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Intersection of Life and Faith

Love Your Body

  • Whitney Hopler Live It Editor
  • 2002 20 May
Love Your Body
Diets, plastic surgery, tanning salons, eating disorders, makeovers, hair replacement, tonics - all can be signs that people don't like their bodies. No one has a perfect body in our fallen world, but we do all have bodies designed by God to do amazing things and express our uniqueness.

Even though we may have to contend with some wrinkles or fat, God loves us. And when we look in the mirror, He wants us to love the body He has given us to live inside.

Here are some ways you can accept and embrace your body:

  • Realize that society's standard for an ideal body type is constantly shifting with time and culture. At another time in history and in another country, your body type might be considered ideal. Rather than worrying about whether you're too short or too tall, or too dark or too pale to fit society's current ideal, think about how God lovingly made you to be unique among the variety of creative bodies He has designed.

  • Ask God to show you how He sees you. When you look in the mirror, pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal God's perspective to you.

  • Think about what types of messages others have been communicating to you about your body, from the time you were a child until now. Write down your memories and feelings of other people's acceptance or rejection of your body. Then study what you've written to determine how those messages have affected your own opinion of your body.

  • Consider whether you care well for your body. Do you eat nutritiously, get the right amount of rest and sleep, and exercise regularly? If not, pray for the strength you need to change your habits, then start to make healthier choices. Remember that the Holy Spirit can live inside your body, so God wants you to care for it as well as you would a sacred place.

  • Offer your body to God rather than to sin. If you're engaged in a destructive habit like smoking or overeating, confess that to God, and ask Him to deliver you from it.

  • Make a list of different things you can do with your body. Try to write down at least 100 things. Then marvel at your body's amazing design, and thank God for giving you a body that can function so well.

  • Realize that your current body is only temporary; it will be transformed in heaven. Devote plenty of time to nurturing your soul, which is eternal, rather than obsessing about your earthly body that won't last. Know that God cares far more about your love and obedience than your appearance.

  • Don't judge other people on the basis of their appearance, and don't accept criticism from others based on what you look like. Remember that God's perspective is the only true and valuable one.

  • Expect to look more like your relatives than an unrelated movie star or model. Know that there is nothing wrong with having different genes, and therefore, a different body type.

  • Write yourself a letter describing what you've heard God tell you about your body, then keep the letter so you can read it to remind you of His perspective whenever you encounter negative feelings about your body.

Adapted from Loving Your Body: Embracing Your True Beauty in Christ, copyright 2002 by Deborah Newman. A Focus on the Family book published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Ill., www.tyndale.com, 1-800-323-9400.

Dr. Deborah Newman is a licensed professional counselor and marriage and family therapist with the Meier New Life Clinics. A conference speaker and guest on radio and television shows, she is also the author of several magazine articles and books. She and her husband, Brian, have two children, Rachel and Ben, and live in Dallas, Texas.

What do you like about your body? What do you not like about it? What pressures do you feel from our society's emphasis on the current ideal body type? How has God helped you accept and appreciate your unique body? What encouragement would you like to offer others who are struggling to accept their bodies? Visit Crosswalk's forums to discuss this topic by clicking on the link below.

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