Have you ever had those days when the mirror seems to be taunting you? Reflective surfaces pop up everywhere, and when you find one, you feel the need to check your hair and make sure it doesn’t look like a hot mess, or to see if that red spot is showing through your concealer. Or perhaps, it’s your body… “Does this shirt make my stomach look smaller? How does my butt look in these pants?”
If you’re like most women, then chances are, you’re struggling with idolatry and don’t even know it. An idol is anything that you have elevated to the same level or greater than God in your heart and life. It absorbs your thoughts, your time, and your energy — it becomes your primary focus.
So here’s my question for you.
How much time and energy do you spend thinking about your body, what you wished it looked like, or what you feel like you need to do to change it?
Idols aren’t just wooden or metal objects that a person prays to. You can have an idol in your heart, and if it’s your body (or the pursuit of the body you wish you had), then it’s likely you’re finding your value in your weight or shape. And as long as that’s happening, you won’t be able to experience true freedom. You have to find your worth in Jesus.
Here’s the good news. You don’t have to love your body or be #bodypositive to improve your body image!
In 2 Timothy 3:1-5, we read, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, …” Did you catch that? Scripture actually says that being a lover of self isn’t the goal — that it’s a sign of terrible times.
So what does that mean for your body?
We’re not told we need to love our bodies. We’re commanded to love Jesus and others (Matthew 22:36-40). Our goal needs to be focused on how we can respect and care for our bodies well, while accepting that our worth, value, and identity can only be found in Christ — not in the size of our pants.
If your desire to lose weight or change your body is negatively impacting your thoughts and behaviors, here’s a couple of actions you can take right now to start moving away from body idolatry and exploring the driving factors behind your body image struggles.
#1 – Write out anything you believe your body is keeping you from (confidence, quality relationships, peace, mental and emotional well-being, intimacy in your walk with the Lord, etc.).
#2 – Now answer this question — Why do you believe those things are only possible if you change your body?
(Consider processing through your responses with a mentor or coach to help you get some healthy perspective and reveal any areas where you might be struggling with body idolatry, or even disordered eating.)
You have something priceless to offer the world, and the number on the tag inside your jeans doesn’t determine that. Let your body be a means of carrying out the calling the Lord has placed on your heart. Don’t let it define who you think you are.
About the Author:
Brittany is a Registered Dietitian, eating disorder specialist, and Founder of Fed Up with ED, a Christ-centered coaching program that helps women break free from disordered eating and negative body image. She’s a southern girl from Alabama with a passion for seeing women ditch diet culture and take hold of their true identity in Christ through non-diet nutrition and recovery coaching. After her own journey of trading control for surrender, she now walks other women through the process of letting go of anxiety and body shame so they can finally experience food freedom and nourish their body with confidence.
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