You would think at my age (61) I would have overcome any negative body image thoughts. Maybe I am better at it than when I was younger, but I still have body image skirmishes. These skirmishes happen to me more often than you might think, but when our culture is all about beauty, photoshopping, sculpted bodies, and youth, and …well, you know, the battle doesn’t seem to end.
How have I managed to fight this war? Some time ago I asked God to give me promises from His Word that I could claim when I was being attacked by negative and depressing thoughts of not measuring up. The following are 8 declarations I focus on when I am having a bad day:
I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)
No matter how broken or marred my body may be, it is still a miraculous piece of work with a heart, lungs, eyes, and brain that work together and hold me together. I am a living and functioning human being made in the image of God, and my body has worth.
Give thanks in all circumstances. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
It is easy to focus on the negative aspects of what you don’t like about your body. It’s easy to become discouraged when you compare yourself to other more “perfect” bodies. However, it really does help to choose to find things to be thankful for. Thank God for the many nourishment options we have. Thank God for the ways your body functions well. Thank God for the things (clothing, hairstyles, make up) we have access to that can make us look better. Thank God for the health you do have. And thank God for the people in your life that love you for YOU!
I beat my body and make it my slave. (1 Corinthians 9:26)
You might be thinking that this verse is a little intense! Actually, I agree. You probably have no intention of doing daily body boot camps, but that is not what this verse ultimately means. Paul is saying (in a very strong way) that he works at disciplining his body in order to better be able to serve Christ. In other words, don’t give up the struggle of being a good steward of your body. Set some goals. Work at eating properly and exercising to some extent so that you have the energy to do what God has called you to do. God has given you your body as a means to serve Him. Take care of it.
Though outwardly I am wasting away, inwardly I am being renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:16)
All the creams in the world, all the exercises in the world, and all the salads in the world cannot stop the aging process. Learn to accept that reality and never forget our earthly body is temporary. While it is important to take care of our bodies, it should not be our ultimate focus. Our character is what lasts, not our bodies. If we invest everything into our bodies (which is temporary) and very little into our character and relationship with God (which is eternal), we will not be able to handle the “weighty issues” of old age well.
God's love is better than life. (Psalm 63:3)
Do you struggle to believe this is true? Is God’s love truly better than achieving a certain physical goal? Rest in the truth that His love is better than anything. You might be surprised at how healing and comforting this truth can be.
God makes everything beautiful in its time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
I have a confession to make with this one… I look in the mirror most days and I wonder how this is going to happen! I don’t know when God plans on making this promise a reality in my life, and I don’t know how He plans on making this happen, but I choose to trust God in the mystery. I DO know this verse tells me that I might look in the mirror and see only the big nose, bushy brows, and droopy eyes, but God looks at me and sees potential. This verse out of all of them gives me the most hope!
I will not be mastered by anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12)
I do NOT want food to control me. I also refuse to allow other people’s opinions, circumstances, social media, health issues to control me. I WANT THE LOVE OF GOD TO CONTROL ME!! That is all that matters. Zephaniah 3:17 talks about how the Lord God takes “great delight” in me, and He rejoices over me with “loud singing” (ESV). I love that word picture of God Himself singing so loudly that He drowns out the other negative voices telling me I don’t measure up. As I look in the mirror and face another day at “war”, I want His voice to be the only one I really hear.
There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)
We do our best, but we are going to have days when we fail. We skip the workout, we eat cake, we stay up past midnight… and we are so tired… not just from lack of sleep… just weary from the battle of the bulge that only seems to grow bigger and get more intense. Yet I find Romans 8:1 freeing. God knows it’s hard. God knows we are not perfect. He knows we are weak and wicked. BUT…if we have cried out to Christ Jesus to save us, He does! He takes us as we are- a hot mess.
He loves us and puts us back on our feet with weapons of His Word in our hands, ready to take on the world.