in a while–but remember that eating is part of your daily worship, too.
5. Don’t be discouraged when it gets hard, but don’t give up. Keep coming back to Christ, even after you make mistakes… he’s still there, offering the same freedom you forgot.
If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on the things that are above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. -Colossians 3:1-4
Praise the Lord for the day when we will meet him in all his glory. I hope your journey to that day is one that embraces the freedom we have from sin in Christ Jesus. Choose him today, tomorrow, and the next day.
Don’t forget–I’d love to pray for you.