Body image. What does that even mean? We hear about it, but sometimes it feels more like an ethereal concept than an actual, real thing. Most people would describe body image as the way we see ourselves. It is how we think and feel about our bodies, not what they actually look like.
I was recently having a dance party with my two little guys, enjoying some of our favorite music and a song called “Man of Your Word” by Maverick City Music came on. I was thinking about writing about body image this month anyway so I think I was extra sensitive to hearing the lyrics, “If you said it, we believe it. If you said it, we believe it.” As a Believer in Christ, I can apply that to so very many things, but in the area of body image it rings true also.
Family, friends, society, American culture, diet culture, ourselves and so many other voices tell us a whole lot about our bodies and what they “should” look like. For most of us, we have been taught that smaller is better, or that only “certain” body parts should be bigger. We have also been fed lies our whole lives that we are only as good as we look. Wrong. So wrong. Why? Well, let’s think about who made us? Let’s think about what He says about us?
In Genesis 1:31 the Bible reads, “Then God looked over all that He had made and called it very good.” God made, well everything, in the beginning and He called it all good, but the notion that I am included in His survey of all that He made is not lost on me. The Bible also states in Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” In His infinite knowledge and omnipresence throughout all of time, He has known us, loved us, and called us good. So why is it so hard to believe that?
Body image is complex and so are we, but what I have found to be the most effective way of finding a healthy outlook on body image and staying there, is to drown out as many negative influences or voices as possible and to renew my mind each day with the truth that I am loved, fearfully and wonderfully made, and that when God calls me good, He means it. Going back to “Man of Your Word,” further lyrics read “All things are possible, when we believe…If you said it, we believe it. If you said, we believe it.” If you are struggling to call the vessel you call home “good,” I would encourage you to think about what voices you might be listening to. Are they truthful, life-giving, and worth your belief? Or could there be a different story about you that might ring a little truer and bring a little more life to your life? My prayer for you is you get back to the truth that before the foundation of the world, God knew you and He called you good. No matter what you think about yourself right now, no matter what the world might say, He called you good and you and your body are good.