This has been a topic on my mind and heart to share about, for several months now, but I haven’t been exactly sure how to approach it. It’s a sensitive one, and receives a lot of discussion by many different sources. I’m gonna take a stab at it today, from the perspective of one Christian woman to other women and girls, and pray that this post can be an encouragement to someone.
Body image is something that we all have. We all perceive our physical selves in some way. Our perception of ourselves is effected by many different things, culture being a huge one. In a time when fashion models are a sickly looking thin, and many unhealthy practices are used to achieve that look, a culture has sprung up, especially here in America, that try’s to combat the culture of starvation, eating disorders, and an unhealthy image of what “beauty” is. Hence the “love your body” type of campaigns that promote the perspective that women come in many different sizes and shapes, not just 5′ 11″ and size 2. What I wonder though, is if we as a culture have missed the balance point on this topic and have used the “positive body image” and “love your body” type of arguments to excuse, a different kind of unhealthy rather than use them as a tool to empower women and girls to be healthy and strong individuals.
It’s a topic that is surrounded by various and often differing opinions and thoughts and there are many lies mixed into the narrative as well. But as I look around me, I see some very important truths often left out of this discussion. Below, I hope to share some of those truths, as well as some personal perspective.
Truth #1: God made each person alive, unique in their personality, and physical appearance. The Bible says we are “wonderfully and fearfully made” and we all come in different shapes and sizes.
Truth #2: You or I, will never look like anyone else except the person God genetically made us to be. I’m short and have an hourglass figure, there is no way for me to be 5′ 9″ and a slim, curve free person. I have to accept and love how God made me. Accepting and loving that creation though doesn’t require me to settle for an unhealthy version of myself, that is 20 lbs overweight, or even just a mediocre version; I can strive to be the best version of me that God created, and do it in a way that is healthy mentally, physically, and spiritually.
Truth #3: The goal and end result of exercise and eating well, should be strength, health, vitality, and longevity; to unlock the potential God put into our DNA to live life vibrantly, and with excellence.
Truth #4: Living a healthy lifestyle that involves exercise and controlling what and how much you eat, not only effects your outward appearance, but it changes the way you feel and the way you look at yourself, in a very real and positive way. When I’m exerting self control over what I put into my body, by consuming appropriate portion sizes of healthy food, I feel good and have a more positive image of myself. When I am exercising on a regular basis, I feel better about myself and my body. Why? Well I don’t know for certain, but I think it all comes back to self control. When you decide to control what you do, instead of letting feeling, whim, or habit dictate your life, its a very empowering thing and effects how you view yourself, for the better.
Truth #5: Being unhappy with where you are at physically, isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes, for the sake of our health and well being we SHOULD BE MAKING CHANGES and that dissatisfaction with where we are at may be the jump start we need, to do something about it. Satisfaction and contentment can be just as dangerous as dissatisfaction… Context matters!
Truth #6: Each of us have been given a different set of circumstances that we have to work with to the best of our ability. But, women who take initiative and responsibility over their lives to be healthy and strong individuals physically, emotionally, and spiritually, always have a beauty that is impossible to replicate in any other way. It doesn’t matter the shape, height, or physical features of women who live this way; these women are empowered individuals, and it shows.
And that last point seems like a good conclusion for my post on this topic. What are your thoughts?