Society is a strange, strange thing with strange, strange ideas and standards.
I don’t know how you’ve been doing these last few weeks with body image, but I can say whole heartedly my experience with it has been like a rollercoaster. Some days are great, other days not so great. How long is acceptable to stare at your stomach in the mirror?
Everyone seems to be saying one thing or another about where our bodies should be and how we should feel about ourselves during this weird time. I see things that are super body positive—you look good and that’s the end of that! (Which is great, by the way—please keep telling people they look good because it matters!) And then I see other things, like, eat whatever you want this is a difficult time to the other extreme of you should be using this time to better yourself physically and come out of all this looking the best you have ever been.
I’m somewhere in the middle, and I think that’s a pretty good place to be. Exercising well, eating decently (while still having my fair share of cookie dough because it is delicious), and trying to keep things positive around body image.
But, as much as I have tried, I have failed to do the one thing that is most important to living comfortably and healthily in your own skin—believing that it is actually good enough. Much like nearly every other early 20s-something woman, I have found myself in an external space of positive body talk but an internal place of body shaming. It is funny how easily the extra hours (and hours and hours) of not-so-well-spent time on social media during these last few weeks has placed ideas into my head about how I should look and who I should present myself as, when in reality, fearfully and wonderfully made was embedded into my being long before God even breathed this earth into existence.
Where is our conviction that fearfully and wonderfully made is part of the Really Real of ourselves and God’s Love over us?
Understanding our value and how lovely we are, both physically and otherwise, is derived from our allowing God and others to speak words of Life and Truth over us. God is singing Life over us at every moment, constantly speaking to our fearfully and wonderfully made—there is no distance He won’t go to bring us into the Kingdom Now of His great Love and Joy over us on earth. This truth greatly diminishes the not-quite-flat-enough stomach or the too-high forehead or the too-full face. It becomes shockingly easier to look at ourselves as Beautiful and Loveable and Absolutely Lovely when we listen to the words of the Creator of the Universe, which are astoundingly wonderful. And, in case you have forgotten, God’s Word is not debatable or overturn-able because if Yahweh is speaking Life into something, nothing can retract or rescind that Truth.
I have noticed in my own experience, the more time I spend listening to what God and the righteous people around me have to say about me, the more I am sure of my value and beauty. On that same note, I have also always felt the best about me when I have called out the best in others. Be so obsessed with making other people feel good—you will start to believe the good things you say about other people for yourself too.
And yes, you should still take care of yourself—exercise, eat well, take showers, please wear deodorant—value yourself enough to not only believe you are enough when you don’t feel that way but to take care of yourself. People who know their value, even if they are having trouble believing in it, invest time into making sure they are treating themselves well. Treat yourself well because you know you are Enough! Treat yourself well because you are fearfully and wonderfully made!
We hear it all the time, but it’s worth repeating: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”(Proverbs 31:30)
And you know what? Part of fearing the Lord is believing what He says, and if He says “fearfully and wonderfully made”, “deeply known”, “forgiven”, “worth dying for”, “Child”, then it would do you no good to protest these Good Things being spoken over you.
We were all designed uniquely and according to the Good plan God has and is fulfilling through our lives.
Our bodies change and grow and fill out and shrink. We need to treat them well with the way we live, but we also need to treat them with respect with the way we speak. Body image is much more than food, exercise, and a mirror—what we believe about ourselves and our bodies will inform whether or not we treat them well. So, while we may not be able to see others face to face right now, remind people that they LOOK SOO GOOD in comments or texts or Facetimes—whatever it is, continue building others up where they may be insecure and seek out the voice of the Father where you are struggling. He only speaks Truth over us, and He has a lot of good things to say about you.
Rest assured, “you’re absolutely gorgeous, and that’s the least interesting thing about you.”
We are more than our bodies and appearance, but they deserve our love and respect just as much as the rest of us. And I don’t mean they deserve love once you meet “that goal” or look “that way.” RIGHT NOW your body deserves respect. RIGHT NOW your body deserves to be loved and appreciated and thanked for all it does. Because when we can Love that part of ourselves, we free up a lot more time not thinking about ourselves. It really opens a window to notice others and to do Good Work for a Good God who has been telling us we are fearfully and wonderfully made since Eternity past.