Sometimes I will catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I have to admit that I am not always entirely satisfied with the image I see in the reflection. There are parts of my body that I occasionally seem to desire were shaped in another way. Most of my body image insecurities emerge from my own thoughts of my thighs, my stomach, and my goodness the size of head.
When I was younger, I often compared myself to others. I was not always even slightly thin and would feel pressures from those around me to lose weight and be thinner. I would look at girls who were skinnier than me and desire to have size of their thighs or stomach. My mom would take me to the store, and at the checkout stand, I would glance at the models on the Vogue magazine rack and think to myself, “Why can’t I look like them?” or “If I looked like that, I wouldn’t have to worry about others calling me fat.”
These desires to change my self-image so that I could be skinner led to an unhealthy lifestyle for me. At the mere age of 11, I found myself hating my body. And as the years passed, I had negatively fallen into a lifestyle of unhealthy ‘eating’, exercise, and a mindset that I had to look a certain way.
After years of living this unhealthy lifestyle, there were many habits I was able to lift myself out of. It was not easy, I sometimes still struggle with comparing my body to others and even wishing that some parts of my body were shaped differently. Just a few days ago, I looked in the mirror and found myself unsatisfied with those parts of my body that I wished looked different. When I was in the grocery store recently, and I had found myself comparing the size of my stomach and thighs to the lady across from me in the same isle.
I will admit that when dealing with issues such as body image it can be quite challenging. I can’t even count the number of times that I have overheard or seen girls who struggle with their own image. I have had many of my close friends confide in me about how they hate their bodies and that they deal with eating disorders.
Through this messy battle of attempting to wash away my negative thoughts about my self-image, there has been several ways I have attempted to reshape my thoughts. I’m sharing this not because I have it all figured out, but because I want you to know that you are not alone.
- You Don’t Have to Look Like the Model on the Magazine
Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter, we are all the work of your hand. – Isaiah 64:8
God created us all uniquely: in his own image and likeness. We were all not meant to be the same height, shape, size, etc. If we were meant to all look and be the same, then there would be no diversity in the human race. We were not all meant to be 5’7 with long legs and a six pack, and that is okay. Just because we may not have those features does not make us less, ugly, or unworthy. The features that we have is what makes us beautiful, unique, and worthy. Because no matter your shape, size, or features, you are more than enough and beautiful. Before we were born, God created everything about us. He picked out the color of our hair and eyes. He knew how tall we would be and our body shape. When he was done he did not say, “Not good enough. Not skinny enough. Not pretty enough.” God said, “My child is perfect.”
- Look at Jesus
Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The Heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt.” Although we may bury it within, we can be full of things that we may never want anyone to know about. Whether it is envy or our own corrupt thoughts. Our hearts are beating for something more, our hearts desire something beautiful. They yearn for a peaceful place where we can dwell that could let our insecurities fade away or possibly never exist. Instead of looking in the mirror and pinpointing our insecurities, we must not dwell on the world’s perception of how we must look, but look at God who lives in us. This is what our hearts need.
- It is Jesus Who Lives Within Us and He Makes Us New.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away and see the new has come. -2 Corinthians 5:17
Jesus lives within us. He loves us so much that he wants to heal us of our hurt and strengthen us through our flaws. That person that you look at in the mirror each morning and tell them that, “they are not enough,” is more to Him than anything we can possibly ever fathom. When you have doubts about yourself, God looks at you and says, “You are beautiful. You are worthy. You are capable. I would not change a thing about you. You are my child.” He is the love that we seek. When we begin to see our true identities as being who he calls us to be: Daughter of a King and Woman of God or Sons of God and Sons of a King, that is when we will see the identity of the beauty and truth within us because he will thrive in our hearts and reshape our thoughts for us.
I do not have it all figured out. I wish it were simply that easy. I still struggle with self-image. But I know I must not allow other’s views about how they see my body or what they think of it, distract myself from the truth and love of how God sees me. Because I know the way God sees me, and all of us, is who we really are: Beloved, Children of God, Daughters and Sons of a King, Beautiful, Worthy. We have a redeemer who is perfect. He spilt every bit of love for us on the cross. Maybe now we must surrender our hearts to him and allow him to unravel our insecurities and struggles, so that we may experience ourselves as being created new through him and his unfailing love.