I hesitated writing this post, because it’s scary to open up about the things that you actively hide from others. However, I’ve made it my mission over the past couple of years to share the lessons I have learned with others. And if I can prevent someone from having an unnecessary or negative experience by sharing my story, then I will be happy. So here it goes…
When it came to my body and my appearance, I’ve considered myself to be average…not the most attractive but also not ugly. I had always been skinny growing up. However, in middle school, the boys were more attracted to girls who were well-endowed…and that wasn’t me. I watched my friend go through three boyfriends in one school year, while I just wrote poems about being a hopeless romantic. That experience informed me that “men” thought appearance was more important than intelligence, loyalty, and compatibility. Things didn’t get better in high school or college when it came to men. I felt like Julia Roberts in My Best Friend’s Wedding where I was “chasing” men but they were “chasing” other women. *I wasn’t physically chasing them but my interest in men was not reciprocated.
Last month, a friend from high school commented that I had gotten “thicc.” I guess depending on the person that uses the word, it can be used as a compliment or a slight; it triggered me and I went into a small downward spiral. So as November approached, I swore to cut out coffee and sweets for the rest of the year, and to work out three times a week. Two weeks into November, I decided I wanted coffee, and that giving it up for a body celebrated by society was not worth it.
One of my mental health goals for this year is to believe God’s Word over lies. And I decided that’s what I was going to do. I had struggled for over a decade with insecurities about my body and appearance, and I needed to do something different to get a different outcome. So, I opened up my Bible and found all of the Bible verses that reference the word body. Here are a couple that spoke to me (I’ll put more at the end of this post):
“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”1 Corinthians 6:19-20
“…The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”1 Samuel 16:7
“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.”Pslam 139:14
“They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.”1 corinthians 15:44
In none of those scriptures, does it say that God cares what we look like on the outside. In fact, they say He cares about what’s inside of us and that we will get spiritual bodies when we die. As I was reflecting on these scriptures, I imagined how God must feel to see His children 1) overly concerned about their body and appearance and 2) more concerned what others think about them than what He thinks about them. I know it must hurt Him to see that we don’t appreciate His craftsmanship, and how intentionally we were created. It reminded me of the time I made my sister a homemade cookies and cream ice cream cake, but then she rejected it because she wanted the one from Cold Stone. It hurt, a lot, because I had spent so much time (and money) trying to make one of her favorite desserts for her birthday.
Out of my study and reflection, here’s what I learned. My body was created by God, and He made me exactly how He wanted to. Because of the way my body is shaped, I may not have a six pack. My body weight will fluctuate during my lifetime; I will gain and lose weight. And I can either accept that my weight is not an indication of my health or continue to spend time worrying about something that is not an issue at all. I realized, I would rather spend the time I have here on this Earth shining my light, than getting distracted with what the world says I should look like. I am who God says I am (cue “Man of Your Word” by Maverick City Music)…and so are you!!
If you are struggling with body image issues or know someone that is, feel free to reach out to me. I’m no professional, but I love to research and connect people to others that can help. I do pray that the above scriptures (and the ones I am about to share), will speak to you and change your perspective about yourself. You are more valuable than what you look like. You are valuable because God said so, and because He has a purpose for you on this Earth. Own it and don’t let anyone take away anything they didn’t give you.
1 Timothy 4:8
“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”
“So God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God, He made them; male and female He created them.”
“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.”
“Husbands have the obligation of loving and caring for their wives the same way they love and care for their own bodies, for to love your wife is to love your own self.”