I have never liked my body. Since childhood I’ve fought the losing battle to control my weight. While the media promoted “thin as in,” I felt frumpy, fat, and flawed. I’d stand in front of the mirror in tears and whimper, “God, why did you make me like this?” To be honest, I still do on occasion, especially now that chronic pain has been added to my daily battle.
My least favorite verse in the Bible? Psalm 139:14. Until I realized it wasn’t talking about body image, no matter how many Christian women’s conferences insist it does. The psalmist praises the marvelous aspect of an all-knowing, loving Creator God, not himself. God isn’t as interested in how we appear on the outside as much as how we appear on the inside ― in our hearts, minds and souls. "Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7b).
According to Scripture, Jesus wasn’t exactly a male model. "He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him”(Isaiah 52:3). What attracted people to Jesus? His inner-body image. The love of God reflected from deep inside His heart and touched the most basic human need ― to be accepted.
Sure, we should take care of our bodies. But let’s not be so focused on that small part of who we are that we ignore the wonderful and fearful work God is doing inside of us. When Christ shines through us, we mirror Him.
Dear Father, forgive me for concentrating so much on my body instead of on being part of the Body of Christ as your hands and feet to bring salvation to a hurting world. Keep me from turning my attention inward, which leads to pride, embarrassment or envy, and instead project my thoughts outward so others can see Christ mirrored in me. Because your works, even in me, are wonderful. I know that full well. Amen.
Go Deeper ― Over the next day, think about how often you concentrate on your appearance rather than how you appear as a follower of Christ.
Go even Deeper ― If you struggle with body image, as I have, read: Beauty: To What Extreme?.