Creating Healthy Body Image

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ
2 Corinthians 10:5

I spent years thinking my feet were so ugly & so big that I wouldn’t wear sandals or open toed shoes ever!  You might think this is crazy & wonder what in the world it has to do with body image but toes are part of the body too. 

 If I’m honest with you, I am not truly satisfied with every part of my body & I’m not sure I ever will be, but I’m sure trying.  I’ve spent so many years looking at images that tell me I should look a certain way, it makes it hard to get over feelings of inadequacy about my body.

And truth be told, you probably aren’t completely happy with every part of your body either. 

 But why are we so unhappy with our bodies?

We’ve spent years looking at images of perfect bodies & believing we should look like that too.  We tend to spend a lot of time focusing on what is wrong with our bodies.  And any negative comment we’ve ever heard, from anyone, including that boy in middle school, has stuck with us. 

The problem with all those images & all those comments is they leave us covered in thoughts of comparison.  When we compare our body to the body God has given someone else, we begin to believe that the shape & size of their body must dictate their level of happiness & we want that happiness too. 

 We believe if we could have the body we see on someone else then all our problems would disappear.

 But God wants you to see your body as He sees it.

            Then God said, “Let Us make mankind in our image…” {Genesis 1:26}

 We were made in God’s image.  How in the world could we dislike that?

 God not only made us in His own image, but He also created a space within us to carry His living Spirit!  Our bodies are an intricate working of cells, muscles, organs, bones & skin that carry around the ability to live & work in a way which honors & glorifies God Himself.

So does that mean we completely ignore our earthly body?  No, but there is a balance in keeping our body healthy, not hyper focusing on what we perceive as flaws & living in a way that honors the Lord.

Our body is indispensable.  We need this body to be able to live on earth.  We also need to live on earth to our greatest ability to serve others & serve the Lord.  It doesn’t mean we can’t care about how we look, it means we can’t focus on what we look like.

Body image becomes a problem when it affects our self-worth.  When we start to focus on believing that because a certain part of us doesn’t look a certain way or we aren’t a certain size in clothing, then body image is a problem.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be a healthy weight, exercise, dress nicely or any other body care process, but we must filter all of that through our value & worth in Christ. 

 The bible says we are a whole being made up of body, spirit & soul {1 Thessalonians 5:23}.  While we are on this earth we are confined to the body in order to live so we must treat our body with a healthy respect. 

The parts of us {body, spirit & soul} are all interconnected, so being negligent to one part of it is just as bad as paying too much attention to one part of it. 

 We need God to help us find balance in our lives.  How can we do this?  Here are 3 thoughts on overcoming body image issues:

First, value the body God gave you.  Imagine for just a moment you lost the ability to walk, had a chronic illness or suffered in continual pain.  You would be left with a deep yearning for that part or ability back & you wouldn’t be so focused on what it looked like. 

 Second, realize your body gives you the ability to completely live out your life in God’s fullness.  Romans 12:1 tells us that our bodies are a living sacrifice to God & we actually worship Him with them.  If you didn’t have the body God gave you, you couldn’t worship Him fully. 

Lastly, thank God for the body He gave you & discipline yourself to be thankful for it.  Instead of looking in the mirror  & criticizing the part of your body you don’t really like, look in the mirror, directly into your own eyes & proclaim God’s truth about yourself.  Tell yourself you are fully loved, completely forgiven & completely able to complete the task He has called you to. 

The more we focus on our lives in the light of God’s view of us, the more we forget the images the world tries to shape us into.  We may never be fully satisfied with the physical aspect of the way our body looks in certain clothing but we can be fully satisfied with who we are & how much we are valued by the One who created us.