Let’s talk body image, ladies.
This is quite the topic, one that has every one of us somewhere on the scale of managing our lives around how we view our bodies. What we eat, what we wear, what we think when we look in the mirror, how we see ourselves when we walk through a crowded room, trying bathing suits on, what we think our partner really thinks about us, to name a few.
Some people spend hours in the gym and/or copious amounts of time on what food and drink they put in their bodies, some restrict calories to a point that everyone can see they do that to the extreme, others binge eat and appear to not care when in actuality they do, others have great metabolisms and I don’t want to discuss those lucky people, meh.
What every one of us ladies have experienced to some degree or another, regardless of our differing ways we care for our bodies, is the voices we hear about how we look.
For some reason, especially in 1st world environments, we have an absolute ton of pressure as women to look a very specific way.
We are supposed to have beautiful curves in only the right places, no fat whatsoever on our bodies – this includes zero cellulite – our stomachs are to be flat in all positions we find ourselves in, we need muscle definition but not too much muscle, our face should have no extra weight and should have nice jaw lines, big lips, proportional noses, perfectly noticeable and spaced nicely eyes, and fantastic hair.
So, considering most of us cannot obtain this list (that isn’t all inclusive) without proper surgeries and miracles, we have voices coming at us from a very young age telling us things like:
“Your thighs are too thick – you don’t have that nice gap.”
“Your nose is too big, that’s all people stare at.”
“Your arms are flabby and short – you have no real muscle definition because it’s covered in fat.”
“No one thinks you are attractive, look at all your cellulite.”
“Your forehead is too big.”
“You are only worth what you look like.”
“Your value is in the way people see you.”
“You are aging and it’s totally obvious you don’t look as nice as when you were younger.”
“Look at your stomach, you look 6 months pregnant and you aren’t pregnant at all.”
“You don’t look as good as everyone else, especially any girl on a screen or in print.”
You have your own list; I have no doubt. Or you did. Possibly this has never been an issue for you, and that’s super wonderful.
For those who struggle with allowing all of these negative thoughts to dictate how they view themselves, let us break it down together.
- We choose what we believe about ourselves. Yes, we choose. Just because words are in our head doesn’t mean they were originally our idea or thought. The enemy of our souls plays in that space. He uses a very similar sound to our own voice in our head. It’s easier to deceive us if he sounds like we do.
Once we choose to entertain certain beliefs, we make them ours. Don’t take them and entertain them. Don’t think on it and start adding our agreement to it. We have to take it captive there and speak to it.
- We have to know what God says about us so we can replace the thoughts with positive beliefs. Here are some good ones:
Psalm 139:13-14 – “For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, that I know full well.” We have to praise Him instead of tear ourselves down. Praise Him for making us wonderfully – we are His work and it is good!
Genesis 1:27 – “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God, He created him; male and female He created them.” When God sees us, He sees the image of Himself in each and every one of us.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.” This here – our body is a temple of the living God. We are told to honor God with our body. This includes what we do to it, but also how we see what we have been given. It is not honoring to tear something down, belittle it or think poorly of it. How do we give honor to something? We care for it, we place personal value in it, and we speak kindly and good of it. We must do the same for our bodies. When we devalue what was bought, what was made in the image of God, what isn’t our own in the first place, it’s kind of like telling God what He made wasn’t good. And God doesn’t make anything that isn’t good.
- We have to create a new pattern of thinking and repent for mistreating and misspeaking of our design. Creating a new habit means an exchange of one behavior for another. If the behavior is entertaining negative body beliefs, we must replace the negative words with positive ones. We fight with our sword – the Word of God (Ephesians 6). We also have to apologize to God for believing the lies instead of His truth about our bodies. Sure, we will never be perfect in our eyes but we didn’t create us. The God of the universe did. I have no doubt we grieve God when we believe all sorts of negative things about what He made when He made us.
- How do we do this? Every time negative voices try to drag us away, we stop the thought process and start praising God for making us a wonderful creation. We speak to the voices in our heads – out loud – and quote some of those Scriptures above to the thoughts. I know it sounds nuts to speak out loud to inner voices, but this gives you more power than you realize. You hear yourself say it, and you start to believe it even more. Speak to the negative voices and say “You have no power over me in the name of Jesus. You don’t get to dictate my view of myself with your lies. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. It’s who I am.” Say it with authority. That authority was bought with the blood of Jesus to allow us to use His name over the spiritual realm coming against us. That’s who Jesus is and it’s who you are, daughter. Use your weapons.