I can't remember the first thing. The first thing I began to "hate" about my body. I remember not smiling because I thought my teeth looked like a vampire. I remember wearing my hair up everyday, because it wasn't as straight and sleek as the other girls. Yet, where this unmet standard began is unknown. It seems we start out living with youthful bliss and viewing our bodies as beautiful little machines that are; able to play, make friends, eat some macaroni, and sleep forever. Then, as we grow older, hit puberty and so on, our bodies quickly become one of our most daunting enemies. We no longer have piece of mind in the way we look and move. Whether it begins from sharp words from another or comparison traps set in our mind, we have all looked at aspects of our body in disgrace. Why is this?
Our Bodies Are Not The Problem
Our problem is so much deeper than the body itself. For those of you who don't know God, this may be exactly what you need to hear today. Our problem stems from the very beginning.
Genesis 1:27 —"So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them."
We were created in the image of God. That means our bodies are His design: made perfectly. Then, we took matters into our own hands. Adam and Eve (the first humans of God's creation) sinned against God. The moment they sinned, they noticed they were naked and had a distorted view of their bodies. They felt shame.
Genesis 3:7 —"Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves."
So our problem here began with sin. Our perspective filters through sin and turns the wonderful gift of life from God into a curse of "imperfection." One that will sadly never be satisfied without a correct understanding of the grace of God.
Made For More
God does not love us any more or any less based on our attractiveness. The son of God came down to take away the sin of the World and save us from its enslavement. He died on the cross and now when we put our faith in Him, we can be seen through the sacrifice of Jesus. God looks at the heart. We are seen as new. Perfect once again.
Ephesians 2:4-10 —"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."
We have a desire for wholeness that only comes from union with Christ.
From the inside out, we are a new creation. When we realize how we are made new, put our faith in Christ, and understand that the standard of beauty is meaningless compared to the Grace of God, we can be free.
Okay great, now we know why we do what we do right? Sin. Our bodies are created uniquely, one very different from another. I dare to say this is very intentional. Where would the beauty be if we all looked the same? The differences in our physical appearance and physical capabilities are not mistakes. When we compare to others and become jealous of something we were not born with, we can become bitter and upset with the unchangeable. A futile effort.
Society has had many ideas as to what we should like like and what shape we should be.
Social Media can be a comparison hot spot. Growing up, I struggled a lot with not measuring up to what I saw online, and I'd be lying if I said that has gone away with age. There have been many times in my life where I've had to get off Instagram and Facebook to come back to the truth of who God says I am. Social Media fasts can be a healthy practice to keep your comparison addiction in check. Take a break and breathe.
Take Care of It
You really do only get one shot, well, for this life. When we get to heaven we will be made new with heavenly bodies. To be honest, I have no idea what that'll be like but I'm excited nonetheless.
We need to take care of our bodies. That means eating well, proper exercise, and rest. These three can be hard to maintain, but in order to live at the potential we were created with, these are necessary.
Check out our YouTube for more about this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaoCq13RbE4
Don't look at them as a burden, but rather an opportunity to do what God has called us to do. Food or lack there of and lounging or excessive exercise can become an idol just like any other thing in our life. We need to be conscious of why we do what we do and steward our bodies well. Our bodies are a gift from God.
What if I am unable to do what my body needs?
This last summer, I struggled with a back injury and was unable to do practically any physical activity. This was a huge struggle for me as I like to be active and fit. I felt like I was sliding backwards and the way my body changed in that time was exhausting and discouraging. My perspective of worth was heavily focused on appearance and I was physically unable to change it. This made me rethink activity. I began to take each day at a time. I needed to take care of my body in order to love others well. I also needed to be open to asking for help when I couldn't do something.
Invite God into your frustrations about your body and lean into his truth to bring you through. He is with you. He will never leave you.
Fight The Lies With Truth
The lies that say our bodies are awful and unwanted will not go away, but now we can fight with the truth of who we are in Christ. Make it a practice to listen to what you say about yourself. What areas do you not allow the grace of God to intersect? Here are some verses to combat the lies we choose to believe:
Psalm 139:14 – “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
1 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 bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
1 Timothy 4:8 – “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”
1 Samuel 16:7 – “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.’”
I pray you begin to understand how beautifully made you truly are. Inside and out, you were intricately created by an all-inspired God. He knows you completely and loves you fully. I pray that you fight for truth in your mind and take care of your body for it is a gift. I pray God walks with you through your most troublesome and repetitive thoughts and leads you to a place of freedom. Through God's grace, I pray you see yourself and others as a masterpiece.