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Negative Body Image - The Struggle and The Cure

A few months ago a friend posted on facebook asking for advice on how to help her daughter who was struggling with body image. My own daughter is quite young but it started me thinking about what advice I would eventually give her and how I could raise her in these early years to view her body, and everything else, through a Biblical lens. And honestly, as I enter my mid-thirties and feel my last traces of youth and "coolness" fading away, I too needed some guidance on how to look in the mirror and not lose my joy.

This week I listened to a webinar by Rachel Jankovic (who I have mentioned before because she is wonderful) and I received some advice so life-changing that I had to pass it along to you!

Rachel says, "We need to be able to look in the mirror and love God. You don't need to love yourself - you need to love your Maker."

I know. So. Good.

Think about it, we spend so much time trying to make ourselves worthy of worship and when the world fails to worship us we decide to do it ourselves. We look in the mirror and say things like "You are enough. You are fierce. You are worthy." But this attempt at self-love and self-worship is futile because deep down we know the truth. We are not worthy of worship - not even in the best light on our best day.

BUT...when we look in the mirror and love our Maker then we can view our bodies for the gifts that they are. We can give thanks for the feet that carry us to and fro, for the stomachs that stretched to hold children, for the lines forged from years of laughing, for the hands that hold so many things. And the natural result of such gratitude is that we would care for and appreciate the body God has given us!

The Heidelberg Catechism starts out with this question:

"What is your only comfort in life and in death?"

And this is the answer...

"That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, in life and in death to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ."

I am not my own. I belong to God. My soul is His. My body is His. My life is from Him and through Him and to Him. (Rom. 11:36)

We need to spend less time grieving the fact that we are not worthy of worship. Instead, when we look in the mirror let us spend our energy worshipping the One who is.

This is what I will tell my daughter and this is what I will tell myself.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Romans 12:1

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Romans 11:36

For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

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