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God's Powerful Words to Those Struggling with Body Image Issues

I used to believe eating plain bagels would help me lose weight. The year was 1992. Instead of butter, I used a plastic spray bottle of chemicals that had an almost buttery flavor. Avocados? They were filled with fat. No, thank you!

Twenty-five years later, I found myself carefully following a recipe for something called a “fat bomb,” filled with butter, nuts, and oil. I’d eat this treat only after I finished my bowl of guacamole. Carbohydrates? Who needs those when you want to be skinny?

There’s only one thing that stays constant in the world of health and how to take care of our bodies, the rules are always changing. Remember when breakfast used to be the most important meal of the day? Intermittent Fasting took a sharp left turn on that idea, didn’t it?

I believed every one of culture’s messages about how to stay “healthy” and how to take care of my body. I latched on to every food trend so I could be a “good steward” of my body. Then, like a good soldier in the diet culture army, I cleaned out my pantry and fridge to prepare for yet another new, “better” way to eat.

But, why? What am I really looking for when I turn to another food or fitness plan? It’s more than a better body. It’s more than a healthier lifestyle. I’m looking for acceptance. I’m searching for love. I’m hoping someone will choose me and then I’ll know that I’m okay.

Then I pause and remember. I’m already loved beyond what I measure. I’ve already been chosen and accepted. Beyond that, I’m also redeemed and adopted! Why do I have such a hard time living like it’s true? Why is it so hard to simply believe the Gospel?

It’s always been easy for me to believe the ever-changing “truth” around food and health (Eggs are good! No, eggs are bad! No, eggs are good again!). Yet believing the truth of scripture about my body? That’s where I struggle. In my head, I know there’s nothing I can do to make God love me any more or any less. But in my heart, there’s a battle.

I know I’m not alone in this. Many Christian women I meet are fighting the same battle against the scale and the mirror and trying to feel like they’re really loved. We’re obsessing over food, trying to get it all right. Why? We forget that the Gospel offers us all the joy, freedom, peace, and rest we crave. We forget that God made each of us on purpose, for His purpose. It’s awkward to live loved in a world saturated with comparison and self-doubt.

In 1 John 4:7-21, we’re reminded of God’s great love for us. While we often seek love and approval from others, we can find ourselves placing their opinions about us and our bodies above God's truth. Sometimes, we can even believe that our own opinions about our bodies or health are truer than God’s. Yikes!

While God says I’m fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), I say, “I wish you’d made me a little more like her. . .”

While scripture says that beauty shouldn’t come from what we have on our outsides (1 Peter 3:3), I change clothes six times before heading to church.

It’s a challenge to see our bodies as God sees them, instead of through the filter of this broken world. It starts with our ability to believe that what God says, rules. And He says: I am completely accepted, regardless of what my body looks like, because of Jesus. He loves us.

God's love is constant and transformative. When we live loved, we can let go of the burdens of comparison, body image issues, and the pursuit of perfection. By regularly spending time in God's Word, we can counteract the negative messages bombarding us and allow God's truth to penetrate our hearts. This empowers us to challenge and replace cultural narratives because we know the truth of God's great love for us.

My body image will never be healthy if I’m putting my hope in the right size or shape to save me. Neither will I be healthy if I keep following culture’s fickle food trends. The only truth that can really change me is God’s Word.

Related Resource: 

Struggling with body image issues or body acceptance? Listen to Compared to Who? with Heather Creekmore. 

Each week, you’ll hear encouragement, biblical truth, and practical strategies to help you fight and win your battles with insecurity, body shame, constant comparison, and approval. Ready to Stop Comparing and Start Living? Then start listening here and subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify!

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/FG Trade

 

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