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Believers struggling with negative body image? Oh yes!! Negative thoughts about body image are not something women are immune to just because they are Christians. Women of faith struggle with the same issues any woman does and body image is no different. Do you struggle in this area? Well, I am here to tell you that you are not alone. Read on about own struggle with my body as well as encourage you with Bible verses about body image to show you your own beauty in the eyes of God!
Updated from 10/9/19
My Own Struggle With Body Image
I find myself standing yet again looking into my full-length mirror and I realize I am never satisfied. No matter what clothing I have on or how good my hair looks or if my makeup is on point, I am never satisfied.
All my adult life, up until around age 35, I was THAT person. You know, the one who could eat anything she wanted and never gain an ounce? Yep, that was me.
And oh boy did I eat! I ate everything and anything that was bad for me too because, well, I just didn’t care. I wasn’t going to put on weight so why not enjoy it, right? I wasn’t yet at the point where health was a real concern so I just ate!
And yet there I was, this time after carrying 7 babies and now at age 55 and about that many pounds’ overweight. Now I looked at my body and despised myself.
I didn’t just despise the weight. I despised MYSELF! Every day of my life I looked in the mirror and felt disgusted with what looked back at me. But it wasn’t just how my whole body looked that made me feel that way.I looked at myself in the mirror and realized I didn’t just despise the weight, I despised MYSELF! Click To Tweet
Negative Body Image Turned to Self-Hatred
I hated what I had done to myself. That was the bigger issue.
I hated my weakness. I hated that I let it define me and I hated that I was so undisciplined that I couldn’t even manage to go on a diet or workout and lose the weight.
Oh, I did from time to time but never stuck with it. The weight would come back and it would bring friends!!
But I had the answer!! Or at least I thought I did at the time! I thought I knew it all. I didn’t even stop and check for Bible verses about body image or try to get some idea of what God had to say about it.
No, I kept defining beauty by the world’s view instead of the Lord’s view.
So I knew (or believed I did) how to finally rid myself of it once and for all! I made the appointment and had liposuction!!
Yep, I had lipo! Not on my entire body but on the areas the doctor had told me would be the most difficult to lose even with diet and exercise. It is not something I am proud of now but it is the reality of how I was feeling at the time.
I had them remove as much fat from those areas as they could possibly medically and legally remove!! And wow, what a difference! I finally had a waist again and I was feeling great!
But it didn’t last. It didn’t last because it was the wrong solution.
I was viewing this “lowly body” through the lens of the world instead of seeing it as God’s temple and that the crown of beauty I should chase after was one that comes with having the Spirit of God and NOT the one that world awards for physical appearance.
Still Never Happy With Myself
So, because of my body image issues, I looked in that mirror and realized, I wasn’t satisfied.
After all of that and I was STILL not satisfied.
Except now I was picking apart the loose skin on my abdomen from multiple pregnancies. I was looking at the areas that I didn’t have lipo on and I was beating myself up over deciding not to do them.
I lost some weight but not a lot because lipo is for body shaping and not weight loss. And even though they had told me that, somehow my mind heard what it wanted and I thought I would be different and I WOULD lose more weight.
But no, it wasn’t the case.
At the end of the day, I was still miserable with what I saw reflected back at me in that mirror. I still despised what I saw.
I was seeing this earthly body as being more of a concern than the glorious body I would one day have in the Messianic Kingdom!
I Still Hated ME!
I still despised ME!
Not surprisingly, I gained weight again. Not in the areas where I had lipo but in the areas I didn’t. My inner thighs were growing larger and for the first time EVER, even though I gained all that weight before, I had no gap between them.
If you don’t know what I am talking about, then you and your thighs are fortunate indeed!
My arms for the first time got larger and flappier. The lipo didn’t do a thing for keeping weight off. It only changed where the weight went on.
I still had the same old bad habits and I was still miserable and still had an unhealthy body image.
I was still defining myself by my appearance; by outward things. I was still seeing my human body through the lens of a diet culture that tells you that you need to take this pill or drink this shake and get down to a size 0!
I wasn’t seeing the separation between living a healthy lifestyle because you view your body as a temple of God and trying to fit some worldly standard of how we should look because social media tells us so.I was still defining myself by my appearance…by outward things. Click To Tweet
Seeking Bible Verses About Body Image Instead of Seeking the World’s Opinions
You see, I was looking at myself in the mirror and I was judging myself by the world’s standards. I was constantly measuring myself up against other people.
If it wasn’t people around me, it was people on TV, people in magazines, people in my fitness groups. I let other people define for me what happiness was and what satisfaction was and what my worth was, and I was basing it on my appearance.
Too fat, too old, eyes too hooded, hair too curly, clothes not chic enough, teeth too gapped, the list went on and on.
But I wasn’t seeing through my own body image struggles to see myself through the God’s eyes.
I Felt Weak
I was miserable because I felt weak. At the very core of my despair was my weakness.
I felt like I lacked the drive and determination and self-discipline to eat healthy and exercise.
I HATE exercise, I admit it. If you see me running you better run too because something is chasing me! That’s my feeling about exercise in a nutshell.
We are not immune to feeling less than enough. We feel inadequate at times, whether it’s in appearance, as a wife, as a mother, as a daughter, or like me, all of the above.
As long as I base my worth and my happiness on worldly standards, I am going to be miserable. And that is what I was.
Knowing Your Worth is Believing What GOD Says About You
There is always going to be someone thinner, someone younger, someone prettier, someone with fewer gray hairs, someone with more money, someone with a fancier car, a better handbag, a more popular blog.
As long as I rely on my own flesh, my own self-discipline, my own willpower, my own strength to get me to where I need to be then I will fail and I will be unhappy because I am not only striving on my own, I am striving to meet a standard the world has made me feel I need to meet and not on God’s standards. How do we know His standard? Through His Word.I am not only striving on my own, I am striving to meet a standard the world has made me feel I need to meet and not on God's standards. Click To Tweet
And as long as I find my satisfaction based on worldly standards then I will never be happy because as I said, there’s always going to be someone with bigger and better! Or in my case, it would be smaller and better!
I was not only defining myself by worldly standards, but I was also trying to achieve everything with my own WILL and my own DETERMINATION and not relying on the Word of God and the way God set in front of me.
I wasn’t seeking God in this. I wasn’t seeking what HE wanted for me. There are many Bible verses about body image but I was looking at the world to define me instead of God.
I was using my own will to do things instead of HIS will. I was defining worth by the world and not by the Word.
Yes, the Bible says I am a new creation but I was looking to be a new creation physically not spiritually. I had become obsessed with my physical body and trying to create myself in my own image instead of looking at my inner self and instead of presenting my body as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God which is my reasonable service! (Romans 12:1)
So I can sit down and write this to you and logically say what I should and shouldn’t do or should or shouldn’t feel…and yet I still look in that mirror and have the same old feelings. I am like Paul…
Knowing Who I Am in Messiah
Paul may have not meant exercise or losing weight but it is the same struggle nonetheless. The struggle to know what you SHOULD do but that you still DON’T do.
We all have our struggles and our imperfections. We all have things we need grace for every single day. God knows our struggles. His Word gives us encouragement BECAUSE we go through them. That is why there are so many Bible verses about body image! It’s because we DO have issues with it.
Lamentations 3:22-23 says,
His mercy, His compassion, is new every morning! Good thing because I am sure I use up a good supply by bedtime!!
It is when we can recognize what our sin is, or what our struggle is, or what our temptation is that we can go to Him in prayer about it. It is only when we recognize we are trying to keep up with worldly standards that we can go to His Word and remind ourselves of HIS standards.
My Help Comes From the Lord
My happiness when I walk out the door should not be because I think I look acceptable for the world’s standard.
It should not be because I feel that one day I actually managed to work up enough willpower to do a workout.
However, it should be because I find my joy, my worth, my acceptance in HIM!
It should be because of what HE says about me, not what the world does. And we learn what He says about us in those Bible verses about body image that the Bible is rich with!
I should be happy because I don’t have to rely on my own willpower to eat healthy or exercise. I can go to Him, my ever present help! I can take my struggle and temptation to Him! I don’t need to struggle on my own with these things. HE is there to take the burden from me! And He will take the burden from you.
So when I look in the mirror now in the morning I don’t just look at my appearance. I look at myself and I tell myself what HE has to say. I affirm my worth with HIS word.
I found some great Bible verses about body image and I would love to share a few favorites with you as well as my own video that discusses my personal experience with self-bullying.
Key Bible Verses About Body Image for Those Who Struggle in This Area
Proverbs 31:30 TLV
"Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears Adonai will be praised."
Proverbs 16:31 TLV
"Gray hair is a crown of glory, found on the path of righteousness."
1 Peter 3:3-4 TLV
"Don’t let your beauty be external—braiding the hair and wearing gold jewelry or fine clothes. Instead let it be in the hidden person of the heart, with the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious."
Psalm 139:14 CJB
"I thank you because I am awesomely made, wonderfully; your works are wonders —I know this very well."
Ephesians 2:10 CJB
"For we are of God’s making, created in union with the Messiah Yeshua for a life of good actions already prepared by God for us to do."
Genesis 1:26-27 TLV
"Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness! Let them rule over the fish of the sea, over the flying creatures of the sky, over the livestock, over the whole earth, and over every crawling creature that crawls on the land.” God created humankind in His image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them."
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 TLV
"Or don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Ruach ha-Kodesh who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body."
One of my favorites… 1 Samuel 16:7 CJB
"But Adonai said to Sh’mu’el, “Don’t pay attention to how he looks or how tall he is, because I have rejected him. Adonai doesn’t see the way humans see — humans look at the outward appearance, but Adonai looks at the heart.”"
What are some of your favorite Bible verses about body image? I would love for you to share in the comments!
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CJB – Taken from the Complete Jewish Bible by David H. Stern. Copyright © 1998. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, 6120 Day Long Lane, Clarksville, MD 21029. www.messianicjewish.net.
Tree of Life (TLV) – Scripture taken from the Holy Scriptures, Tree of Life Version*. Copyright © 2014,2016 by the Tree of Life Bible Society. Used by permission of the Tree of Life Bible Society.